No Go the Flow

The concept of “flow” has come up a number of times in recent conversations. “Flow” is one of those things which is hard to describe but easy to recognise, those moments when we are so completely aligned with what we are doing that everything just seems to fall into place. It can be chopping wood, dealing with customers, cutting code or writing text; it can last but a few moments or it can last hours. We come out of it elated and having been vastly more productive than normal. “Flow” leaves us inspired and hungry for more such moments of clarity and productiveness.

So why do organizations make “flow” so hard to achieve? Our offices seem deliberately designed to ensure that “flow” is minimised and interruptions are maximised. Similarly we build vast processes which disrupt flow and seek to reduce the human to some Taylorite automaton, incapable of creativity and “flow”.

Given that we are never more productive, never happier, never more creative than when in “flow”, why do we seem to actively seek to ensure that we banish the possibility of “flow” from our organizations? Is “flow” such a great threat?

If not, if we are supposed to be encouraging productivity, happiness and creativity then why are we not seeking to maximise “flow”?