Ever worked with a high performing team where things just ripped along? There was high energy, constructive disagreements, proactive solution finding? It’s not just the accidental gathering of the right personalities; there’s a process. This team nirvana is possible, if we cultivate the right conditions for the team.

Here are the important components:

  1. Clear sense of meaningful purpose. We all work harder when we believe in the cause, and we know why and what we’re doing.
  2. A way to measure progress. We need to know if we are getting closer or further away from our goals.
  3. Feedback on our performance. Are we hitting, or missing, the mark? What is working well from a team interaction point of view?
  4. Sense of control. Do we have control over the process? This means we can dive in and really lean into the challenge.
  5. Good listening. We need to be able to hear and understand each other’s point of view so we can resolve differences effectively.
  6. Complete concentration. Flow requires dedicated environments with few distractions so we can really wrestle with solutions to challenges.
  7. A bit of risk. Excitement is a nudge past anxiety. We need a little uncertainty, a little risk of failure, to encourage us to step up and push our performance. This is the challenge/skill ratio that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote about in his seminal work, Flow. We want the Goldilocks balance between a bit of challenge that meets or extends our skills.
  8. FUN. Work can be exhilarating, if we set it up right. Good natured banter, a sense of collegiality, anticipation of achievement, and a well earned celebration is the energising aspect of being part of a team.

Which element could you work on now to encourage your team into a group flow state of productivity?


Related Articles:

How to Develop a Better Team with the Culture Compass

How to be Brilliant with the Neuroscience of the Flow Cycle

How to be a Better People Manager: One Fundamental



  • Zoë Routh

    Australia's Leadership Expert, Author of Book of the Year "People Stuff" l Speaker l Mentor l Strategist

    Zoë Routh is one of Australia’s leading experts on people stuff - the stuff that gets in our way of producing results, and the stuff that lights us up. She works with the growers, makers, builders to make people stuff fun and practical.

    Zoë is the author of four books: Composure - How centered leaders make the biggest impact,  Moments - Leadership when it matters most, Loyalty - Stop unwanted staff turnover, boost engagement, and build lifelong advocates, and People Stuff - Beyond Personalities: An advanced handbook for leadership. People Stuff was awarded Book of the Year 2020 by the Smart WFM Australian Business Book Awards.

    Zoë is also the producer of The Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast.