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:
- Clear sense of meaningful purpose. We all work harder when we believe in the cause, and we know why and what we’re doing.
- A way to measure progress. We need to know if we are getting closer or further away from our goals.
- Feedback on our performance. Are we hitting, or missing, the mark? What is working well from a team interaction point of view?
- Sense of control. Do we have control over the process? This means we can dive in and really lean into the challenge.
- Good listening. We need to be able to hear and understand each other’s point of view so we can resolve differences effectively.
- Complete concentration. Flow requires dedicated environments with few distractions so we can really wrestle with solutions to challenges.
- 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.
- 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?