Managing in Turbulent Times at Second City Theater
Managers today are expected to deal with uncertainty, unexpected events, diversity, and change. They must demonstrate flexibility, foster trust, and engage the hearts and minds of employees. The managers at Second City Theater have a leg up in developing these skills and dealing with these situations because Second City has been doing it for years—-on stage. In 1975, owner and executive producer, Andrew Alexander, started the Second City television series (SCTV) in response to the new trend of television sketch comedy. Later, the company opened the Second City Training Center, an educational center offering classes in improvisation, acting, writing, and other skills. Most recently, Second City opened a corporate communications division, which provides training in the areas of internal communications, external marketing and branding, and learning development. With its focus on human skills, Second City demonstrates all of the qualities of a learning organization. The managers at Second City foster a climate where experimentation and learning are encouraged.
- Many students of the Second City Training Center are businesspeople looking to gain skills for the corporate context. What skills from the world of improvisational comedy would be valuable to a business manager?
- What do you think would be the challenges of a manager in a learning organization? Why?