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by Andrew Leigh and Michael Maynard
Nicholas Brealey ©2004, 213 pages, $25.00 (ISBN # 1-85788-340-3)
Theater Techniques to Transform Your Work Life
Business success is often the result of personal performance, and focusing on workplace performance can yield dramatic results when that focus is well-directed and well-thought out. To help inspire businesspeople to muster the crucial creativity and high-level energy it takes to succeed, training and development experts Andrew Leigh and Michael Maynard offer numerous time-tested theater techniques that can improve anyone’s workplace performance. Dramatic Success! reveals an abundance of skills and techniques that can enhance communication, make presentations more memorable, and help managers produce a high-performance culture at work.
Working as an Ensemble
Dramatic Success! turns theatrical skills —including personal communication skills, controlling emotions, working as an ensemble, shared learning, and organizational enthusiasm — into a how-to guide for moving ahead in the working world. While exploring what it takes to create and develop brilliant performances, the authors work toward unlocking the potential of individuals, their teams and their organizations. By breaking down their book into sections that include personal connection, personal power and talent, team alignment, team creativity and exploration, as well as organizational insight, inspiration and initiative, the authors show how they were able to make a difference at such diverse companies as HP, Vodafone, Campbells and the London Stock Exchange.
Ideas from the theater can be used to harness talent, motivate, build trust, promote creativity and motivation, produce exceptional performance, and even promote having fun. Considering the leadership lessons that have been gleaned for centuries from Shakespeare’s plays, such as Henry V, the theater is an appropriate place from which ideas about performance, presentation, teamwork and learning skills can be extracted. The authors describe how theatrical techniques can be used to manage talent and teach staff members better ways to present, improvise, understand character, be creative, lead others and learn to coach.
Complete with informative scripts that depict better ways for executives to respond to specific situations — as well as stage directions that set the tone for effective interactions — Dramatic Success! offers numerous revelations about the ways executives work with their people and the ways they can improve their impact with age-old theater techniques. Useful tie-ins between the theater and business include: “In the theater of change there are three key acts leading to exceptional performance:
• Act I: Getting your personal act together.
• Act II: Getting your team’s act together.
• Act III: Getting your organization’s act together.”
Getting Your Personal Act Together
The authors explain that the process of the first act is all about connection, power and talent. Personal connection is feeling closely aligned to the enterprise in some way. They write that personal power is taking control and responsibility for what’s going on, and personal talent involves having the appropriate skills.
When getting your team’s act together, the authors write that teams must be aligned, creative and exploring. When they discuss team alignment, they write that it is created with a collective commitment to teamworking — with people sharing the same values and going in the same direction — with clear and tight organization.
The authors also present numerous dialogue boxes throughout Dramatic Success! that include discussions between an executive and a producer to introduce many important issues. For example:
EXECUTIVE: I wonder if there are any other parts of myself that I need to be using in order to help get my team’s act together?
PRODUCER: What you’ve just said is the perfect start. Curiosity and wonder — two crucial catalysts for creativity.
Simple asides such as these make Dramatic Success! an entertaining yet thought-provoking approach to revealing the crucial lessons that can help business executives build better skills, teams and enterprises. ~
Why We Like This Book
The parallels between theatrical work and business are many and striking. By digging into well-worn business success topics with the solid blades of theater language and dramatic techniques, the authors of Dramatic Success! turn a book of strategic management skills into a unique foundation for improving communication and teamwork. Using role-playing, dialogue and other colorful aspects of the theater, the authors introduce many useful business suggestions in a new and vibrant voice. ~