Unexpected Disruption & Improvisation
Recently I read a story of an unexpected crisis that a friend of mine, Phil Porter had to face recently. Phil is the Founder of InterPlay, an improvisation practice, that I learned to lead some years ago.
Phil shared the story of a major disruption that occurred prior to a global event to celebrate 25 years of InterPlay. Two days before this event, unexpectedly a fire started at the Church building where one of the main events was planned. Phil immediately responded to the fire and the result of the fire. Imagine the church with no roof, ceilings caved in, gallons of water in the building, much devastation and all that was needed to be done. The InterPlayers, immediately improvised, found a new location and created new experiences for the events knowing Phil would be unable to participate.
The response at the Church to clean up the devastation was amazing.
The Global event occurred without a hitch.
Phil reflected on his response
For 25 years Phil has been intentionally practising how to improvise. He improvised seamlessly in the face of crisis and so did his fellow InterPlayers.
" Thank the universe for improvisation! I could respond more calmly and clearly and I could figure out plan B or C or D when a previous one didn't work out. And my colleagues--InterPlayers all--did what they needed to do to change course without freaking out or complaining. Different space, different equipment, different set up, but it all came together."
Is this how you respond when something disrupts your life or business?
Or, are you like most people, who are more equipped to live and work with certainty, to future plan events, control and measure activities?
What happens when a new CEO is appointed in an organisation and disrupts the way things are? People resist, tensions and emotions are heightened, people feel unsafe and there are blockages in communication. Then, the response by Managers, HR and OD is to problem solve how to deal with resistance.
This is like putting on an external band-aid, to solve an inner problem of diabetes.
We are solution solving problems that are generated by a value and belief system that are no longer relevant today.
One usual response is to say, "people need to be involved with creating