Several years ago I came to the realization that improvising was a skill that had allowed me to be more creative and successful in both my personal and professional life. Improvising is the ability to go beyond basic skills and boldly find new directions and solutions. Improvising breaths new life into old situations. Improvising is often time the difference between an ok result and a stellar result.

I have been a professional sax player most of my life. As I developed my business skills, I realized that I was applying many skills to business that I had learned in music. Over the years I had the opportunity to perform with many musicians at the top of their game (name drop), and there were many aspects to their approach to music that were common. And applying improvising was a consistent to the greatest musicians whether their genre is jazz, classical, pop, latin or xx.

But improvising applies to many situations. For example, in a business presentation, the most effective speaker is often the speaker that deviates from the script and responds to the audience with humor or a story or a line that creates a connection to the audience. Martin Luther’s Famous speech, I have a dream, was powerful in part because of his great ability to improvise. The inspirational line, I have a dream, was not part of the script.

Bringing the astronauts of Apollo 13 home safely was a group of people improvising.

I have seen over the years that successful people excel at improvising. They are able to adjust to the moment reading to the present in a manner that result in optimal outcomes. Improvising occurs at the the intersection of creativity, preparation, practice and being in the moment (flow).

Improvising skills can be applied in professional and personal situations to create more successful outcomes. In 1:1 interactions, in creating, in team settings, in presentations.

Improvising is an important aspect of creating success every day. Our personal and professional lives continue to be more dynamic year-by-year. Changes and especially daily changes become more of a daily need to navigate complexity. Doing it the way we’ve always done it doesn’t work in today’s world. Situations today require constant improvising as we figure out what the right notes are play.

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