SYNERGY: CORPORATE TEAM BUILDING EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PARTNERSHIPS

SYNERGY: CORPORATE TEAM BUILDING EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PARTNERSHIPS

For 15 years we have delivered powerful programming for both Corporate Teams and K12 Schools (via our sister program Improv 4 Kids). IN an effort to expand our mission to a great number of corporate teams and schools we may have the perfect solution for both.

Synergy

 

SYNERGY: CORPORATE TEAM BUILDING EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PARTNERSHIPS

Before 2008, companies spent millions on providing employees retreats to Caribbean Islands, big parties and other team building programming. Beyond our usual shows and workshops, we were paid a small fortune to send actors to Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Disney just to walk around and play characters, set dressing events.

Then 2008 happened and it seemed that ALL activities were cancelled.

After a couple years it was clear teams needed time to play and unwind, but each penny needed to be justified for educational purposes etc. Our company responded. Our model become less company party shows and interactive (murder mysteries and costumed characters roaming the crowds) and more team building workshop driven.

It turned out that these Improv workshops were even more fun than before. We were able to fill a valuable need, teaching team, management, service and sales skills while delivering fun downtime away form the office.

Synergy

MEANWHILE…

While everyone else stopped laying for a couple years, our educational outreach division flourished. This massive expansion to averaging 300 shows/year for K12 schools at first was due to non-profit budgets being affected by the 2008 crash a year later. In that time we made our mark and developed schools and other community center clients that remain with us today.

We deliver shows and workshops for students as well as professional development for teachers. Akin to our corporate programming, these incredibly fun programs deliver valuable educational tools.

We also bring the PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY concepts into schools. Students that fear failure do not participate.  Many of these students fear far more, with troubling situations at school, home and in the neighborhood.

Synergy

CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP…

The students that need our programs the most simply cannot afford the resources we provide, despite – as with many of our corporate programs – we under value our services (compared with many other programs).

We try to do deals with Title One Schools and simply cannot come down to a rate they can afford. In many cases they call begging for free programs – they have no budget but are in desperate need of the support we give.

So we have been looking for a sponsor for years to help subsidize programs for those that need us the most. Or more correctly put – we have thought for years, without active pursuit, that we could increase our impact on the communities that need us most with the help of sponsors. Sadly we just did not know where to start.

Until now….

SYNERGY between TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES and SPONSORSHIP

We work with a few teams from large companies (Have you seen our client list?).

The New York Team … In the past 15 years, clients include teams from JP Morgan Chase, IBM, Morgan Stanley, Master Card, American Express, NYC Schools (DOE VENDOR), Microsoft/BING, Twitter, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Home Depot, Enrst & Young, GM, KRAFT, UBS, UNILEAVER and 100s more smaller/local firms.

These companies that spend millions in ad buys and sponsorship deals. These same companies could use more of our services but it is hard to justify those team building expenses to investors.

BUT…

How about a package deal that subsidizes programs for your teams AND educational outreach to Title 1 Schools ALL PAID FOR BY MARKETING BUDGET!!!!

Simply increasing our rates on a single team building event to those comparable to our biggest competitors, would allow us to donate shows to 10 schools.

Meanwhile your company would be reaching 5000+ teens as well as their their teachers, parents and admin via marketing materials, study guides and social media branded with your logo and thanking you for your generous support, subsidizing the education and mentoring of the future work force.

Teaching these students the same skills we teach your teams, we are creating teens that are better students and future employees.

We can even have one of your representatives attend and say hello at the events. We could do a T- Shirt. We could do a video on social media. While our basic package is a game changer, we could deliver in a number of ways. We can even post signs at our club where we host field trips, corporate events and public shows. The venue sees as many as 5000 guests/week attending comedy shows and private events. We also share a lobby with the building of both residence and office spaces upstairs.

Synergy

Leveraging our loyal following…

Our key to success since 2003 is our ability to offer a lot for a little. High Impact Low Cost. Our reach via live audience, online videos and social media is not huge but quite focused.

Our client base is moderate but highly loyal. Our success is our repeat clients – public audience, students and private event clients (corporate and K12 outreach). Most folks that read this blog have engaged us in some fashion in 2 ore more events. We have dozens of clients that are approach and/or surpassed their 10th year with us.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY + PERFORMANCE DRIVE = “YES! AND…” IMPROV

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY +
PERFORMANCE DRIVE =
“YES! AND…” IMPROV
by Walt Frasier

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY

In 2015, Google released the findings of Project Aristotle, its four year study into what makes a great team. They expected to find the perfect completed puzzle with each piece serving its function – techy plus artsy plus sales whiz plus service plus manager = the perfect team, right?

WRONG!

The number one determining factor behind team success turned out to be a simple concept called psychological safety. If everyone on that team feels safe to contribute, enjoys coming to work and is engaged in the success of the team, that team works.

psychological safety

Think Basketball! In 2018 Labron James, possibly one of the greatest players of all time, was not enough to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers all the way to the finish line, losing in the finals to the Warriors.

The Yankees won a lot of games with killer teams around the turn of the century, but then lost big when they traded for big name stars in the middle of the last decade.

Superstars do not make a team. Teams succeed when every one on that teams feels value.

