The Improv Is No Joke Podcast

Welcome to the Improv Is No Joke podcast hosted by Peter Margaritis, AKA The Accidental Accountant and author of the book 'Improv Is No Joke, Using Improvization to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life'. This podcast series is also available on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.

Ep. 94 – Chris Loehrer: Creativity, Collaboration, & Innovation in Traditional Business Environments

Chris Loehrer is a right-brain person living in a left-brain world, meaning he is extremely creative, has a BFA in animation and film, but currently operates in a leadership role within The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA)… not exactly what you might expect from a creative type.

In this episode, Chris offers a unique perspective on the topic of leadership and shares the challenges he faces with getting some of his ideas across and accepted in a numbers-driven, linear thinking business environment.

Chris is the Studio Operations Manager at OSBA. He was hired to create innovative products and services for membership across all departments, as well as communication plans that tell the story of membership benefits and the value of membership.

However, the bulk of his work in recent months has been implementing new and innovative delivery methods for getting those products to members. In the process, he works with many different teams.

When working with different teams, Chris takes a “Minnesota nice” approach. He believes that we don’t have to be anything but friendly in our teams; it won’t serve you to act upon knee-jerk emotional responses, or for leaders to approach the team with a “this is the way it is” attitude.

A team doesn’t operate effectively, in the long run, that way.

The best teams are full of learners, Chris says, especially creative learners – people who can see beyond an obstacle and find previously unseen avenues for success are critical.

And while lawyers and accountants may not immediately consider themselves creative right now, Chris says, “People don’t consider themselves creative until they are given the opportunity to be creative.”

Like in improv, there are no wrong answers when trying to collaborative solve a problem; bad ideas are just bridges to good ideas. So fostering an environment where new ideas are not only accepted but encouraged creates more opportunities to solve problems.

“I’ve learned through fantastic leaders that active listening and thoughtful acceptance of what you’re hearing from other team members is a big deal, and you don’t have to be the person in the room who has the answer all the time.”

 

Download this Episode MP3.

 

Resources:

Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 93 – Ted Janusz: What You Need to Know About Online Marketing & Social Media in 2018

Ted Janusz is a speaker and marketing guru, and he’s here to help you get the most out of your online presence. We discuss how you can set your organization apart from the competition, how to get your clients and prospects spending more time on your website, and what you can do to raise your level of authority to be perceived as an expert in your field.

Marketing isn’t the same as it was even just 10 years ago – or, at least, your marketing shouldn’t look the same as it did 10 years ago.

For starters, everyone has to have a website. “It’s like the modern business card.”

However, just having a website isn’t enough. You also need the right website.

  • There are two big marketing trends that emerged in 2017: influencer marketing & video.
  • 79% of people who come to your website scan it, rather than read it – so you need to prioritize visual information, especially videos. Your site needs to grab someone in just a few seconds. Otherwise, they’ll move on.
  • The people visiting your site only care about one thing: What can you do for me, or how are you able to help me? Dan Kennedy says that the #1 marketing mistake that most small businesses make is not using testimonials. So get some testimonials, and cut back on those bios!
  • When trying to market yourself through video, consider video testimonials, showing members of your staff as real people, and creating how-to videos. Whatever you do, present it from the client’s perspective – not your own.
  • Consider why most firms lose customers: 1% die, 3% move away, 5% switch to another firm based on advice from friends or family, 9% switch to another firm based on advice from a competitor, 14% get angry and leave, and then the vast majority leave because they feel ignored or unappreciated. Pay attention to the customers that you already have, and make them feel valued! Satisfied customers are your most effective, and cheapest form of marketing.

In Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath lay out the six common factors of “sticky” marketing campaigns or the six principles of S.U.C.C.E.S.

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories

Something else to consider as you’re planning your marketing over the next few years: Millennials and Gen Z are getting older, and soon they will be the majority of your clients (if they aren’t already). They are at home online, and spend a lot of time online, so that’s where you will need to be if you want to attract a new generation of clients.

 

Download this Episode MP3.

 

Resources:

Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 92 – Mary Foley: Don a Red Cape, Be Bodacious, & Take Charge of Your Life

Mary Foley energizes female entrepreneurs with the clarity, confidence, and tools to attract, engage, and win more clients. She is an author, energizing keynote speaker, business mentor, host of the P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast, and a lover of red capes.

 

On today’s episode, we discuss her book Bodacious! Woman: Outrageously in Charge of Your Life and Lovin’ It! Her sense of humor and positivity comes through on every page of – as it does every minute of this podcast!

 

This book isn’t just for women, either. Her stories encapsulate the principles of improvisation and the philosophy of Yes, And (which is especially evident when she shares the story of showing up to work without a pair of pants).

 

If you look at Mary Foley’s website, you’ll see that being “bodacious” is more than something she uses to brand her content – it’s a personal rallying cry.

 

“I realize that if I want to create the career I want, let alone the life I want, I need to get more bold and more guts – and that’s why the word ‘Bodacious’ became a personal rallying cry.”

