Dr. Zoltan Buzady,
Associate Professor of Management,
Director of the ‘Leadership & Flow Global Research Network’,
Central European University
Special Report in BBJournal May 2017 on HRM
As the Hungarian and the other CEE countries are experiencing continued growth, maintaining our achieved positions on global competitiveness rankings and to further improve our productivity remain a challenge. Working and teaching Advanced Leadership at CEU to many leading managers in Hungary and CEE, I have observed that over the past few years new strategic challenges have emerged, most notably, how to maintain the existing talent pool, keep them motivated in the future, and to enhance the level of creativity of individuals, teams and of the entire organization — while keeping the costs base competitively low relative to most West European economies.
I am proposing as a solution to this challenge the increasingly popular concept of ‘Flow-promoting Leadership (FPL). It is based on the fundamental research work of world-famous Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, founder of positive psychology, who explored first with top performers and hyper-creatives a state of mind in which creativity and productivity are often at maximum levels, where one’s sense of time gets distorted, when one totally focuses on the activity at hand. This ‘optimal experience’, now popularly referred to as “being in the Zone” or “in Flow”, enhances the meaningfulness of life, as reported by thousands of people of all ages, professions, and nations.
In fact, most of my management students, — as probably you, the reader, also — have been enjoying the Flow-state, occasionally or frequently and, were wondering at the same time how you could convey this experience to your team members and other colleagues. Together with Csikszentmihalyi, we have developed a leadership simulation, a serious game, with whose help we can facilitate the process of learning ‘Flow-promoting Leadership’. You assume the role of the new manager of a family-owned winery in California, where morale is low, productivity stagnates and your management team only remembers only as a distant memory of ever having been in Flow. Your role is to take 150+ decisions in the video game story – taking place during the virtual 8 months of a season (March – November) so as to navigate your colleagues into Flow–state — the most important but not the only objective you will have to pursue.
‘That is all?’, You might ask. In Good Business, another of his global best-selling book, Csikszentmihalyi has identified 29 key management skills which all leaders should have. With new technological innovation, it has now become possible to measure these skills levels while playing this serious game (FLIGBY), experience game and learning Flow and thus demonstrating the best of his/her management capacities. Out of all these 29 skills, the most important for Flow-promoting Leadership Skills are (1) Strategic Goal Setting, (2) Feedback, (3) Applying Personal Strengths and (4) Balancing Skill.
Now that the 29 skills of the player have been measured by this objective (“non-intrusive”) and new method Big Data solutions, HR Analytics and Predictive HRM kicks-in in support of maintaining company competitiveness: the HR manager can compare the actual status of the company’s talent pool across various units. Those who play the Game in full also receive aggregated global benchmark data on the relevant leadership skills by industrial sectors, the level of experience, and so on.
Not only Hungarian and other CEE regional, but in fact any company manager can make use the Game fun and to benefit from the analytical wonders of skill insights gained from this #1-global-award-winning serious game. While learning about Flow-promoting Leadership on a development training, we can audit the skills base of the company management, that is, of those who have played the Game. The 29 skills are the foundation and at the core of future competitiveness of any company or corporation.