Want to avoid burnout? Make the “easy choice.”
In improv, there are no “right” or “wrong” choices — only “easy” and “hard” ones. The same is true at work.
The Great Resignation made one thing abundantly clear: working smarter, not harder, is the only way forward.
If companies want to retain talent (and if we want to make it through our careers without losing our minds), they have to encourage more sustainable habits. In improv, we call that making the “easy choice.”
These are choices that make a scene easier to sustain, and in turn, easier to watch. E.g. it’s easier to “yes and” your scene partner than to shut down their reality; it’s easier to say something true than to make up a crazy backstory; it’s easier to call someone in from the sidelines rather than playing every character yourself.
At work, there are lots of ways to make the “easy” choice; whether that’s delegating some work, creating more realistic timelines, breaking big projects down into smaller “beats” or milestones. Today, we’re going to home in on one: Making use of existing frameworks.
AKA, “invest, don’t invent”
Leveraging existing frameworks is one of the 8 “universal improvisational skillsets” identified by organizational researchers in the Journal of Thinking Skills and Creativity.
At work this might look like:
- Using creative/budget constraints to narrow your focus
- Leveraging communication/feedback channels more effectively
- Investing in current tools & team training
Or, it could be as simple as trusting people to do their jobs, rather than taking on additional tasks outside of your core responsibilities.
“Okay, but my startup doesn’t have any existing processes…”
Been there. As employees, the least we can do is put in an honest effort to learn/use the tools provided by your org (key caveat). If they’re still not meeting your needs, then the next best course is to document exactly where it falls short, and the opportunity cost.
On the flip side, as leaders, if we have processes/tools in place we can make them the path of least resistance by putting structure around training for employees. We can also empower early-adopting team members to evangelize for the rest of the team or offer incentives to act as internal resources.
So for the Luddites and workaholics alike, a PSA: tools and processes exist, in part, to make the easy choice the obvious one. Take this story, for example. We could go on and on, but instead, we’ll make the easy choice; and end right here.
Want to learn more? We’ve joined forces with improv legend Wayne Brady and applied improv company FLS Academy to bring improv to audiences around the world. Learn about how our new venture, FLS+, is changing lives at work, at home, and on stage at: https://flsplus.com/