Archive for August, 2015

Make your partner look good

Recently, I was in Fort Worth for a Design Thinking project and as part of a warm-up exercise for the 2-day project, we visited 4-Day Weekend Improv Comedy.  One of the lessons we learned was that an essential key to success in Improv is to always focus on making your partner look good.  In Improv comedy, you don’t know where the routine’s going to go but you need to build off of your partner.  Another important part of this is using “Yes and …” rather than “No” or “Yes but …” which both shut sound momentum; this is also true in brainstorming, and was the basis for what we’d be doing the next couple days. So, given all of this, you want to make sure you give your partner material with which they can easily get creative.

About a week ago, my wife and I joined my daughter and her boyfriend in going to Knuckleheads in the West Bottoms.  On a Sunday afternoon, the bar had an interesting mix of people (from Bikers in leather jackets to a Hispanic grandma to … well, me who probably looked out of place in my Star Trek shirt) but everyone got along really well and it was Open Mike Night / Jam Session.  The Master of Ceremonies would call 3-4 people up at a time (always a singer and a guitar player but then throw in drums, keyboard, bass, harmonica, …) and the group would start jamming and would sound great together for 3 songs before the M.C. called up a new set of musicians.  I was amazed by how well these musicians sounded together when they’d never done so before.  However, it comes back to the theme of “Make your partner look good” because they didn’t just focus on being the star of the show but giving a lead-in with which the other musicians could have a chance in the spotlight.

So, improv and jam sessions are both a lot of fun but they also taught an important life lesson.  In work and play and really in all relationships, it’s important to make your partner look good.

On Friday, The Kansas City Star said farewell to Randy Lane who retired after 38 years.  In his remarks at the ceremony where we said goodbye and thanked him for his service, he thanked everyone for making him look good for nearly 4 decades and that’s sense of gratitude and putting others first is an important part of why we’re going to miss him so much.

Tomorrow is September 1st which means today is my final day as Youth Director at Avondale United Methodist, a role in which I’ve served since January 2001.  I’d urge those that take the lead to remember that their role is to help the youth to create relationships with each other, the members of the church and most important Jesus Christ.  In order to do this, the leaders need to work to make others look good.  I know that my volunteers always made me look good and I tried to thank them for it but, more important, was to give the glory to God to help the youth form the most important relationship.

At home, it’s essential to remember the lesson of making your partner look good but I really like the way my Dad has phrased it to me before.  If a relationship is 50/50, you’re going to have problems because that’s when people keep score.  Both members of a couple need to aim to give 100% and if they each succeed, then everyone wins.  I adore my wife and appreciate how she has given me so much through the years and realize that I need to step up my game and truly relish the opportunity to spend more time with her.  And I have it easy if my role is to make her look good because she’s already awesome … but that doesn’t remove the challenge to do my best all of the time to help her.

My friend Vince’s personal brand statement is “Helping the best of the best get better” so I’m going to work at the same.