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Essay

Let’s Dance — and Improve Business Performance

By fusing elements of dance into the workplace, leaders can increase collaboration and business success.

There is a plethora of ways for managers and employees to improve their performance in the workplace. Many people have their own secrets to success, whether it’s becoming friends with the entire office or practicing yoga after a long day. But have you ever considered using practices and principles from dance to be a helpful tool at work? According to author Valeh Nazemoff, dancer’s techniques can help anybody succeed at work.

In her forthcoming book, “The Dance of the Business Mind,” Nazemoff explains how mapping one’s business strategy, much like a choreographer would plan a routine, helps create a plan of action before taking the stage — or boardroom, as the case may be. “Choreographers have to take everything into account from the elements of stage, props and partner collaboration to audience and judge feedback,” Nazemoff said. “That same strategy planning is used in offices and is about understanding information enough to be able to eloquently translate it to workers, clients and the marketplace — your audience.”

Passion is another aspect of dance that translates into the workplace. Nazemoff’s book offers the “four I’s,” which she said help leaders bring passion and expertise to important business decisions. The four I’s stand for intention, innovation, initiation and improvement. She said making sure your business plan coincides with your goals, much like dance steps and music must accompany each other, aligns people with their company’s purpose.

For learning leaders, Nazemoff suggests promoting partnerships and confidence by way of collaboration and innovation. “In dance, if you’re hesitant to jump or spin into the next step then your partner will not be able to determine how far or fast you will go, and you might fall. You can’t be afraid to move forward into the next step — in dance or business. There has to be a balance of analytics and intuitive decision-making,” she said.

In dance, a performer must always be two steps ahead in their head of where they are physically in the moment to make sure they are in sync with the music. Conducting business is similar in that it creates collaboration between people and ideas; you can’t have one without the other.

In both dance and business, it is important to have a strong foundation. For dance, that foundation is the years of classical training that shapes each performer. In business, it’s making sure to take care of pivotal members and ideologies, while remaining balanced and preparing for the future.

“Companies know they need to make executive decisions, but they don’t do a full assessment of what they have or what they’re dealing with,” Nazemoff said. “In dance, everyone is in different stages in terms of strengths and weaknesses. There has to be mental and physical preparation for either.”

Camaron Santos is a Chief Learning Officer editorial intern. Comment below or email editor@CLomedia.com.

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