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A Lesson from The London Comedy Store that May Help Right Now…

A Lesson from The London Comedy Store that May Help Right Now…

Naked Leader Week 876 –  15 June 2020

Time To Read: just under 2 minutes

I will never forget being invited by Brendan Barns of The London Business Forum to take part in an improvisation evening to raise money for Hospice UK, fronted by the legendary Neil Mullarkey.

Now I wouldn’t say I was nervous, and so I casually turned up just 4 hours before I went on…

I had three things that reassured me, and ensured I went through with it:

  1. This was for charity, so the audience wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t that funny – wrong!
  2. I would be properly trained in what to do – wronger!!
  3. At least the evening was a total break from anything to do with Naked Leader and success and what we do professionally – Wrongest!!!

In simple terms Neil told us – literally just before we went on:

“Make Offers”

“Accept Offers”

“Build on Offers”

For example – if the audience wanted a scene set in a hospital and Neil walked on and said to me “Good morning Doctor. My name is Mike and I have broken my knee”

A ‘no but’ response would have been – “Sorry Mike, I am not a Doctor”

Instead, I said something very unfunny like “Hello Mike, just slip off your trousers and put your leg up on this urinal for me”

In short – move from ‘no but’ to ‘yes and

What I learned that night, and in all the times we have done such evenings since, is the value of this lesson in organisations:

When a person, a  team or an organisation moves from ‘no but’ to ‘yes and’ then everything changes

From someone putting forward a suggestion, only to be shot down:

No but we tried that 3 years ago, it didn’t work then and it won’t work now”


Yes and although we have tried it before the time may be right to think about it again”.

When you switch from ‘no but’ to ‘yes and’:

The negative becomes the positive

The silence becomes a buzz

You keep going until you reach an action – which may not have any resemblance to the very first suggestion!

Make an agreement in your next meeting, your next planning session, your next Zoom call, that when someone has an idea, no-one can disagree with that idea unless they come up with an alternative – ideally building on the idea itself.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Go on, ‘yes, and?’…

With my love, ‘yes and‘ my best wishes



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