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June 30, 2020

The Power of Flow State For Teams

Flow state is my secret sauce. 

It’s how I get into a creative place that allows me to create and boost my productivity. Flow state is integral to everything that I do that I even named my marketing company, Flow. 

I’ve done a whole series on Flow State at Work and created a Flow State Canvas, but to recap: flow is the holy grail of business—it’s the ability to get top performance from employees through their efforts, above what’s required. 

I’m blessed to work with a wonderful leadership team that uses flow state daily. If you ever work with one of my teams, you’ll see how this practice translates into a massive amount of high-quality work and expedient results.

I’m obsessive about reading primary and secondary research about flow and translating it into business performance. However, I’ve noticed that there isn’t much research on flow state for teams, even though I’ve found getting my team into a collective zone has helped double our business in only a month. 

The translation of all the flow theory I’ve studied, applying it to my businesses, and watching the results is what I’m sharing with you in a series of articles I’m creating on Flow State for Teams. 

By starting with the benefits and power of team flow, I hope you’ll walk away inspired to learn more and implement flow within your own business. 

Why is Flow Important? 

Flow state is the number one way to increase the creativity and productivity of yourself and your team. According to the data, flow state can boost: 

  • Motivation and productivity by 400-700%
  • Learning and memory by 230%
  • Creativity and innovation by 430%
  • Meaning and purpose 100%
  • Collaboration and cooperation (TBD)
  • Increased empathy and ecological awareness (TBD) 

A 500% increase in productivity means you can get more done in one day than one week. Ultimately, flow state allows you to get the most out of you and your team. 

Recap: How Does an Individual Get Into Flow State?

I’ve created an entire series on how we can squeeze every ounce of productivity out of ourselves personally. 

Though I’m not going to go into a deep dive into individual flow in this article, it’s important to note that individuals affect a team. When you’re in team flow, it means that every individual is operating in flow together. 

Thus, I believe it’s important to recap and understand how an individual gets into flow state: 

  1. Set clear and immediate goals at every stage
  2. Receive clear and immediate feedback
  3. Set challenges that require a high level of skill and aren’t boring
  4. Have control over the situation and have no fear of failure
  5. Create intense and focused concentration
  6. Ensure the work itself is intrinsically rewarding  

When you hit all these requirements, you’ll trigger flow state. You’ll know it because you’ll feel: 

  • A merging of action and awareness
  • Ego-loss and a sense of unity with the activity
  • A distorted sense of the passage of time

If you want more details on how to get into flow state, I broke it down in-depth in my article series. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read the following articles, then download, and fill out your flow state canvas: 

 

 

What is a Team vs. a Group?

Now, before you try to apply flow state to your team, it’s important to define what a team is in the first place. Without the common definition, it’s easy to try to apply flow to a group of people and see no results because they’re not technically a team. 

To make sure we’re clear, a team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. A real team is dependent on one another while holding each other accountable so they can accomplish their goals. 

Team members are not groups because they are utterly dependent upon one another’s contributions, whereas a group can consist of mostly independent operators engaged in parallel processing. 

For this reason, groups cannot get into a collective flow state, while teams can. 

Why is Team Flow Important? 

For all the same reasons as the individual flow is important—you’re improving your productivity, performance, and capabilities while also:

Providing Individual Team Members With a Meaningful and Satisfying Experience 

Team flow can make your team feel the satisfaction and passion of the work at hand. Rather than intellectually knowing what they’re doing is making an impact, they can tangibly know their work is fulfilling and gratifying. 

Fostering a Desire to Reconvene as a Team

Flow can make your team say, “I can’t wait to work on another project with my co-workers.” If your team works together daily, flow makes it so that your team looks forward to working together the next day with happiness, satisfaction, and meaning. 

Creating a Mastery Experience That Extends The Team’s Capabilities and Performance

Flow lets your team feel masterful at the work they do because they are able to hone skills at a high level of application. It fosters tons of self-efficacy that makes your team feel incredible about themselves and each other. Which eventually drives more performance and results for your business. How dope is that? 

Get Your Team Into Flow State

No doubt about it, getting your team into a flow state makes productivity contagious in your business. 

When your team experiences flow together, they can create results that are greater than their individual contributions. 

If you’re curious about how to trigger a collective flow state in your team, I’m dedicating an entire article to the topic. Next week I’ll lay out the exact environment you need to create to foster team flow. 

For now, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the individual or team flow. I’m curious to hear your thoughts and opinions as well. 

Has your team ever worked in flow? What did you notice? What were the results? 

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