Give us this day our daily Flow!

willian_bullAn article by Willian Bull, partner at Instituto Pieron, Sao Paulo


The need to recognize and reward the contribution of professionals, mainly when their “retention” has become imperative, has made many leaders to emphasize the motivation as one of the main elements to engage and retain.

If it is a positive attitude, you must also recognize that motivation is something individual and internal, related to human needs and that makes people seek a certain goal (reason). But, it is not something simple and that will always be achieved by applying a model of “external” rewards.

There is a lot of confusion between what is really motivating and what is a factor of satisfaction. Leaving aside the important academic issues involved, we can state that HR leaders and executives are more focused on satisfaction factors, because somehow they are the ones who help “drive” behavior to certain goals. So, attention is much more on what can be done to prevent people from getting demotivated.

Companies have been making efforts to achieve increasing levels of motivation and commitment of their professionals, by reviewing their recognition and reward systems, even rethinking their talent management system as a whole.

In the business world, it is easier to identify what generates dissatisfaction and may jeopardize the expected results, than eliminating all problems. Under the category of potential problems, work environment or climate and the relationship with the leadership are included, mainly the immediate, as it should determine priorities, goals and its connection with the business strategy, give advice on performance, provide resources and guide the development of its professionals.

To ensure minimal job satisfaction, it is imperative that every professional:

  • Knows what is expected from him/her and how this fits into the general context of the company.
  • Has capacity and other resources to perform his/her job.
  • Knows about his/her performance.

These three actions are essential in the list of attributes of a leader. And they should not be delegated to his/her direct subordinates

We believe that people do their best and are more productive when they are in a state called Flow, that is, when they get a dynamic condition where their capacity is fully used, where their potential really turns into results. This is motivating because it represents a “spontaneous movement” of the person that drives his/her energy to carry out a professional project connected to his/her “needs”. In order to make it happen, leaders must also focus his/her attention on the identification of the potential capacity of their professionals and where they should be allocated. When this happens across in a general way, the company (or an area) is also in Flow and this promotes a better use of human assets and resources in general. The result will be fulfilled professionals, lower turnover and shareholders happy with their return. That is, people and organizations beyond expectations.


The editorial board of “” would like to thank Instituto Pieron’s contribution to our blogsite. Comments and other contributions are welcome!