THEATRE AND BUSINESS: What can business learn from the world of theatre.

Last week I went to the theatre to watch a contemporary version of the “Iliade”.

This representation was supposed to be outside the norm for several reasons. First, the purpose of the director was to put into play a modern, yet experimental way to read this old classic. Secondly, I knew that it had been performed 92 times, most of them for high schools audiences.

I was curious.

And I was surprised.

Because at the end of the performance I realized how many analogies there can be between managing a play and managing a company.

Here below are the most significant points.

INNOVATION

The promise to represent the “Iliade” in an experimental and innovative way was kept. The only actor was giving a monologue for 1.5 hours in a very dynamic way, and on well organized stage. He interpreted many protagonists of the poem using contemporary elements (a beauty contest; a TV show; a rockstar concert, and so on). The use of contemporary elements was effective and it came out not only funny but also meaningful.

BUSINESS MODEL

The show has a well defined structure. The director and the actor built together all the scenes, trying several options and looking for a systematic representation. They spent 1 month continuosly defining and trying out, so as to arrive at the final version.

It’s easy to link this to a design and implementation of an effective business model with a clear structure; that allows for ongoing changes – that follow or anticipate the market trends – to be carried out whilst maintaining its structural integrity.

SALES

For quite sometime, they were thinking of promoting the show at classical theatres.

But once they completed the preparation, they decided to try other channels. They looked for interest in the more unconventional cultural sectors. And there they found the schools. This show is effective at representing “the Iliade” on an educational level, even if it can be enjoyed by older audiences too.

Once the theathrical company started with the first school, they contaced other schools in Italy and the result were 92 replies in less than one year.

A good example of a good “product” repetitively sold.

PRACTICE & SEARCH FOR QUALITY

At the end of the performance the actor told me: “Now after all the trials and 92 shows I’m so prepared that i can act almost by heart, and I can enjoy the show myself!”.

How can this be applied to business when the teams are so skilled due to not only the efforts but also the time and energy dedicated to improving their performance and achieving their targets? At work, regardless of the job, there is above all one very simple rule: do your job. And do it well. There is no quality without quantity, because the quantity allows ourselves to learn from our mistakes and to improve more and more.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION & CONTINUOS IMPROVEMENT

Unusually, at the end of the performance the Director came onto the stage and announced that the actor and him were available to stay there a while to answer possible questions and to speak wth the audience.

I’m passionate about theatre, it’s the first time I have ever seen such a thing.

“Yes, this sounds a bit strange, but we love to listen to the audience’s feedback, we can learn something new from you”, the Director said.

There was a nice conversation, they both were very kind and genuinely open to sharing their ideas and to reflecting upon them with the audience. They told us that a lot of refinements were done to the show thanks to the feedbacks received.

Great example of customer satisfaction, relevant to the ongoing improvement of company performance.

 

Overall it was a beautiful experience.

And I’m wondering if others have had similar situations.

If so, please feel free to share!

 

Giancarlo Pozzoli,
International Senior Director at Wyser

 

Enza Artino,
International Service Manager c/o Wyser; Coaching Competence Center Manager c/o Gi Group