Wiley Publications has announced the September publication date of “Happy Accidents” The Transformative Power of “Yes, And” at Work and in Life. Written by the co-founders of the improv comedy troupe Four Day Weekend, the book is a way of bringing the guiding philosophies of improvisation to develop successful practices in both interpersonal and business communication.
Drawing from examples gathered over two decades of turning a weekly Fort Worth comedy show into a full-time business that has them traveling the world and serving as Entrepreneurs in Residence at the business school at Texas Christian University, co-authors David Wilk, David Ahearn, and Frank Ford demonstrate how “yes, and” thinking helps improve communication skills, facilitate creative problem solving, and generate new ideas that can refresh and rejuvenate. From understanding the value of open minded, active listening (the ability to say “yes” to anything and mean it); to a willingness to offer out-of-the-box ideas without prejudgment (putting the “and” into action); to demonstrating authentic respect for the ideas and intentions of others, Happy Accidents shows how the same elements that make for great teamwork on stage prove to be immensely successful strategies in the workplace and board room.
“The philosophy of ‘yes, and,’ worked so well for us on stage,” says Frank Ford. “We asked, well, what if that was our business model as well? It not only opened up our ability to communicate within the group, but opened us up to so many different business opportunities.”
One story in the book – about how the group parlayed an under-funded offer from a major company into a positive magazine article that eventually lead to delivering a major keynote presentation to members of the US Congress and meeting the President and performing for the troops – exemplifies how “we use the ‘yes, and’ philosophy to find solutions,” says David Wilk.
“Business books rarely use the word ‘empathy,’” admit David Ahearn. “But the ‘yes, and’ philosophy helps you as a person. You look at life differently – you don’t see mistakes, you don’t see obstacles – you see workarounds, choices. You learn about active listening, how to be a better communicator.”
Four Day Weekend now finds themselves speaking to and presenting their philosophy to businesses, conferences, and political organizations all across the country, and now those same valuable life lessons are available to a general readership in Happy Accidents.