Why Focus on Flow?
People in flow are more productive. One of the key distinctions to being in flow is that you are performing roles that you are good at, that come naturally to you, and that you enjoy and get energy from – in an environment in which you feel valued and a strong sense of belonging. Productivity has been shown to increase significantly when you are operating from flow. Being in this state increases your focus, allows you to be engaged at maximum productivity levels for significantly longer periods, increases creativity and solution finding, keeps you focused on the tasks where you have the greatest value to offer, and boosts compasion and a growth orientated outlook for yourself and others.
One aspect of Flow that makes it so easy to grasp and understand is that at one time or another you are likely to have experienced what it feels like. Flow is not just some abstract idea – it is an experience, a feeling that you will have had and can remember. It may be something you experience on a regular basis. And you will know that in those times when you are in flow, your brain operates at high levels of both efficiency and creativity. When in Flow people are significantly more likely to have new and innovative ideas – and bring those to the table for your business.
Health and Well being
Flow is a positive emotional state. In flow you feel confident, happy, motivated and inspired. These positive emotional and mental states have direct impacts on wellness and health. They reduce stress, increase immune functioning and support overall physical health. One of the aspects of flow is that it increases energy, enabling better exercise and healthier sleep. Flow therefore has a upward cyclical impact on health and well being – the more you are in flow, the greater your internal resources for health and well being. The more you experience health and well being, the more time you spend in flow and positive emotional states. And there are strong proven links between positive emotional states, well being and productivity in the workplace.
As an Executive Team Coach, focusing on getting individuals and teams into Flow has become my first priority with all my clients. Over the last decade the coaching industry has grown rapidly in the Global corporate market, and rightly so. It has shown to have the most direct return on investment for organisational development and consulting spend. However, one of the challenges businesses face is to make the impacts of coaching or training sustainable. Often initiatives for increasing team cohesion, alignment and productivity have short term results that then fall back to the previous ‘norm’ after a short period of time. I have found that focusing on Flow reverses this trend, with results often increasing over time. This is because Flow often operates in a positive reinforcement cycle – the more you are in flow and understand the principles of flow, the easier it becomes to create more flow and support others into flow.
Catalyzing Team Performance
At the heart of Flow is the idea that you cannot get yourself into Flow. To be in flow requires that you focus on the roles where you add the most value, and pass that value on to someone else who can use it to do what they do best and where they add the most value, and operate in an environment and organisational culture that acknowledge and value connection and belonging. Flow is therefore the passing of value between people. The principle within a team is “I need you so that I can get into Flow, and you need me so that you can get into Flow.” When teams really grasp this idea, and are clear about how each member can support the others into Flow – and avoid blocking flow for each other – then the overall productivity of the team increases beyond just the combined value of their individual productivity gain. An organisation in flow becomes a high performance organisation.
Staff Attraction and Retention
Companies like Google, Mindvalley and Zappos are able to attract the top candidates for posts, even at lower remuneration packages, because they offer employees an organisational culture that is all about Flow. In a globalized environment, top staff candidates are significantly influenced by an organisations ability to create cultures of belonging, success and Flow.