 

When you read the book, or hear Mary describe her journey towards bodaciousness, you’ll see that she is willing to do something that is very scary for a lot of people: take risks.

 

And if you are, like many of us, wary of taking a risk because you don’t know what’s going to happen, because you might fail, Mary has two words for you – So what?

 

If you try and something doesn’t work out, so what? You might be working off of a bad definition for failure, anyway. Mary’s definition of failure is “simply not trying,” and making that internal mindset shift can dramatically change your relationship with risk.

 

“Your ability to take risks more easily and often, bounce back, and have a ‘Yes, And’ perspective isn’t just a nice thing – it’s more and more a critical strategy for not just surviving, but thriving.”

 

Download this Episode MP3.

 

Resources:

Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 91 – Jim Canterucci: Finding Your Purpose Story & Automating Organizational Change Management

Jim Canterucci is a catalyst for growth leadership change. He is the Founder of Transition Management Advisors and Constituent Hub, the author of Personal Brilliance: Mastering the Everyday Habits That Create a Lifetime of Success, and creator of a comprehensive system for for leading change called Change Management Project – The Next Step.

 

For years, Jim and his team at Transition Management Advisors have been helping their clients develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

 

More recently, Jim has focused on automating the process of leading large organizational change. Using Constituent Hub, an enterprise SaaS platform, “organizations can facilitate sound change leadership principles, view and influence change leadership across the enterprise, make evidence-based change decisions, and realize the ROI of change.”

 

So how does Constituent Hub facilitate organizational change?

 

Most organizations have change initiatives going on all the time, both big and small, and they’re usually tracking those initiatives through spreadsheets or sharepoint. Constituent Hub pulls all of that information together, in a cohesive way, so that change leaders can focus on getting the job done.

 

For the first time, Constituent Hub will give leaders the ability to look at all of the ongoing change initiatives and how many changes each individual in the organization is involved with.

 

Analyzing the users (or constituents), identifying who’s resistant to change, helping them prepare, and measuring whether they’re ready for change are, historically, very difficult to do – to the extent that we’ve actually institutionalized not doing them. By lowering the barrier to entry through automation, implementing change becomes much more viable and strategic.

 

“You’ve heard the term ‘stakeholder’ for project management? I changed the word to constituent because it implies they actually care about the people, are taking care of them, and own their results!”

 

In addition to working with clients directly, Jim is a former president of NSA Ohio and an incredible speaker.

 

Jim even developed The Purpose Formula, which helps speakers develop a Purpose Statement and then get buy-in from their audiences. Jim is generous enough to offer this Purpose Formula handout, which offers an overview of the concept and guides you in creating the right formula for your business.

 

 

The formula is simple, but it allows you to position your purpose in such a way that you can create a sustainable business. This involves “unveiling that purpose, explaining that purpose, and then finding the customer’s connection linked to that formula so that it’s there’s too.”

 

“Everything that we do should be inspirational.”

 

You should also check out Jim’s script for his presentation, Why? The Purpose Story. In this document, Jim provides a detailed, moment-by-moment breakdown of his speech, including stage directions and energy flow. It offers incredible insight into an effective, purposeful story.

 

Download this Episode MP3.

 

Resources:

 

Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 90 – Laura Stoll: Using Improv to Develop Internal Talent & Manage Change

Laura Stoll is the Talent Development Consultant at Ernst & Young, and she has a fascinating perspective on how you can develop top talent within your organization that is influenced by her background in improv.

Laura studied at Second City, iO, and ComedySportz Chicago. She even has the distinction of being the only student ever thrown out of previous guest (and current husband) Jay Sukow’s classroom!

At EY, Laura strategizes, designs, and consults on large-scale programs designed to improve the value of the internal talent organization, which includes over 8,000 people. Their big focus right now is on the Career Journey.

In every organization, people tend to resist change, especially the kind of large-scale change that Laura aims to create. So change management becomes critical, and that’s where the fundamentals of improv can really come into play.

Improv isn’t about making things up––it’s about planning like mad, and then being prepared to throw your script away to meet the needs of the person you are talking to or working with. Learning improvisational skills inspires a more adaptable mindset, and you can’t approach change without that.

Possibly the most exciting thing about Laura’s work at EY is that other people see the value of these skills, and the top leaders in the organization are getting excited about improv. There’s simply no way to effectively inspire a change in culture without buy-in from the top, so this is a huge step for a huge organization.

And taking that step isn’t optional any more, for any organization. Global markets and whole industries are shifting rapidly – the organizations and individuals who resist change will be left behind.

“If you’re not actively moving to shift your skill set so that you can be more in the moment, react, and respond – and ultimately be a trusted business advisor – you’re going to be left behind because that’s just the way things are evolving.”

If you want to take your first step today, just practice awareness: When you feel yourself putting up a wall, saying no, or reacting negatively, pause and ask yourself, “How could it work?” It’s basic, but that little tweak will start you on the path to change.

Download this Episode MP3.

 

Resources: