Flow for Increased Performance
Why is Flow important? When we are in this state of Flow, we perform at our peak. Not only do our productivity levels soar, but we experience a deep sense of satisfaction. Work becomes a source of enjoyment.
“Flow” is being in the zone, getting the groove, being on fire, or just being in a totally optimal state for peak performance. It is that magical moment when everything seems to come together – you become fully immersed in the activity, fears and insecurities melt away, action become spontaneous, and you feel fully alive and in the present moment.
Flow is the mental state of being when a person in fully immersed in an activity with a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and a sense of success in the process of that activity. Flow is an intrinsically rewarding experience and it can also help one achieve a goal or improve skills. Anyone can experience Flow in many different situations, such as play, creativity and work. Flow tends to occur when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable. Optimal experiences usually involve a fine balance between one’s ability to act, and the available opportunities for action.
In recent years, various management development schools have been discovering and rediscovering the theses of Prof. Csikszentmihalyi. The reason for this is the fact that organizations capable of fostering and sustaining long-term Flow for their employees, can count on increased performance standards.
When goals are clear, feedback relevant, and challenges and skills are in balance, attention becomes ordered and fully invested. Because of the total demand on psychic energy, a person in Flow is completely focused. There is no space for distracting thoughts, irrelevant feelings. Self-consciousness disappears, yet one feels stronger than usual. The sense of time is distorted – hours seem to pass by in minutes. When a person’s entire being is stretched during the full functioning of body and mind, whatever one does becomes worth doing for its own sake. Living becomes its own justification. In the harmonious focusing of physical and psychic energy, life finally comes into its own.
According to successful executives, Flow can be definitely achieved in the work environment. Some believe Flow is even a necessity, because if one doesn’t enjoy one’s job, one can’t be very good at it.
Flow was initially designed to promote the enrichment and happiness of individuals. In recent years the concept has been extended to organizational performance improvement and leadership development. The extension of Flow is being facilitated by new research and teaching tools developed by ALEAS, the creator of “FLIGBY”.