Off Script: Mastering the Art of Improv

By McKenna Sawchak posted 04-04-2022 14:58

Off Script: Mastering the Art of Improv
Peter A. Margaritis, CPA, CSP

Being a leader is challenging, and if you are currently a leader or on the path to becoming one, your expectation is to possess an arsenal of skills, critical thinking, and traits.

Demonstrating leadership qualities at every level of an organization will set you apart. According to Forbes Magazine, some of the most powerful traits you need to be successful are a combination of vision, managing complexity, strategy, adaptability, and self-management. Leadership development is often focused on controlling a framework and narrative, solving business problems, ensuring ideal outcomes, scripting the conversations, managing the problems, predicting the future, and of course winning (negotiations, new business, market share, and more).

However, to be a great, you will need to go beyond the traditional framework and be inspirational and impactful.  And because it is a long and challenging journey to get to get to the top of the organization, especially as a CEO, you try to focus on the main things you are evaluated on, like the P&L and managing the day-to-day operations. 

There are around 202,360 CEOs in the US, and most, if not all, had new unique challenges through the COVID crisis. The last two years have been one of the most disruptive times globally for businesses. Nothing could prepare them for this type of situation, where they have to make critical decisions quickly. It also highlights what else outside of daily operations a leader deals with. In a recent CEO survey by PWC, CEOs are concerned about other new challenges that they will have to tackle, like cybersecurity, health issues, and economic growth.  This is in addition to long and short-term strategies for climate change and ESG (Environment, Society, Governance), and how they need to adapt and provide credible solutions and measurement. 

The world’s next major challenges will likely demand you to be adaptable and throw out the traditional script to address issues as they happen. It also creates a greater impact, for business and the employee experience. Just look to the Great Resignation of 2021, where employees leave their workplace because their career status is just not hitting the mark for career progression, satisfaction, and culture. By embracing the philosophy of “Yes! And”, reading the audience, and go “Off Script”, you have a greater connection with your employees, customers, industry, markets, and more. Step outside your own head and listen to understand what is being said and be present and you can create new ways of approaching communications, interactions, and business decisions and foster an adaptability strategy that is authentic and empathetic for a culture of collaboration and trust.

You may find letting go of control as an unnatural proposition as a leader. Holding on to the reins and executing a well-planned roadmap and framework with scripted conversations is a safe approach for a successful and predictable outcome.  However, when you look at the great inspirational and effective CEOs/Directors of past and present, they understood and listened, and are aware of what happened around them.  This allowed them to create greater influence and flexibility to buck past the norm through embracing an improv approach to suit the present situation.

Improv may seem at first as a tool for a performing artist, but leaders do perform every day in many ways and must be prepared to deliver good and bad news, inspire and motivate and negotiate deals. Improvisation taps into the basic human need to connect to something bigger than themselves and achieve together. Embracing improv can provide you with the opportunity to develop self-awareness, creation, discovery, and expression and ultimately be present with your audience. And after you have gone through some sort of development beyond your formal education and work experience. But I bet you haven’t thought of how the “Art of Improvision in Business” can significantly propel engagement, connection, and brand. It is the soft skills and unique approaches like going off script that are, brand is often measured.

Given that the access to education, information, and support for career advancement has exploded, it is prudent to ensure you are engaged with organizations and influencers that provide you with the current and relevant information within your peer group.  Credible, recognized, respected, and connected organizations can help you further your career and your style in developing your unique superpower. 

Join me for more on this topic on April 21 where I will discuss Off Script: Mastering the Art of Improv – Registrations are open here

*By signing up for the webinar AICPA & CIMA will offer you an 20% discounted rate on additional learnings designed to increase your leadership skill set.

The AICPA & CIMA Association offers a relevant CGMA designation to propel you as a distinguished professional with advanced proficiency in finance and commercial skills, strategic vision,  transformational management and entrepreneurial and leadership acumen.  They also offer a huge amount of relevant bundle courses and resources to elevate your academic achievement in an everchanging global landscape like Cybersecruity and ESG and Sustainability

Peter Margaritis, CSP, CPA is a master at working with individuals and their organizations to implement business improvisation for inspired innovation. As The Accidental Accountant®️, improv virtuoso, and professional facilitator, Peter knows first-hand how to create sunny – and funny – outcomes that promote positive cultures and transform mindsets.