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Collaborate and share your work.

When we create spaces for everyone to feel heard and connected we create better relationships and better work.


My whole career I've been fortunate to get to work on and with so many different types of people and businesses and it's taught me a lot. I've worked with luxury liquor brands, pharmaceutical companies, on telecom, with banks, hospitals, home furnishing companies, with performers, comedians, therapists and home chefs, from branding agencies to executive leadership coaches.


Working with such a variety of people and types of business I've seen the impact of good collaboration and radical candor. It also allows me to really appreciate those early experiences which helped shape my perspective on working with others and the importance of giving and getting critical feedback.


At the beginning of my career while I was still building my portfolio, I was taking advertising classes at SVA taught by a pair of creative directors from Kirshenbaum and Bond.


When it came to presenting our work, they used their agency's process. If we thought our work was good it went on one wall. If we thought it sucked, it went on the opposite wall. Then everyone would walk around and view the work. On rare occasions an idea from the sucky side of the room would get moved over to the other wall by one of the teachers and vice versa. Sometimes an idea on the sucky wall would inspire another better idea. It was useful to see everyones work, good or bad AND it somehow felt satisfying to put an idea you thought was terrible on the wall anyway, to show you had put the work in.


I had this crazy idea for Rao's sauce which I put on the bad wall and they moved to the good wall.

It takes a lot of bad ideas to get to the good ones. And seeing how other people were thinking broadened my way of coming at ideas. This process made room for others to contribute to my ideas and for me to contribute to theirs. It allowed for some wild ideas to come out and it made me tougher and more objective and able to receive critical feedback. It allowed me to get, what could've be construed as negative feedback, without crumbling.


We were paired up, writers and art directors, to work on our assignments. Typically we would work apart first and then come together with our initial ideas, thoughts and inspirations.


One day, my partner was going thru and sharing his ideas and I found myself saying yes to many of them. I remember feeling I didn't want to crush his ideas by not liking them, and heard myself adding to them to see where they could go. When it was my turn to share ideas, I found he was doing the same thing. Not knocking ideas down, but adding to them to see where it could go. It was fun partnering with him and coming up with new ideas together.


At the end of our session we had a bunch of great ideas and of course a lot of terrible ones too. He told me at the end of our meeting, I was one of the best partners he ever had. That feeling of being in flow with someone else is intoxicating and inspiring. 


It would be years later before I recognized this as the "Yes, And" of improv. And even more years before I realized the "Yes, And" to someone else's ideas, actually allows them to feel seen and heard. And it allows them to do the same in return, allowing you to feel seen and heard, too. It feels great and is great for innovation.


As kids we were all good at "yes, and-ing." At making up games together and playing. Because it is play. Of course there will be a time when you have to say no to an idea. When an idea has run its course or turned sour. As adults, adulting in the world we have gotten really good at saying no—you might recognize it as "yes, but." Now we need more practice saying "yes, and" again.


The truth is when we are feeling insecure, triggered or don't have trust we seek control and resort to self-preservation, which shows up as "yes, but" or a straight up no.


Add to that today’s remote/hybrid workplace which is leaving many feeling unknown, isolated, siloed, uninspired, afraid to speak up and you have people wondering what is the point of coming into the office at all.


To get to better work, more innovative work, more effective outcomes, we need creative bravery, which requires trust. When we feel seen and heard together, a new reality can be built in which everyone in the room feels the possibility for fearless expression.


What might shift in you or your organization if you had better collaboration in your work relationships? How might you shift yourself or others from a "Yes, But" to a "Yes, And" person?


Now in my career, I work with teams using improv and portrait photography to transform creative isolation into radical collaboration,

transform knowing each other’s craft to knowing each other’s superpowers, and transform fear into the desire to participate fully.


I run workshops using proven improv skills that:

Remove fears of judgement to encourage creative risk-taking.

Remove individual silos to rekindle camaraderie.

Remove apathy to Inspire inexhaustible creative possibilities.


If you lead a team or department that could use some help with radical collaboration, shifting from a "Yes, But" to a "Yes, And" team, book a consultation with me here to discover how improv and portrait photography can help.

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