Last week, I attended an ASQ dinner meeting where the speaker was Izzy Gesell ( The title of the talk was “Tools for Transformation”. I think I would have named the talk “Lessons from Improv”. Izzy is a former improvisation artists and he applies the lessons and techniques from improvisation to the business world.

Izzy’s talk was dynamic and interactive. I took away 3 items which can be applied to a software (or any other) team:

  1. Acceptance – Accept what is given and move forward
  2. Focus – Concentrate on the essential
  3. Trust – In the process and the people

The idea behind acceptance is instead of complaining or trying to change the unchangeable, it is more productive to take what is given and move it to the next level. This does not necessarily imply agreement. Concentrating on the essential – Focus – I believe is a key attribute of all the successful teams I have been a part of. In the case where the team was not performing well, a lack of focus was definitely a component. And finally trust. Once again, the best teams operate in a an environment of trust.