Examining Leadership Skills with Year Up

Today our facilitators hosted Year Up: Greater Philadelphia for a fun workshop emphasizing leadership skills and having a good time doing it.

Year Up is an organization that gives with college students development, coaching, and internships at some of America’s top companies. They are a tremendous resource in providing opportunities and positioning the future leaders of industry to launch into meaningful careers.

We worked with Year Up’s people managers. Some of the team are in their first leadership roles and our workshop reflected those skills that make for great leaders. This meant an immediate focus on communicating.

Leadership skills Through Improvisation

Any great leader knows communication includes two major components: absorbing information and conveying information. Our workshop then started with communication, focusing on exercises that relied on active listening and sharing. The origin of a leader lies in a person’s  ability to understand the needs of their team and their ability to distribute information.

We also worked on presentation and body language. We communicate information using so much more than our words. The way we carry ourselves has an indirect effect on our message; both on how we choose to convey the information and how the message is received. This second part of our workshop encompassed the intangible skills of leadership.

Establishing channels for clear communication means standing in parallel lines, today at least.

For a fairly new team like Year Up, skills development is as important as bonding. A team must be able to get comfortable before they can start unpacking the heavier messages of a workshop. We recognize that not every is entirely comfortable with improvisation – however, this group found its energy fairly quickly, which made for a fun day that flew by.

If you work with a group of leaders, let us help you refine your skills. Contact us today to inquire about setting up a fun and informative workshop for your team.

Innovation and Persuasion with Knoll

We had tremendous  fun hosting a workshop with the marketing and communications team at Knoll Inc, today. Knoll is an industry leader in modern furniture for home and office, blending the worlds of practicality, functionality and design, and their crew made for a real fun workshop.

The theme of the day was The Future – the leadership at Knoll knows they need to be on the cutting edge if they plan on replicating the years of success they have enjoyed. The emphasis of this workshop was on building stronger bonds among the team through taking and supporting risk.

It can be difficult to feel inspired at work, in any industry. And sometimes it takes guts to share an idea that may feel so unconventional. Your ability to innovate is as important as your ability to communicate, and balancing those two are not always so easy.

As a result, we presented Knoll with a curriculum that addressed thinking differently, sharing ideas and perspective, and feeling comfortable speaking persuasively to their team. The  exercise challenged the team to take initiative and share thoughts while also supporting the risks being taken around them.

A conga line was not on the curriculum. Pretty sure they did this on their own.

Knoll was also interested in how improv could help their team to be persuasive with their peers… specifically without being annoying! In a fast creative environment, it can be tough to present innovative and different ideas in a way that is immediately understandable and palatable. Our curriculum addressed this issue by focusing on the importance of collaboration. Instead of presenting ideas as impositions, we can present ideas in a collaborative way, allowing for the input of those around us, and making it feel like a team effort as opposed to an individual ultimatum.

It’s always nice to work with a creative and out going group, and Knoll was absolutely that. The rooms were loud and boisterous for this, and by the end the group had a lot to reflect on… and a lot of fun!


Team Building for Fortune 500 Companies -Teaching Comcast Creativity

We had a great a time with Comcast‘s Strategic Development Team today! A group of about 50 took over our theater and experienced a workshop that packed a lot into an afternoon. This was an expecially exciting to our team, because we love team building for Fortune 500 companies. Big companies have a the funds to dedicate to large scale professional development. As a result, they benefit from scheduling “outside the box” trainings like ours. Our focus on experiential learning in workshops set us apart from lots of other training providers.

Comcast is an industry leader and that’s thanks in no small part to their Strategic Development Team. This is a group that thrives on entrepreneurial energy and their ability to come up with fresh new ideas that motivate and challenge their peers. To help jumpstart their team we created a customized workshop for an afternoon of fun and learning. Then, we hosted them at PHIT’s stages – just a few blocks from Comcast’s own world headquarters in Philadelphia.

