by Tracy Johnson
If you work on a multi-personality show, collaboration is required. And a productive, positive, supportive, creative environment doesn’t happen by accident. It’s intentional. Negativity leads to poor performance. If that’s the situation where you are, change your attitude to change your future.
Keeping it positive applies to every step of the creative process (including air check reviews), but it’s most important when developing content and new ideas.
Improv teams train in the art of “yes and” during performance, which extends into brainstorming new concepts. While it may be true that most new ideas will never make it to the air, rejecting it with reasons it won’t work is a sure way to stifle creativity.
Even the most creative individuals soon give up and actually lose their ability to come up with new ideas in an environment of negativity.
Instead, make a commitment to your team to affirm and support ideas. Acknowledgment of the concept and building on it makes a world of difference. When you seek ways to make an idea work, creativity will flow and you’ll end up with more innovation, collaboration and a show full of energy.
This approach demands three things from each participant:
Put your ego aside and focus on making your team look good. Find something positive in each idea. What’s good about it? What could work? Don’t worry about looking smart or getting credit. Focus on your partner and making them the hero, the champion of the idea.
I call this a FTS attitude, meaning For The Show.
Magic on the air happens when each personality focuses on setting up partners to look good. This happens in brainstorming too.
In improv, actors are taught to listen carefully and react to the new reality presented by their partners. In radio, we focus more on what we’re going to say to get a laugh or reaction.
Turn this around. Become an active listener. Don’t worry about how you’ll respond or react until you’ve heard the idea with fresh ears and can react to the new reality presented. It may still ge a bad idea, but this approach will allow you to explore the possibilities and find a solution.
When you work together to keep the conversation going, the show comes together in a partnership that most shows never experience.
No matter what you think of New England Patriots coach Bill Bellichick,he’s arguably the greatest football coach in history, and his teams compete for championships year after year while other franchises rise and fall. How does he do it? One of his tactic is deferring credit to his players. Coach Bellichick doesn’t say much, but when he does, he hands out praise liberally to his guys on the field.
Asked if he ever thought he’d win his fourth Super Bowl, he responded,
With this group of players? Of course I expected to be back here. How could we not?
That same tactic works when coaching talent and managing your staff. Leaders are quick to acknowledge others. Make those around you feel great and they’ll continue to make you look good! If everyone on the show is working to bring out the best in those around them, your team will sparkle.
It’s possible to change your attitude. And when you do, your behavior will follow. By focusing on each other, consciously creating a positive environment and adopting a For The Show attitude, you’ll never run out of creative ideas.
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