This episode is a Behavioral Grooves first: we bring you our first ever joint podcast! Mid-way through the episode the tables turn and our guest interviews us! Our guest is the amazing Kelly Leonard, host of the great podcast called “Getting to Yes, And…” presented by Second City Works and WGN in Chicago. This unique conversation with Kelly, Kurt and Tim gives us a glimpse of the people behind the podcasts. It is a light-hearted, raw conversation scattered with some really personal, touching stories about challenges each of them have faced in their lives.
For over 30 years, Kelly has worked at Second City Improv - in all capacities moving up to Executive Vice President. He’s worked with some of the most unforgettable and influential comedians on the planet, such as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan Michael Key, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler! His book, "Yes, And," received rave reviews in Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.
But what we really wanted to talk to Kelly about was his work as executive director of insights and applied improvisation at Second City. He now co-leads a new partnership with Booth School at the University of Chicago that studies behavioral science through the lens of improvisation. Their mission is to use humor and empathy, interactivity and dialogue, to elevate conversations and inspire people to perform better.
Kelly talks to us about what improv actually is. He believes it’s fundamentally different from comedy and says many people tell him that improv training changed their life. He likens improv to “yoga for your social skills”!
We discuss Kelly’s concept of “Yes, And”. So often as humans, our default setting when asked to be involved with something, is to do nothing or say no. But our regrets are almost always about the things that we didn't do. He describes saying “yes, and'' as a little nudge. And he has some innovative ways of sharing this idea through improv exercises
Kelly has discovered that real value is added to the “Yes, And” approach by adding a final step called “Thank You, Because”. Those are the words that help bridge a gap between us and someone else we fundamentally disagree with. By thanking someone for sharing information, their “fear brain” isn’t triggered, and they feel gratitude. The “Because” part forces us to find something in what they’ve said that is true for both of us. We then have some space to stay in the conversation together.
Our conversation with Kelly then flips! And for the first time ever on Behavioral Grooves, the interviewers become the interviewees! We delve into the behavioral science work that Tim and Kurt are passionate about; negativity bias and how to overcome it, talking to our emotions and naming our fears, the 4-Drive model of Motivation, as well as how to improve really dull work meetings!
Kurt and Tim tell us the “yes, and” story of how the Behavioral Grooves podcast actually started! And Kelly shares how an office fire was the spark that ignited his podcast journey. In this unique episode you will learn what makes these 3 great podcast hosts really tick and what techniques and exercises they use to stay positive, grateful and what they’ve learnt by saying “yes, and”.
Topics We Discuss in This Episode
(3:36) Welcome to Kelly and speed round questions
(5:00) What is improv?
(10:32) The concept of “Yes, And”
(17:15) Obstacles as gifts
(20:08) Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset
(21:46) “Wish” - a resilience exercise
(23:36) Kelly talks music
(26:56) Switch! Kelly welcomes Tim and Kurt
(27:09) Negativity Bias
(29:06) Talk to the emotions
(31:23) How writing connects with your emotions
(36:44) How Kurt started his business
(37:03) The 4-Drive Model of Motivation
(39:25) How Behavioral Grooves and Getting To Yes, And podcasts started
(42:18) Meetings suck! How can we improve them?
(44:29) Emotional safety at work
(52:30) Who do Kurt and Tim REALLY want as a guest on their podcast?
(59:42) Kurt and Tim’s Yes, And stories
(1:04:18) Grooving session
Kelly Leonard: https://www.secondcity.com/people/kelly-leonard+
Second City: Secondcity.com
“Getting to Yes, And” Podcast: https://www.secondcityworks.com/podcast
Art In An Instant: The secrets of improvisation https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/lifestyle/science-behind-improv-performance/
The Big Short Movie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Short_(film)
Richard Thaler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Thaler
The Second Science Project https://www.secondcityworks.com/about/research-insights
Nicholas Epley “Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want” https://amzn.to/34M4GRM
Tim Harford “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives” https://amzn.to/34JN9dc
Kurt Nelson PhD, Communicating To Your Team During A Pandemic https://medium.com/@kurtnelson_84317/communicating-to-your-team-during-a-pandemic-insights-and-tips-for-leaders-rooted-in-behavioral-aebd938d0310
Devon Price PhD “Laziness Does Not Exist” https://amzn.to/3cqZl6Z
“Getting To Yes, And...podcast with Devon Price PhD” https://www.secondcityworks.com/podcast-posts/guest-dr-devon-price
Tim Houlihan “The Benefits Of Pre-industrial Revolution Life” https://www.behavioralchemy.com/news-1/2020/5/19/the-benefits-of-pre-industrial-revolution-life
David Byrne “American Utopia” https://americanutopiabroadway.com/
The 4-Drive Model. “Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model”
Jane Dutton University of Michigan “Compassion at Work” https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/145016032.pdf
Liz Fosslien “No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work and How They Help Us Succeed” https://amzn.to/3v2LhXF
Episode 120: Covid-19 Crisis “Emotional Impact Of Wfh With Liz Fosslien” https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/c-19-crisis-emotional-impact-of-wfh-with-liz-fosslien/
Kimberlé Crenshaw “Intersectionality” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality
Amy Edmondson “Psychological Safety” https://hbr.org/2021/04/what-psychological-safety-looks-like-in-a-hybrid-workplace
Adam Alter “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” https://amzn.to/3iuzAX0
Episode 204 “How Shellye Archambeau Flies Like an Eagle” https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/shellye-archambeau-like-an-eagle/
Joann Lublin “Work-Life-Sway” https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-on-books/author-talks-joann-lublin-on-lessons-for-working-mothers-their-families-and-their-employers#
Alan Alda https://aldacenter.org/
Daniel Kahneman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman
Barry Schwartz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Schwartz_(psychologist)
David Byrne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Byrne
Robert MacFarlane “The Lost Words” https://amzn.to/35dxmnj
Tina Seelig at Stanford University https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tina_Seelig
Episode 67 “George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom” https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/george-loewenstein-on-a-functional-theory-of-boredom/
John Sweeney https://bravenewworkshop.com/author/sweeney/
Katy Milkman “How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” https://amzn.to/350WJbK
Episode 220 “How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets” https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/how-to-be-influential-jon-levy/
Django Reinhardt “Three-Fingered Lightning” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQhTpgicdx4
Keith Jarrett “If I Were A Bell” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr42YR4rHbE
Taylor Swift “Cardigan” from Folklore album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-a8s8OLBSE
Taylor Swift “Willow” from Evermore album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsEZmictANA
Lake Street Dive “Obviously” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0XOy0XjKIg
Switched on Pop Podcast https://switchedonpop.com/
Neil Young “Harvest Moon” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2MtEsrcTTs
David Bowie “Lazarus” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-JqH1M4Ya8