Once a year, I bring in all my direct reports from around the country. Because we are not all physically together, it is really important that engagement, collaboration and trust is high in order for us to be most effective. For our annual retreat, I wanted to do something special. Rather than talking about trust, collaboration and building on one another’s ideas, I wanted a way to LIVE it. An organizational development expert recommended I contact Topher Bellavia. I am so glad that I did!“Topher created a fantastic session that kicked off our entire retreat. It was so fun, engaging and memorable! It was very effective in setting the stage for our entire meeting. It created a new lightness in the group and a very fluid way of building on one another’s ideas during our retreat. This collaboration has endured beyond the retreat. Interestingly, even our CFO said it was the best part of the day!“I’d highly recommend including Topher in your organization’s planning meetings!
Our group of hospital staff was a little reserved when Topher arrived, but within a few minutes he had us playing hilarious games, acting out wild scenarios, and laughing heartily with each other. Topher’s exercises really brought our goal of having a supportive, “yes and” work environment to life. We can’t wait to have him back again.
Your improv workshop for my team at USAID was transformational. It catalyzed a feeling of trust among team members that has continued to build for the past 6 months. It was the most effective ‘team-building’ exercise I have experienced, in more than 20 years of office retreats and off-site meetings. Most importantly, it was fun. I highly recommend it to any group that works together.“Regarding long-term impacts, I have observed that individual team members actively work to support each other, both during long-term projects and during high-adrenaline times that require quick-turnaround delivery. Being able to rely on each other during these times, and to have the confidence to improvise in creative ways to solve problems in short time frames, is critical to the success of my team.“Since taking your workshop, my team has continued to succeed in our organization, and has been described by others as being ‘cooperative,’ ‘supportive,’ ‘helpful’ and ‘fun.’ As Director, these are the qualities I want to keep encouraging.“Thank you for all that you did to help kick-start this attitude!
This is the most creative I’ve been since … ever.
[My] brain hurts in a good way from the switch in context to a world where imagining things is more and more possible.
The basic message of being more in-tune and flexible could help me in every aspect of my life, to say nothing of my employment.
I think that the team will have some inside jokes and a revealing experience to bolster goodwill in all our interactions.
Meetings should have a more creative feel where no idea is wasted.
Yes! Specifically the ‘Yes, and.’ I think people are more comfortable working thru difficult concepts when the focus is on finding agreement and iterating off each others ideas.
I was nervous, but really it had to do with not wanting to leave my desk—I had a lot to do. Afterward, I felt exhausted and revitalized. It was a splendid team-building activity.
I would like to thank you for your electrifying presentation last Wednesday. The idea of combining the crucial idea of disaster preparedness with the boisterous and ice-breaking improv is an incredible idea … we experienced something special that words cannot describe.
If I may ask, could I use some of your activities to benefit the team in our time of conflict? Not to say that our team is always in conflict, but I’m sure you know that when you throw 10 strangers together for ten months it’s not always going to be rainbows and unicorns.
I thought it would be more disaster prep, not as much improv, but I like the idea that learning to let go and jump into improv warms up our brains to working on dealing with an unexpected situation.
I liked the camaraderie, the sense of bonding with others to achieve a goal. I also thought the exercises were fun. I prefer things like that to just sitting around talking.
I walked into this nervous and blind, and came away with my eyes open! Any fears I had about improv mostly disappeared, probably because your exercises helped me become comfortable in a new group, and this surprised me. I usually am nervous in a group situation, but going through the exercises really had a calming effect on me.
I hope it does not diminish the seriousness of your work when I tell you I had FUN … and I’m glad to have met Topher.
It increases your confidence to know that you can access parts of yourself you didn’t even know were there.
Topher has helped me become a better manager. I was facing a difficult situation dealing with a subordinate. While worriedly pacing on the office roof and considering my options, I imagined what sage advice Topher would suggest. Not only did I not jump off and potentially land on a lawyer walking along K Street NW, I knew I had to take the high road and be positive and let the situation play out. Two people playing tit-for-tat becomes a boring scene quickly and does not resolve issues in the real world.
As a professional leadership trainer, confidence and flexibility are a MUST. Improv training with Topher was a game-changer for my professional life. I not only have an edge in my field, but I now know that I can handle anything that my clients throw at me. And do it with grace, humor, and confidence!