Get in the Performance Flow
Ivey Business Journal
Do you want to be five times more productive at work? Do you want your team to be? Working at five times the old performance level is now increasingly possible if you exploit a performance phenomenon known as “flow.” The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines it as being “so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” Many have experienced this feeling outside the workplace, such as while playing sports, dancing, or cooking. The challenge facing organizations is to systematically create the conditions for the flow state to be achieved. The first step is to be able to reach it individually, which requires the following conditions: 1) Be fully present. 2) Work in a rich environment, free of distractions. 3) Have a clear, meaningful goal. 4) Follow the “3 per cent rule”: the ideal challenge should be 3 per cent greater than your known capability. 5) Do your homework. 6) The consequences are high. 7) Feedback is immediate. 8) Think selflessness and release. 9) Be rested after your previous flow experience.
If you are a team leader, your job is to create the optimum work environment for your team members so they can be productive, while maintaining individual and team well-being. The following six considerations must be in place: 1) Know each team member’s capabilities and the assignment of tasks. 2) The team should have a high level of decision-making autonomy and an entrepreneurial culture. 3) The team should have unity and members should have a vested interest. 4) Communication must be at “level 4.” 5) Avoid “absencing.” 6) Each team member must be aware of and managing the team’s social field.
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