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Managers today are expected to deal with uncer-tainty, unexpected events, diversity, and change. They must demonstrate flexibility, foster trust, andengage the hearts and minds of employees. The man-agers at Second City Theater have a leg up in developingthese skills and dealing with these situations becauseSecond City has been doing it for years — on stage.In 1975, owner and executive producer Andrew Alexanderstarted the Second City television series (SCTV) inresponse to the new trend of television sketch comedy.Later, the company opened the Second City Training Cen-ter, an educational center offering classes in improvisa-tion, acting, writing, and other skills. Most recently,Second City opened a corporate communications division,which provides training in the areas of internal communi-cations, external marketing and branding, and learningdevelopment. With its focus on human skills, Second Citydemonstrates all of the qualities of a learning organiza-tion. The managers at Second City foster a climate whereexperimentation and learning are encouraged.
1. Many students of the Second City Training Center arebusinesspeople looking to gain skills for the corporatecontext. What skills from the world of improvisationalcomedy would be valuable to a business manager?
2. What do you think would be the challenges of a man-ager in a learning organization? Why?
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