Today on Unleashed we welcome Cathy Salit. a social entrepreneur, executive coach, jazz singer and performance activist. She’s been a community organizer and educator since she was 13 years old when she dropped out of school and started her own high school in NYC.
For 23 years, Salit was CEO and a co-founder of the award-winning leadership consultancy Performance of a Lifetime, (POAL). Under her leadership, POAL developed a top brand client roster, including American Express, IBM, Twitter, Nike, ArcelorMittal, Pfizer, The U.S. Olympics, and Johns Hopkins Hospital. POAL utilizes the innovative performance and development approach, helping leaders and teams to collaborate, grow, and create culture change. She’s the author of Performance Breakthrough: A Radical Approach to Success at Work, and her work has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.
In 2020 in the face of the global pandemic, Cathy launched an online initiative called the Global Play Brigade, where actors, improvisers, therapists, educators, and coaches from over 45 countries offer free play and emotional support workshops as a way to support people through this crisis together.
- There is a strong connection between the skills used in theatre and those needed for a successful and full life: creativity, writing scripts, developing characters, working in a team, all have massive use outside of theatre. “It’s a magical toolkit.”
- We are all born creative and experimental, but society beats it out of us. The “Knowing Paradigm” – felling everything in life is knowable, and to succeed you need to be a knower – gets in the way of innovation, comfort with uncertainty, and developing the people around us. It’s OK to not know or be wrong. As Walt Whitman writes in Song of Myself, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
- Everyone has been exposed to the art of improv these days, but few see the value outside of performance and comedy. But improv tools can kickstart the development of people and ideas. The rules of improv are:
- Be an incredible listener.
- Use “YES AND… “statements instead of “BUT”.
- Strive to make the people around you look good.
- Recognise it take practice, we tend to jump to judgement and evaluation..
- We live in a very individualistic society, we often makes feel we need to solve problems, generate ideas, and fix things ourselves. But we need to leverage the power of people around us and be willing to ask for help even if it might expose our lack of knowledge or skill.
- If we thing of our teams more as ensembles, a word often used in the performing arts, it can shift our orientation to more creativity.
Actions You Can Take Right Now:
- Listen and grow connection by saying “YES, AND…” in conversations.
- Perform curiosity, even when you’re not feeling it – ask questions, show interest and dig deeper.
- Dance to music on an upcoming virtual meeting –cameras on!
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Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his day exploring what makes high performers tick and helping build a community of leaders who want to learn and grow together. Follow Jeff (Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram) for more great leadership insights.