Our workshops call on individuals to take risks. As soon as we start, participants are stepping outside the realm of normal. As a result, they get to a place where their most absurd and fun ideas can exist. The Stragetic Development team spends a lot of time in that headspace that lies just beyond the everyday normal. This specific curriculum allowed them to examine how they conceive those ideas as well as how the rest of the team responds.

Comcast is just one example of PHIT's team building for Fortune 500 companies.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a few good improv teams could be formed from this group. They took to the material right away and made for some entertaining and supportive ideas.

If your team needs to stretch their creative minds, we’ve got an outlet for that. Get in touch with PHIT today and let’s chat about how we do team building for Fortune 500 companies (or your smaller business too).

Executive Leadership Training for Tessellate

The executive team of Tessellate stopped by today to help cap off a corporate retreat with a fun  and powerful improv workshop focusing on executive leadership training. We often work with groups who contact us to be part of a larger area event they are holding for their teams  Improv is a fun way to cap off a planning session, company retreat, or other organizational pow-wow.

Tessellate is a major provider of risk adjustment services to health care companies based in Michigan. They traveled to Philadelphia for their retreat. They wanted to focus most of all on ways to increase trust and transparency within their team.


Working with an employee at Tessellate responsible for planning the retreat, PHIT’s facilitators created a customized set of improv exercises. Then we refined the plan for the afternoon based on their feedback. As a result, we were able to deliver a highly focused and relevant learning experience for everyone who attended.

One aspect of our workshops that speak to corporate leadership is building on the principles of transparency and trust. Improvisation calls on us to be clear, effective, and emotionally honest. As a result, we train our workshop participants to consider their role on the team and how their ability to communicate with those around them effects their ability to rely on them.

PHIT Corporate leads an executive leadership training for Tessellate on one of our stages.

Just getting warmed up.

In order to take the necessary risks to grow as a team, there must be a foundation of trust. How else can ideas generate and grow? Therefore, our workshop today affirmed the role trust plays in our daily work lives.



Sound like something your team could benefit from? Contact us today for more information on our executive leadership training for groups like Tessellate’s and let us help your company use improv to advance your goals at the top. We would love to work with you!

Play at Work

If everyone had to write down a list of words that described their job, I don’t think “fun” would be at the top of many lists. Work is tough. Work is work. A job is full of challenges and responsibilities and most people compartmentalize fun to the hours after five o’clock.

Here’s the trick: your job SHOULD BE fun. But at some point, when you applied, or accepted an offer, something about this job must have been worthwhile for you to commit your time for it.

You may have lost sight of the “fun” behind the crushing weight of tasks, deadlines, cranky co-workers or clients.

I would never suggest you trivialize your job, or force yourself to treat issues that matter like they don’t. A flippant attitude isn’t the answer. But you can open yourself up to “playing” at work.

When we talk about improvisors performing, we refer to it as “playing.” On stage, you must open yourself up to the endless possibilities of what can happen from scene-to-scene or show-to-show. There is a sense of discovery and exploration.

That opportunity for you to flex creative muscles exists off stage too. By changing the way you approach work issues you can help make yourself love what you do.

“When we bring a sense of play into our work environment it opens up new pathways to solutions and allows for innovation,” according to Kristen Schier, university professor and one of PHIT Comedy’s corporate workshop facilitators. “Play exchanges convention and rigidity for novelty and flexibility. Play fosters creativity and adaptation all while inviting new possibilities… and let us not forget joy!

Our workshops can help people retrain how they think about work. We encourage you to look at your job not as an obligation you have to fulfill, but as a role for you to star in.

Here are a few ways you might be preventing yourself from having fun at work:

  1. You’re stuck in a creative rut: if you’ve become a slave to an implied system of doing your job, you’re missing out on new opportunities to approach work.
  2. You’re assuming “no”s – Sometimes our inclination to shoot down our own ideas prevents us from exploring opportunities we never realize.
  3. You’re focusing on the wrong things – If the amount you dread doing something is proportional to how long you put off doing it, you’re sustaining the worry. Spend your time focusing on the more engaging parts of your job.

To help you or your team rediscover fun at work, contact PHIT Comedy about our corporate workshops using applied improvisation today.