[Excerpt from Neeley Magazine Summer 2016] - Comedy in the business school? It’s no joke.
The newest Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the TCU Neeley School of Business, Four Day Weekend improv comedy troupe demonstrates and teaches the power of “Yes, and…” thinking to TCU business students in an innovative, interactive and humorous format.
Neeley Fellows participate in exercises with Four Day Weekend co-founder David Wilk during orientation. Despite some squirming, blushing and avoiding eye contact, the business students soon excel at the “Yes, and…” philosophy and use it for school, work and life.
“When they came to orientation to teach improvisational thinking and team building, I realized how important a cohesive environment is for a group. We learned how to make teamwork a positive, productive experience.” said Kaity Butcher, marketing major.
Kaity’s group used “Yes, and…” thinking for a project later in the semester.
“Everyone was more willing to contribute because everyone was open-minded, which led to better ideas and a more cohesive, creative project,” she said.
Brooke Barlock, finance and marketing major, said Four Day Weekend’s presentation was “the favorite class event I’ve attended. It changed and redefined my perspective on the coming semester.”
Brooke used “Yes, and…” thinking for a marketing project.
“This is the first time I’ve worked with a group where we went beyond the guidelines,” Brooke said. “We said, ‘Yes, we have the materials, and we can do this.’ We made posters. We made aprons because our products were cookies. We created a video. We asked ourselves what we could add to this project to make it even stronger. It helped me think outside the box and find a passion for the project.”
The message seems simple: “Yes” creates while “no” stops progress. And it goes beyond having a positive attitude.
“It’s about how we work effectively with others to dream bold dreams, encourage and support each other, and realize that building a business or a business school involves capitalizing on the talents, strengths and energies of a variety of people,” said O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach Dean of the TCU Neeley School of Business.
The “Yes, and” philosophy is key to Four Day Weekend’s success. Almost 20 years ago, the group started with $700 and a six-week-long commitment in downtown Fort Worth. When asked to stay, they said: “Yes, and we would like a bigger piece of the gate.”
They got a bigger venue and added shows and more comedians.
When the CEO of a major corporation saw the show and asked if they would lead corporate workshops, they said: “Yes, and we’d like to start with yours.”
Four Day Weekend performs every weekend to sell-out crowds in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, and they travel across the country to teach “Yes, and…” thinking to business professionals. They recently published a book, Happy Accidents, to share their success story to an even bigger audience.
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