“This Is Not A Solo Act”

Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World

I have to admit, I wasn’t too much of a fan of Cirque du Soleil until I read The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All, created by Lyn Heward and written by John U. Bacon. The book, short and readable as is, was amazing in its ability to shape whole new paradigms about how we work and live.

One of the more interesting insights was that many of the performers came from athletic/sports careers such as gymnastics. Their world for many years was about competition, about being the best. The challenge is to change that and create an artistic, but collaborative experience where they all come together.

One example of this was a team of artists practicing a bungee ballet. To the narrator in the story, just seeing them fall to within ten feet of the floor then rocket back upward toward the ceiling would create a “wow”.  But the coach was much less impressed.

“Alex, this is not a solo act!” he yelled out to one of them. “We only have one month left-this will not do! You must pay attention to your partners. You must sense the rhythm, you must feel it and respond to it! Only then can you express yourself to the audience…Now let’s try again.”

That’s coaching we all deserve to have. We should all be more aware, more in sync, more in response to those we work with daily. Imagine how our customers would respond if we did!