+44 (0) 1727 843820 paul@impro.org.uk

 What can facilitators learn from the military?

One striking characteristic of a VUCA world is that not everything goes according to plan. Which is disappointing, because it would be so nice if everything did go as intended.

Bloody VUCA! Which is an acronym from the military – who know about such stuff – standing for Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic, Asparagus. (I’m not sure about the Asparagus).

Anyway, the term has been enthusiastically picked up by organisational sages who have noticed that the world of business is moving at similar speeds to the modern battlefield. The plan does not survive first contact with the enemy or even with real-world people, market and political conditions.
And in such circumstances, when preparation alone is not enough, improvisation comes to the fore.

In times of ambiguity and uncertainty, we rely on our skills of dancing in the moment. So, if you thought improvisation belonged only on the stage, think again…

Leaders, change managers, facilitators and OD specialists around the world are applying techniques from improvisation to make big differences to organisational performance. A skilful leader, manager or coach is improvising all the time. The main skills of an improviser include:

· Presence – the state of being alert in the here and now; avoiding distractions of past and future and of awareness wandering elsewhere
· Responsiveness – the ability to adapt in the moment to the signals around you
· Creativity – your ability to come up with something new and useful at just the moment that it is needed

Just like a field general, you are operating in those very practical paradoxical places where you need both structure and freedom, planning and instant response, a general awareness and the agility to work with whatever emerges.

Charles Darwin is supposed to have said, ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.’ If that is right then there is little new about such ideas but it’s good to see them recognised in current organisational theory and practice.

And you can learn how to raise your game as a facilitator and workshop leader at our live training.

Learn Advanced Facilitation Skills

Advanced Facilitation Masterclass

Thursday, 2 March 2017 at 10:00 – 17:00 and Friday, 3 March 2017 at 10:00 – 17:00 (GMT)

The Poor School – 242 Pentonville Road, Kings Cross, N1 9JY

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