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Will you, George Patterson, love and respect this woman, Josephine Cutter? Take care of her and good as in bad times until death divides you?
My name is Ralf Wetzel. I'm a professor at Vlerick Business School in Belgium, and a professor for organisation and applied arts.
Over the last couple of years, I have been jumping more or less, into the realms of performing arts. And I discovered that there are treasures out there which are so useful and so helpful for contemporary and future business managers and leaders, to deal much better with uncertainty, with ambiguity, and with surprise.
If we consider the conditions under which decisions are supposed to be taken nowadays in boardrooms, they are not that very different from very specific art settings, like on an improv stage. You are hardly able to develop a plan because things are changing fast.
And you need to develop a source for procreation instead.
What do you want to do in a cafeteria with all your colleagues? What do you want to have there? Huh? Do you want to have a promotion?
It's a quality, and it's a skill on how I connect with someone else.
I want to have a promotion, for dinner.
The last 50 years of business school education has been extraordinarily functional. So we have been producing people who are able to follow a script and fulfil a function, following a certain goal, and a certain strategy, and a certain point in the future.
Now, in moments when this future is uncertain, unclear, this functionalism doesn't really work. So what performing arts provides is a training in something that I would call a liberal learning, where you learn discovering things without having a goal, but by listening to a partner on stage or in the boardroom, or at an assembly line, accepting your partner, being empathic with him or her.
Making him or her look good rather than criticising or judging. There was a confrontational journey for me partly, but it was a very exciting one which brought me to places I never have thought I would ever enter. If you hold the moments, and if you're in the moment in those places, most exciting things can happen.
Thank you very much, enjoyed it.