Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today's fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to "Yes And" veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes.
Drawing on principles from cognitive and social psychology, behavioral economics, and communication, Kulhan teaches readers to think on their feet and approach the most typical business challenges with fresh eyes and openness. He shows how improv techniques such as the "Yes, and" approach, divergent and convergent thinking, and focusing on being present can translate into more productive meetings, swifter decisions, stronger collaboration, positive conflict resolution, mindfulness, and more. Moving from the individual to the organizational level, Kulhan compiles time-tested teaching methods and training exercises into an instrumental guide that readers can readily implement as a party of one or a company of thousands.
About the authors
Bob Kulhan is President, CEO, and Founder of Business Improv, an innovative consultancy that specializes in experiential learning and serves an international roster of blue-chip firms. Bob is an Adjunct Professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School. A performer with over 20 years of stage credits, he trained with a long list of legendary talents, including Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. An actor and former core faculty member in Chicago's famed Second City and a member of the former resident company at the iO Theater, Kulhan is a Co-Founder of the critically acclaimed Baby Wants Candy improv troupe. You can follow him @Kulhan.
"You don't have to spend years on stage to be good at the art of improvisation. In his new book, Getting to 'Yes, And', improv veteran Bob Kulhan shows you how improvisation techniques can positively impact almost any business situation. Read this intriguing book and get ready to take communication at work to a whole new level."
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager and Collaboration Begins with You
"Prescriptive, educational, and funny, this book is filled with disarmingly easy improv techniques to up our game at work. Getting to "Yes and" has earned its place on the bookshelves, desks, and nightstands of savvy business readers. It's Dale Carnegie Training for the 21st century."
—Jack Canfield, CEO, The Canfield Training Group and bestselling author of The Success Principles
"For years, the business world has echoed 'yes and,' but we were light on details—until now. In a fun romp from Chicago's Second City to Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and beyond, this book threads together improv and such business essentials as negotiation, sales, goal setting, and conflict resolution. Read it, follow it, and you'll get better results, maybe even a few laughs along the way."
—Dave Logan, USC Marshall School of Business and bestselling co-author, Tribal Leadership
"Improvisation is the key to collaboration and innovation, and Bob Kuhlan is an improv star! This book shows you how to use improvisation for business success. It's filled with specific, practical, actionable advice, and it's lots of fun to read."
—Keith Sawyer, author of Group Genius and Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity
"Kulhan is an experienced improviser with a deep understanding of the art form. And, he is a talented teacher with years of experience translating the essence of improv into valuable business lessons. His no nonsense (yet entertaining) style is perfect for anyone in either business or improv who wants to bring the two worlds together."
—Daniel Klein, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Department of Theater, and d.school
"Kulhan was early to the realization that we are constantly innovating in business and in life, and that there is a method to doing it better. He brings very sharp tools to promote collective success, through motivating, making decisions, energizing, building ideas, and managing status differences. Although a key insight in the book is that improvisation isn't synonymous with comedy, nobody will mind that Bob presents these important ideas with a lively and fun way."
—Paul Ingram, Columbia Business School
"Getting To 'Yes And' is a transformative book. With focus, care, professionalism, and good humor, Kulhan delivers a how-to guide for implementing improvisation in business. At the center, we will definitely be incorporating his techniques into our future programs."
—Rick Barrera, COO The Center for Heart Led Leadership and author of Overpromise and Overdeliver
"I don't know anyone who likes this more or commits harder than Bob. Bob is an improviser's improviser. Buy this book!"
—TJ Jagodowski, Improviser and author of Improvisation at the Speed of Life
"When it comes to the application of improv tenets in the business world, there is no one better than Bob Kulhan. Any university, business, and (now) reader is fortunate to have him as their lead facilitator. If I ran the business world, I would insist this book be a part of every curriculum, in every company."
—Susan Messing, Instructor and Performer, iO, The Annoyance, and The Second City and Adjunct Professor, DePaul University, The University of Chicago, The School at Steppenwolf, and The World
"I have known Bob Kulhan for a damn 20 years. He's a great improviser, a great teacher, and an o.k. guy. His commitment to improvisation is spring loaded and fuel injected. He's super positive (too positive) and rather smart! Read this book because why not?"
—Mick Napier, Founder, The Annoyance Theatre and author of Behind the Scenes and Improvise
"Bob Kulhan's skills as an improvisational teacher and player offer an insightful and energetic point of view to any group.I have thoroughly enjoyed playing with this dummy for almost twenty years now. And I look forward to many more."
—Jack McBrayer, Actor, 30 Rock, The Middle, Wreck-It Ralph
"Bob is a thoughtful and caring teacher of improvisation. He's a tireless champion of the art form and he'd stop me from singing his praises if that didn't directly contradict improv's first rule: Acceptance. Deal with it, Bob."
—Jordan Klepper, Correspondent on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
"Getting to "Yes And" is an eye-opening and innovative business book written by a business person and professor for business people."
—Soundview Executive Summaries
"It's impossible not to smile when you read this book. Whether it is the 'Eights' exercise or celebrating ridiculous ideas, "Yes And"will remind you how to have fun at work – and as a result I'm convinced your business will be more effective...Can't recommend this book highly enough. It will be a GREAT addition to your bookshelf."