Working in the "Flow" - The ONLY Way to Go!

“Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.”

- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

If you have ever participated in sports, you most likely have experienced being in the “flow” or the “zone.” It was the best game, match, set or round of your life! Everything went perfectly and your Teamers can have this same experience at work if you help to empower them.

If you never had the chance to work on a project and get into the “flow” I have sincere sympathetic feelings for you. If you’ve ever worked in the “flow” you know that you have experienced the best possible working experience.

You must adopt this core value to always provide your Teamers with the best possible project definition and processes to enable them to have every opportunity to work in the flow. I suggest that you use a formal, written and approved Project Work Plan that includes at least these topics and definitions:

  • Target User or Audience for the Project – Who is the user or customer? Identify the specific audience this project will help in as much detail as possible.
  • Current Situation – What is the current situation or problem that you want this project to solve or address for the user? What are the problems that the user is having, or may have had that this project must solve or address?
  • Project Objectives - What will the project do to solve the user’s problems?
  • What are the Main Benefits Offered by the Project? – These benefits tell not just what a project does, but what it does for those who use it. List the user benefits the project must provide for each user.
  • What are the Alternatives to the Project – What are the major alternatives to NOT doing this project?
  • What is the Budget for the Project – It’s is important to know how much money you have to work with. Up-front budgets give everyone an idea of whether they’re looking for a Mercedes or a Ford – both can get you where we want to go, but each project carries a different price tag.
  • What is the Call to Action – What’s the next step for your Teamers and Senior(s) for this project?
  • Timetable – The plan for the project. The steps and time estimates for each step to complete the project.

In addition to a Project Work Plan you must also make sure that you provide at least the following information and processes to your Teamers for all of the projects that you assign them.

  • Clear directions and goals on what to do
  • Real responsibility and authority to do the project
  • A “panic button” to push if you or they get into trouble and immediate feedback on their efforts
  • They are empowered to use their creativity and judgment
  • The schedule for the project is aggressive but doable
  • Balance between the challenges of the project and the Teamer’s skills
  • Your Teamers should have no worry of failure

In other words, you must strive to provide everything needed to get your Teamers to work in the flow on their projects every day. Working in the flow creates a Teamer that loves what they are doing, actually often loses track of time while working on a project and typically wants to do more. If you can empower your Teamers to want to do the work because they want to, you can accomplish unlimited potential with your Teamers.

Again, I strongly suggest that you read the book Creativity written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that describes the flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. It is an amazing read and provides many more insights and ideas on how to provide the environment and tools for your Teamers to achieve the flow and the associated creativity.

“Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’ And then do it.”

- Duane Michals