WHAT'S THE PLAN, STAN?

Adding value to your group by starting with a clear objective.

This is about the value of groups starting a project with a clear objective.


My mom used to say “What’s the plan, Stan?” all the time. I don’t know why, but I liked it. Even as a kid I knew she was using the phrase as a playful figure of speech. And now, as an adult, I know that it’s not just a colloquialism. When people are in it together, it’s best to have a plan.


When the stakes are high it’s foolish to not establish and communicate a clear objective. Establish some norms and expectations. Get buy-in from the group. Even when that plan is the NO PLAN plan of Improv. Having a script is like having a plan. Improvisers work without a script, however they can still expect that their ideas, for the most part, will be accepted, and their influence will be felt and acknowledged by their scene partners even if they don’t know what those ideas are prior to beginning the scene. For Improv to work everyone must plan to embrace each other's ideas as best as they can, add to them, and see and accept where the scene goes.


Having a clear objective is the cornerstone of launch success: of a team, a product, a company.

I’m not suggesting you operate like this all the time at work. Can you imagine? I’m saying that even in Improv there’s a plan. Improv games give people the guidance, structure and space to practice saying yes to others’ ideas, supporting everyone’s offers and building on them, not just to tell a story, but for fun and the thrill of making breakthroughs, and certainly for the connection.


Establishing an objective is the O in C.R.O.W.—the Objective, what the character needs and strives for throughout the course of the story. Acting is the passionate pursuit of an objective. One can also think of an objective as how a character wants to make another character feel. Whatever the objective is will influence how that character relates and acts toward others.


If a team at work is striving towards a common goal, and they support each other along the way, everyone will be at their best, and results, whether it’s work-related or an improvised scene, are likely to be more rewarding.

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