How will you know if your business is in Flow?
A business in Flow is one where everybody in the business, from the CEO to the rawest newbie, is fully immersed in their role, with a feeling of energized focus. They feel full involvement and enjoyment as they work on business activities that they care passionately about. And everyone involved has a deep level of understanding about the purpose of their business; they know exactly how their business serves the needs of their customers and clients and at the same time, how it makes a positive contribution to society.
Here are the 5 elements that must be present for a business to be in Flow:
The business understands it is in service to the community. And it works to satisfy the needs and the greater good of everyone. Everyone working in the business gets out of bed knowing that they are making a positive difference to the lives of everyday people. This goes beyond creating an innovative brand, and putting a mission statement on the wall, it’s a willingness, for example, to raise quality standards in an industry sector, higher than anyone has done before, driven by a desire to give everyone in the world a better, long term future. These are the places we love to spend our money in, because we know helping ourselves is helping others too.
The business cares passionately about what it is doing. Most importantly, everyone that works in the business feels supported (by management and co-workers alike), to work in a way that reflects their unique abilities and personal passions. It’s profitable too; customers notice and spend more when they connect with businesses full of people whose roles reflect their strengths and who love their work.
These next 2 elements need to be considered together:
Everyone in the business is appropriately challenged by the role they have to fulfil.
An appropriate challenge is a level that stretches each person, just enough out of their comfort zone, so that they’re never bored, but not so much that they ever give up. Also, it is vital that the challenge and skill levels are constantly being raised, in order to avoid stagnation.
When these two elements complement each other in this way, it creates a culture of ‘how to’ throughout the business, rather than ‘can we?’.
We all need a framework of rules within which to operate, however, a business in ‘Flow’ goes further and empowers its people to set their own rules. These rules might be embodied in targets, goals or ways of behaving in the business. The point is that every person has engaged with the process so that all goals, targets or rules, carry the authority of a shared decision.
What are the results of a business being in Flow?
Put simply, they are great places to work; seriously fun places to work. Nothing less than full committment and everyone having fun along the way.
Imagine a place with no need to motivate the staff, everyone knows why they are there and they love it.
Everybody takes responsibility to deliver nothing less than their best and feels fully empowered to give it. Which means everyone is now working together to protect the reputation of the business and the quality of the output.
Management and owners’ time and energy is freed up (for example, from troubleshooting issues of motivation and quality control) to spend more time providing effective, creative leadership. More energy can be committed to dreaming, thinking big and harnessing what is learnt into practical value for the business.
This is a place where you care passionately about your work, you feel excited by fresh challenges and happy and empowered to meet those challenges. The culture of the organisation, from the top down, is to support everyone to be the best that they can be.
Is it time you got your business in Flow?