Guest contributions:

04.22.13  Uncommon Leadership 

04.02.15  Switch and Shift  

05.13.15  Better Practice Team Performance

05.29.15  Better Practice Team Performance

07.08.15  Switch and Shift 

07.14.15  Better Practice Team Performance

10.05.15  Switch and Shift 

Stacey's Reading List...


"Tribe of Mentors" by Timothy Ferriss

"Shortcut" by John Pollack 

"Seeing What Others Don't" by Gary Klein

"Several Short Sentences About Writing" by Verlyn Klinkenborg

"The Birkman Method - Your Personality at Work" by Sharon Birkman Fink and Stephanie Capparell

"Creative Intelligence" by Bruce Nussbaum 

"Improv Wisdom" by Patricia Ryan Madson

"Training To Imagine" by Kat Koppett

"Quiet" by Susan Cain

"Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson

"A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink

"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman 

"Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson  

"The Leadership Pipeline" by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel  

"Life:  Selected Quotations" by Paulo Coelho 

"Deep Change" by Robert Quinn

"The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz  

"The Way of the Shepherd" by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak  

"Developing the Leader Within You" by John Maxwell  

"Mr. Peabody's Apples" by Madonna

"Orbiting the Giant Hairball" by Gordon MacKenzie




blog archive

All Hail The Arts!

Originally published as Guest Commentary in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal (November 21, 2016)

All hail the arts! 

And rightly so.  With thought leaders such as author Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind) boldly stating that “the MFA is the new MBA”, the movement to recapture the value of the arts in an academic platform has emerged. 

Pink’s pivotal book (published more than a decade ago) predicted that forces in the world economy would shift society from left-brain thinking to right-brain thinking as the dominant thought pattern. In retrospect, that is precisely where we’ve landed today.  Think about the relevance of storytelling, our desire for product design, a resurgent demand for all things handcrafted, or how individuals are searching for greater meaning in their lives.  It’s all foreshadowed in his book.

Thankfully the arts (literary, culinary, media, visual, performing) are being heavily leveraged in many of today’s marketplaces. Particularly interesting is the more recent merging of art forms (right-brain) and business thinking (left-brain) to drive value propositions.  A perfect example of this blended thinking is storytelling – ones ability to share compelling stories.  There is a science to effective storytelling, yet it is also very much a nuanced art.  Currently organizations of all sizes are embracing storytelling to sustain organizational culture. 

Improvisation is another blended-thinking approach.  In full disclosure, I should probably mention the following:  I practice improvisational comedy, I perform in an improv troupe, and I teach from a platform of applied improvisation.  So perhaps I’m slightly biased.  I see the value of the performing arts play out on stage all the time.  From personal learning’s (emotional intelligence, divergent problem solving, executive presence) to business imperatives (innovation, creativity, collaboration) – it’s all there. 

But don’t just take my word for it.  Thought leaders around the world are chiming in on the discussion, and they are staunch supporters on the value proposition of applied improvisation.    

“Improvisation should be taught in every business school in the country.  It is a terrific way of learning the powerful creative competence of reframing.  Improv also teaches you how to play in a team.  It’s ‘ensemble creativity’.  Think music or sports." 

Bruce Nussbaum, professor of innovation and design at Parsons The New School for Design (New York), and author of Creative Intelligence (CQ).


“The future now belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind.  The era of ‘left-brain’ dominance is giving way to a new world of artistic and holistic ‘right-brain’ abilities...the progression is towards a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers.” 

Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind


“Improvisation…involves people making very sophisticated decisions on the spur of the moment, without the benefit of any kind of script or plot.  But it isn’t random and chaotic at all.  It is an art form governed by a series of rules.  In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action.  All the improvisation teacher has to do is to reverse this skill and he creates very ‘gifted’ improvisers. Bad improvisers block action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action.” 

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink:  The Power of Thinking Without Thinking


“Some people misunderstand improv…it seems that improv is all about being funny.  But it is not.  Improvisation is about being spontaneous…about being imaginative…about taking the unexpected and then doing something unexpected with it.  The key is to be open to crazy ideas and building on them.  And funnily enough, that is exactly what is needed if we are going to make our enterprises more creative and agile." 

Paul Sloane, author of The Leaders Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills


“Improvisation is probably one of the two or three cardinal skills for businesses to learn in the future." 

John Kao, studied philosophy at Yale, received an MBA from Harvard Business School, held faculty appointments at Harvard, Yale and MIT


If creativity is becoming the currency of the 21st century, then we would all do well to place our spend on the arts.  Literary, culinary, media, visual, performing – take your pick.  Organizations that find a way to infuse the arts (right-brain thinking) with the logic of business (left-brain thinking) stand a greater chance of creating more intuitive and holistic enterprises.  

All hail the arts!



...playing with how you think!


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« 15 Skills to Build Regardless of the Future | Main | Merging The Birkman Method with Applied Improvisation »