Good leaders also learn not to always have a script

As part of the second face-to-face week of the New Ventures Lab in Sao Paulo, we were fortunate to have two wonderful mentors: Mona Thompson & Shara Tonn, co-founders and members of COLLECTIVE CAPITAL, a company that works with teams and organizations helping to create a culture of innovation through improv and design thinking.

Photo: Sofia Perpetua

The background of Mona and Shara is in the theater, with no previous writing experience. Mona loves to take on almost impossible tasks. In 2013, she co-designed and produced a show at Alcatraz, the island off the coast of San Francisco that once was a U.S. federal prison. In 2017, she did a nine-week improvisation tour around the United States with her Do Improv group. Shara is a coach for Collective Capital. In this role she brings her experience in the mindset of improvisation and design thinking to improve the way teams collaborate, communicate and innovate to create a functional team.

“Often, when a team fails, it’s not because of lack of skill or creativity, but because they did not fully activate each member’s potential. By leveraging their collective capital, teams unlock the unique powers that are created when a group of people collaborate efficiently and with confidence,” they explain on their website.

The activities carried out during the NVL focused on creating trust, learning to handle situations that are out of your control and creating spaces of support among team members. How do you create a space to feel support? “As leaders, we need to handle different situations that appear in our lives with confidence. You take the chaos to your favor and adjust yourself to the moment. And it’s very important to pay attention all the time,” Mona said.

Photo: Sofia Perpetua

 These were the lessons for each team (meet all the teams here)

Culturadoria (Brazil): It was a very good learning day. We took on board the importance of delegating when you are starting to distribute your equipment in different places. It is essential to clarify the rules of the game. As a team we are going to delegate, organize ourselves, create rules and follow those rules.

El Búho (Peru): The most important thing to lead a team is to authentically believe what we are doing and enjoy it, which in the end is what we want to convey.

Malquerida (Peru): It helped us to be less strict and hard with ourselves and with the decisions we made. It will not be so terrible if we fail or try something different. We have to enjoy the right to make mistakes and learn quickly from them. We will start each week to talk about what our big mistakes were and work on that.

Ajuri Agency (Brazil): We saw the importance of learning to talk, listen and speak with respect. We have trust between us and no judgment.

1 Minute and Meio (Brazil): We learned how we can build trust and co-leadership and above all, always be open with the attitude of “yes and”!

ADA (Brazil): Create trust with a team that supports each other. It is not necessary to be the best friend, but to keep in mind how to advance.

Specials Editorials (Ecuador): The error and the problems are part of building a team. What matters is not to panic, but to be flexible and to go beyond the limits that we have in our minds.

Politizapp (Brazil): We learn totally different things! It was the feeling of being more practical, objective and doing things without fear of failure. Let the creativity flow and the idea flow if the idea is to choose what you need to use.

Improvisation has one very important main goal, which Chicas Poderosas embraces and uses everyday: “Always make your colleague look good.” On the week of women leadership at the New Ventures Lab – the Chicas Poderosas first accelerator – we have Collective Capital, directly from the Bay Area to take us on a day immersed in improvisation.

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