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY v PERFORMANCE DRIVE

The key to success, however,  is more than everyone just being nice. A great team needs to deliver results.

Some teams have neither safe spaces or drive. When I see the chart above, I think of Jon Lovitz in the movie, BIG. Jon’s character I think encapsulates a huge problem in work places around the world when he says “Hey, you’remaking us look bad.” We just do the bare minimums to meet quotas not get noticed. Too many just want to keep their job. They fear standing out because that might get them fired. The fear being the victim of office politics and bullies. They keep their head down. They have no stake in the game. They only feel safe when they hide in their corner or cubby hole, and they have zero drive or incentive to do better.

Jon Lovitz’s character is the epitome of THE APATHY ZONE.

Some offices are super fun to work but no one and nothing drives the team forward. They may get buy with status quo but their is probably zero growth and nothing exciting for the future.

This team is in the comfort zone.  It is similar to the Apathy Zone with a few more smiles. Casual Friday anyone?

The opposite is the HIGH ANXIETY ZONE. A lot of teams have that project manager that is so focused on results he/she forgets his team is human, not robots. The stress level is high. When things go south, heads roll. This team may have results but no one is having fun. FUN IS NOT NEEDED HERE. This leads to burn out and lots of illness. This inspires office politics of the worst kind.

But the team that finds balance between performance drive and psychological safety enters the LEARNING ZONE. In this pace of ultimate collaboration, every challenge is met as a possible. This team can do anything. Perhaps not now, but can figure it out, together.

Improv Comedy is the best way to find this perfect balance….

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY + PERFORMANCE DRIVE = “YES! AND…” IMPROV

In Improv Comedy, “YES!” is all about accepting your colleagues and their contributions to the team.  “YES” is Psychological Safety! As we play Improv games we are all equals, regardless of age, experience, race, creed, personality etc.  We create a safe space and level playing field for all to play. We accept our colleagues 100% as is.  EVERYTHING they say and do. We do not judge. We do not fear.

“AND…” is all about contributing valuable work and information to the team. We are not going to let our colleagues do all the work by simply saying “YES!” We are going to take this to the next level by accepting our colleagues work and building upon with our own contributions, supporting everything that comes before our new addition.”AND…” is Performance Drive, coming  from within.

When the whole team embraces “YES! And…” we enter the learning zone together. The entire team is now personally engaged in the success of the team. This brings out the best in all of us. We leave ego and insecurity behind. We trust ourselves and our team. We now are hyper focused on team  success and its goals.  The entire team accepts and overcomes challenges together. The entire team wins.

APPLYING YES AND IN THE OFFICE

First of all, how about starting the day, every day, with a 2-3 minute Improv warm-up game.  It’s 9am. Everyone meets in the conference room, puts their coffee down on the table, and then gets silly and laughs for a few moments to play PASS the FACE or WHOOSH (Take our workshops to learn these games first hand).  Give the team a quick run down on the day’s goals and focus and send focus off ready to rock. It is 9:10 and the teams is on fire.

Now it’s time for a big meeting to start a new project. The team needs ideas. AH HA. YES AND to the rescue. THEIR ARE NO BAD IDEAS at this stage.

Most teams will just say NO to most offers. Susan has an idea. In the past Susan was told NO. Eventually Susan heard NO so many times she stopped contributing ideas altogether.

But now let’s try YES! Susan has that same idea. Bob says, that is a different way fo thinking of the problem. let’s YES AND that. The team bounces around possible scenarios stemming form this Susan idea. That idea may still not get out of the conference room but at least now the idea had a shot, and more likely, the process of YES AND… will lead to an idea inspired by Susan’s starting point.

As this next TED TALK video demonstrates, when a team does not create a safe space, lives can be put in danger.

How many ideas are left on the floor of the conference room that could have saved a team,  a company from going out of business or a life?

Change course before it is too late!
Bring your team into the Learning Zone.

Creating a Safe Space for All

A quick word for team leaders. Before you write off certain folks, think to yourself. Have you truly created a safe space to work?

I say this because I have met folks that are not too happy with themselves, their work, their home life etc. I have worked with kids, teens and corporate teams.

I have met folks that have never truly felt safe in their own skin or environments. Home, School and now work all seemed like hostile worlds without escape.

In those situations folks have two choices – fight or flight. Both extremes destroy team. But before you throw away o potential gold star employee/team mate, take a step back.

While teaching high schools kids in late 2015, a particularly troubled group, I stopped and started talking about Psychological Safety. My goal was simply to move away from bully style jokes, making everyone uncomfortable. This lead to a deeper discussion and it turns out these kids (15-18yos) did not feel safe at home, school or work. They have never know psychological safety. They have never known mental relaxation. They lived in the anxiety zone 24/7, at times in fear of their lives, never mind traditional mental, emotional and physical abuse.

But their was a change. The last 15 minutes of the class the most hardened students cracked a smile. We all laughed. We all found a safe place in that moment. For the first time these students had a glimmer of hope for a better way. Sometimes all one needs is hope to survive the worst situations.

PRESIDENT SNOW SAID IT BEST

Perhaps an absolutely horrible example – think about Hunger Games.

Even a ruthless dictatorship under President Snow recognized the power of hope being just slightly more effective than fear.

I hope you inspire hope with far better intentions than the Capitol of Panem.