Big idea from Harvard – Excellent!
‘Excellence is not the opposite of failure… Excellence is idiosyncratic and cannot be learned by studying failure… ‘
At last! It’s what they call your ‘HBR Moment’. That’s when your big idea gets recognised in an article in the Harvard Business Review. In this case it’s the cover story.
The big idea in this article, co-authored by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, is that there are better ways of improving performance https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-feedback-fallacy. Instead of the traditional approach of focusing on mistakes and failure and telling people what they are doing wrong, we should look at what’s working and going well.
The research shows that we get more learning and better results by putting our attention on what people are doing well, building on their evidenced strengths and trusting more in their own judgements of how they are making progress.
This fits well with improvisational thinking, which allows new, creative ways for each individual to discover and express their excellence. It’s best done emergently, incrementally, taking turns and spotting successes along the way to incorporate into our recipes of how to work well. It’s agile and adaptive, favouring low-risk experiments from which mistakes can be quickly corrected and failures can be dropped, without undue emotional (or other) costs.
You can, as Bruce Springsteen noted, ‘spend your life waiting for a moment that just don’t come’. Well let’s not waste any more time on ‘celebrating mistakes’, ‘embracing failure’ and other strategies that confuse or demotivate.
‘If we continue to spend our time identifying failure as we see it and giving people feedback about how to avoid it, we’ll languish in the business of adequacy. To get into the excellence business we need some new techniques.’
You can immerse yourselves in precisely those productive new techniques by getting involved in our workshops and webinars, which apply the lessons of improvisation to everyday life and work.
Our next workshop is this Saturday 16 March 2019. Join us for Making a better living with improvisation (and get a 20% discount with code BLOG).
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