Now after having investigated what can trigger flow in individuals (link to blog post 3), let’s take a look at how organizations can create environments in which a collective of thousands of people can achieve states of flow, together. Organizational high performance flow derives from the synergy when many purpose-driven and in-flow talents come together to co-create for a bigger impact.
The ultimate possibility and responsibility for the flow state to happen, lies within the individuals. Still, there are critical organizational design elements which either facilitate or inhibit the collective flow. We have found the following six organizational design elements most significant for the people to become more creative, get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and energy. Along with the flow enablers comes a set of “flow killers” to avoid.
For a CEO, CHRO or any change catalyst trying to up the game of your organization, before investing into “flow enablers” make sure that there are no “flow killers” at play because these will counteract all efforts profoundly.
On smaller screens table is scrollable
|Organizational mission is limited to:
TIP: Involve all employees into the development of the corporate purpose and integrate
TIP: Implement a truly human-centered self-leadership based business model where
TIP: Complete an assessment here (add link to future-fit org survey) to find out how
TIP: Depending on your organizational purpose and strategy, design your own
|Processes & Rules
TIP: Consider using different decision making processes based on the impact and
TIP: Consider easy and fun to use communication technology to synergize and share data
Does Investing Into Flow State Environment in Organizations Pay Off?
For leaders who currently work for traditional hierarchical corporates, these design elements can seem like an utopia, not to mention the huge change effort. At the same time, there are thousands of purpose-driven, human-centered and self-management based companies globally who have already gone through this transformation. Most successful start-ups as they grow have decided for agile self-management organizational models. Research shows that such companies significantly outperform traditional corporates, especially at a time of crisis. Here are some facts:
- Only 11% of the hierarchical companies that made up the Fortune 500 in 1955 are still on the list today, Gary Hamel, Michel Zanini, Humanocracy, 2020
- Removing the bureaucratic deadweight in the OECD economy and instead have management levels re-focus on the productive and innovative activities, would increase the GDP output by 10 USD trillion, Gary Hamel, Michel Zanini, Humanocracy, 2020
- Purpose-driven companies generate 17 % higher financial results. IMD-CSM study “Corporate Purpose Impact”, 2010
- Purposeful, value-driven companies outperform their counterparts in stock price bya factor of 12. John Kotter and James Heskett, Harvard Business School, Corporate Culture and Performance, 2011
- Conscious Capitalism oriented companies such as Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Barry-Wehmiller, Patagonia, IKEA analysed from 1996 to 2011 outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 10.5. Raj Sisodia, Firms of Endearment, 2014
- Companies with high levels of self-leadership grow 4 times faster. Cornell University, Jed DeVaro, 2006
- As an example, Buurtzorg, a Dutch self-managed health services provider outperforms its competitors by 30% higher client satisfaction, 50% less employee turnover and 67% less central overhead costs. If Buurtzorg was to provide all home care in the Netherlands, the Dutch economy would save EUR2 billion a year. Stefan Crirkovic, Center for Public Impact Case Study, 2018
- Frontify, among other globally successful technology start-ups applies a truly human-centerd, high autonomy, high responsibility working culture – has risen investments of >20mln USD and has employed 200+ global talents, while continuing to rapidly grow.
As we are moving away from the industrial age management models, it becomes essentially the task of leadership to sense and steer the flow of the organizational energy. Has your company designed the best possible talent experience and environment to enable sustainable high-performance, creativity and growth?
If yes, congratulations – chances are high that the company will thrive in the “new normal”, will be better equipped to deal with any upcoming crisis and come up with great value-adding innovations along the way!
If the answer is no or you’re not quite there yet, then the first step is done – you acknowledge it! What’s clear is that there is no blueprint that works for all, so why not co-design the future together with the cross-functional change catalysts in your company?
Whatever your path may look like, it should not start with hiring an expensive consultancy firm that conducts 200 interviews and then dumps 300 slides on you and leaves you to do the “roll-out” by yourself. If you’re interested in a more agile, yet integrated and pragmatic approach, do get in touch, and let’s run a Future of Work Design Sprint workshop (add link). Perhaps the new human-centered business model enabling sustainable high performance that you’re aiming for is closer than you think? Let’s talk!
References & Further Resources:
Buurtzorg: Revolutionising Home Care in the Netherlands, Center for Public Impact Case Study, Stefan Crirkovic, 2018
Corporate Culture and Performance, Harvard Business School, John Kotter and James Heskett, 2011
Corporate Purpose Impact 2010, IMD-CSM, Burson-Marsteller, 2010
Create a Work Environment That Fosters Flow, Harvard Business Review, Steven Kotler, 2019
Creative Thinking and the Brain, Harvard Medical School, Shelley Carson, 2010
Firms of Endearment, Raj Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, Jag Sheth, 2014
Flow Genome Project – an assessment from the Flow Genome Project to find your personal “flow profile”, developed by professional athletes, Fortune 500 business leaders and scientists
Flow, the Secret to Happiness, TED Talk by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, 2004
Humanocracy, Gary Hamel, Michel Zanini, 2020
Increasing the ‘Meaning Quotient’ of Work, McKinsey Quarterly, Susie Cranston and Scott Keller, 2014
Taking Stakeholder Capitalism from Principles to Practice, WEF 2020, Richard Samans and Jane Nelson
Teams, Autonomy, and the Financial Performance of Firms, Cornell University, Jed DeVaro, 2006
The Healing Organization, Raj Sisodia, Michael J. Gelb, 2019
Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux, 2014
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