The word FLOW has various meanings and for our context it will need to be defined. Flow is a state when:
“A person is so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. Ego falls away, time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows from the previous one like playing jazz. The whole being is involved and skills are used to the outmost”
To simplify: “FLOW is a state where a challenge or big challenge in combination with the right skills used to the outmost creates an amazing journey and outcome“
In fact after numerous studies from many scholars with the most well known Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi it has been concluded that all top athletes when they achieved great performances were most likely in state of FLOW (e.g Olympic games, Top Basket Ball games, Top Tennis leagues, …. ). For every gold metal or Olympic/world championship there is most likely a Flow state behind the Victory.
Beyond the normal Sports, there is the special group of Action and Adventure sports like high waves surfing or steep mountain climbing where people risk their lives and especially the last 20 years have created exponential growth in their performance. For normal athletes finding Flow might be the goal but for the Action and Adventure sports athletes becomes a necessity for survival. There is a great book for people interested in this subject. “The Rise of Superman” from Steven Kotler.
But what about work environment? What are the applications of Flow in the work environment? The most of us if not all have felt moments or periods of our working lives that we have experienced similar states like Flow where we enjoyed what we did, the time was going faster than normal and we produced very good results.
Other times we have not enjoyed what we did, time passed slowly and we felt stressed or unfulfilled. So what makes the difference?
Can you imagine if we could create Flow in the work place? The productivity, innovation and satisfaction level could skyrocket. Can this be done?
Let’s first analyse what we need: If a person has a challenge, has the right skills and likes the challenge even if the challenge is big there will be satisfaction and more positive result. In other words when you know what you are good at and what you love to do you can reorganize your time and activities to focus on what you love most and do best. You can know what to say No as well. When you do this, your fulﬁllment and effectiveness goes up, and your stress and struggle goes down. Of Course many people will say but I cannot determine what I need to do at work and this is a valid argument why people do not reach flow. How can we change that?
In fact the answer is simple : if the principle of Flow is applied to a number of Individuals working together as a TEAM then we can reallocate the various activities to the right person and by supporting each other we can bring the whole Team in Flow. To do that we only need to know the individual profiles (strengths, challenges and best roles in a team context) of all the Team members.
Having a high performing team is the key to scaling your business. Building the right team, with the right people in the right place begins by knowing yourself and then to know your team.
In fact achieving Flow on individual level it does not need to be 100% for all activities. Even if we achieve Flow 60 – 80 % of the time the productivity will skyrocket. Of course increasing the Flow is decreasing the stress and this generates not only great business results but also more healthy/satisfied individuals and a better society at large. With 70% of people not liking their jobs the issue needs fast resolution and it is of paramount importance for the humanity at large.
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If you want to Know more about individual Flow and TEAM Flow or you want to find out more for your Team or Company check
Mike Mastroyiannis is Business, Management & Executive Coach and Management Consultant for among others Transformational Leadership, Business Transformations and Exponentially Disruptive Innovation. He has served as CEO of business units in Multinationals, founded or lead start-ups and serves in advisory boards.