Flow is the peak performance state where you feel your best and you perform your best. Flow describes these moments of total absorption, when we become so focused on the task at hand that everything else falls away. Action and awareness merge. Time flies. Self vanishes. All aspects of performance - mental and physical -go through the roof.
“Flow” is a term coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990). It stems from decades of research on the positive aspects of human experience - joy, creativity, the process of total involvement with life. Csikszentmihalyi observed that the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen.
Over a hundred a fifty years of research show that flow sits at the heart of almost every athletic championship, underpins major scientific breakthroughs, and accounts for significant progress in the arts. “In recent business studies,” says John Hagel III, co chairman of the Deloitte center for the Edge, “top executives report being five times more productive in flow.” This is a staggering statistic. Five times more productive is a 500 percent increase. As Virgin CEO Richard Branson says, “In two hours (in flow) , I can accomplish tremendous things...it’s like there’s no challenge I can’t meet. Hagel explains further: “in all our studies of extreme performance improvement, the people and organizations who covered the most distance in the shortest time were always the ones who were tapping into passion and finding flow.”
One of the lessons to emerge from this work is that flow states have triggers--that is, preconditions that lead to more flow. There are seventeen flow triggers in total- three environmental, three psychological, ten social, and one creative. We go into greater detail about these triggers in our APN AI Opportunity Diagnostic, but the first thing to know is that flow follows focus. It is a state of total absorption. Thus all seventeen triggers are ways of heightening and tightening focus, of driving attention into the now and thus driving flow.
By creating an environment packed with flow triggers, a Fossa ExO creates a high-flow environment. A very powerful and productive environment. It has been shown that if you can increase flow by 20% in your employee ecosystem, productivity doubles.