How to Use the ‘Flow Theory of Motivation’ to Turbo-Charge Your Workforce
‘Flow’ is a term used to describe that intense state of mind where productivity is at its absolute peak. It’s the state of mind where you forget about everything around you, and concentrate completely on whatever it is you’re doing, until the job is done.
You have probably experienced ‘flow’ yourself – maybe you call it something different, like being ‘in the zone’, or even ‘on fire’. But however you describe it, it is a very real state of mind that can produce some incredible results.
So how do we help our people to achieve ‘flow’ more often at work? There are a lot of different trains of thought on the matter, but it seems that many of the experts agree on three ‘basics’ that your organisation can do to promote and support ‘flow’ at work.
The Three Basics of Flow
1. Set Big Goals. Have you ever feverishly lost track of time doing something really huge, without actually knowing what you’re trying to do? Probably not. Without goals, ‘flow’ becomes a very difficult state of mind to achieve. So the first thing you need to do, is remember to set clearly-defined end results that your people can work towards.
2. Give Real-Time Feedback. Some people know when they’re making good progress, but some people don’t. One of your workers could be really getting into ‘the zone’… but in an instant, that can disappear if they’re not certain they’re doing it right. ‘Flow’ relies a lot on confidence, so it’s important to give people real-time feedback on their progress – sometimes, just knowing you’re on the right track is enough to make you pull out the rest of the stops.
3. Make It Challenging. It is really hard to get stuck into something that doesn’t engage our brains. Just because we have goals, and we know we’re on our way to hitting them, doesn’t mean we’re going to automatically slip into that optimum state of mind – our brains need something that really gets their electrons buzzing; they need to feel challenged. Don’t overdo this part, though – the key here is to make things challenging, not impossible!
How do YOU Achieve ‘Flow’ at Work?
Cast your mind back to the last time you were ‘in the zone’. Can you remember what it was you were doing, and what made you get that way? If so, share your experience in the comments section below.
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