Eight reasons to aim for flow in your business

Fundamental to every business success, is the effectiveness with which they can deliver their products and services to their clients.

However, almost inevitable to any process that addresses any problem “bottlenecks”, (people, practices or attitudes, that limit the throughput of associated resources) are bound to occur that will block the flow of activity and slow down your execution.

Hungarian Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi often named the father of “flow” coined the term to describe a state of feeling happy and of being productive.

His research pinpointed the following eight benefits, when happiness, or flow, occurs:

  1. complete concentration on the task
  2. clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
  3. transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
  4. job satisfaction becomes intrinsically rewarding, has an end itself
  5. effortlessness and ease
  6. there is a balance between challenge and skills
  7. actions and awareness are merged
  8. there is a feeling of control over the task.

In high-performance teams of business owners and managers, it is essentially the job of these front line staff to be aware or on the alert for any bottlenecks, for which they will then ultimately make wise decisions, problem-solve or open up the flow at that point.

A recommended daily 15-minute, stand-up meeting practice or team huddle with the whole team, is a great way for identifying any bottlenecks that may present on a daily basis. In this manner, transparency of any potential problem is brought about, everyone is alerted and allowed to deal with it collaboratively and efficiently.

Furthermore, the daily habit of being one step ahead, identifying potential bottlenecks before they arise, and then mentally practicing problem solving, means you will be prepared to respond quickly and able to create strategies, when required.

Take for example, the regular practice of a fire drill – knowing what to do and how to act, allows us to respond productively if – hopefully not! – a fire does eventuate.

To illustrate this further, let’s consider the the recent mass shooting event in Las Vegas, where one emergency doctor was faced with dealing with 250 gunshot wounded people pouring into the emergency wards, and there being only three doctors and limited night staff, on duty.

Because he had been prepared about the possibility of such an event and had worked out a strategy as well as mentally practicing it for months, when faced with the situation, he was quick to act with a sensible, rational strategy that involved mobilizing the staff on duty, alerting all off-duty staff to come in and then assumed command, empowering his staff to deal with their area of responsibility.  Click here for a riveting, fast-paced read of this incredible event. Clever crisis management in action.

Part of your responsibility as a business owner or leader is to prepare for the unexpected.  Having to deal with sudden rush hours, times of unexpected high turnover, or emergency situations is very common in SME. It is ultimately your responsibility to design, systemise, document and drill your staff regularly.

Making sure flow is maintained in your business operations is largely dependent on how you create the possibility for growth and profitability.

What can you do this week, to get you and your team prepared for the unexpected?

What would your life be like if your business operations experienced flow?  How much time would this free up for you…and how much stress would you get to live without?

As an experienced business coach, I cannot stress enough the importance of implementing a regular work habit of daily team huddles or stand-up meetings. You will witness increased communication and teamwork between the staff and your business will undoubtedly begin to flow.

Mike Kennedy, Business Coach, Paradigm Switch

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