It is often pointed out that man’s improved circumstances on this Earth over the centuries has been the result of the accumulated knowledge that each generation takes from the preceding ones, to which it then adds its own contributions as its legacy to the generations that follow.Understand the laws of nature and you can learn to distinguish between those things to which humans must adapt and conform and those things in nature that man can “harness” to serve his purposes.Hit your head hard enough against a large stone block and you may seriously hurt yourself. Apply a set of properly…

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Flow is a mental state where we are happy and productive. Stephen Kotler offered this definition in a recent slideshare deck:

Flow is an optimal state of consciousness, a peak state where we both feel our best and perform our best

If you can visualise your favourite athlete when they were at the top of their game, when the world seemed to be moving slowly for them and they could do no wrong then you are seeing someone in flow state. Developers often achieve flow state too, head down, headphones on, cranking out great code. Or picture a dancer, lost in the music. Or a magical conversation with your other half.

Lots of examples, and the point is that all us can experience flow. It’s important because doing so makes us happier and more productive. One way to a happier life, therefore, is to maximise flow. And one way to build a stronger culture is to optimise for flow in the workplace.

Kotler has identified 17 triggers for flow:

  • intensely focused attention
  • clear goals
  • immediate feedback
  • challenge that stretches us, but not too much
  • high consequences
  • rich environment
  • deep embodiment
  • serious consequences
  • shared goals
  • good communication
  • familiarity
  • equal participation and skill level
  • risk
  • sense of control
  • close listening
  • postive/constructive environment (yes, and…)
  • creativity

Notice that most of the items on this list are features of good company cultures and/or things we try to cultivate in our businesses. Flipping this on its head, the interesting idea for me is whether optimising flow might be a way to think about the goal for a company culture.

Most startups start thinking about their company culture when they get big enough that the founder stops having close contact with everyone in the business. The goal is to make sure the special sauce the founder has discovered doesn’t get lost as the company grows. The business reasons for doing that are usually to maintain productivity and creativity, and to help attract and retain talent.

What I like about Kotler’s 17 triggers for flow is that they provide the link between culture and productivity.

This is an emerging area I will watch with interest.



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$40 oil prices won’t make Saudi Arabia give into peer pressure to cut production.

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<p>Are these the final throes of the summer sell-off? Or is this a sign that the bears not only roam Wall Street, but rule it for now?</p>

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<p></p><p>McDonald’s Corp. plans to start selling all- day breakfast across the U.S. on Oct. 6, aiming to reinvigorate sluggish sales by fulfilling a longstanding customer request.</p>

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Stocks are cheaper than they were, and that’s good news for anyone who needs to invest, writes Brett Arends.

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Account takeover fraud — which occurs when a cybercriminal gains unauthorized access to an online account — is growing rapidly, a new analysis by a major Canadian cybersecurity company shows.

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<p>(Bloomberg) — McDonald’s Corp. plans to start selling all- day breakfast across the U.S. on Oct. 6, aiming to reinvigorate sluggish sales by fulfilling a longstanding customer request.</p>

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The bad omens are building in the stock market. Set aside the situation in China, where data released Tuesday showed manufacturing activity dropped last month to a three-year low and reached contractionary territory.

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U.S. stocks fell about 2 percent on the first day of trade for September as weak Chinese data pressured global markets.

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<p>Oil pared its biggest three-day rally in 25 years as speculation faded that OPEC may coordinate supply restraint with other nations to tackle the global crude surplus.</p>

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The candidate has repeatedly said in speeches that China is "killing us" and stealing American jobs.

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There are two strategic approaches to tackling poverty. Strategy 1: raise the incomes of those with low incomes. Strategy 2: reduce the knock-on effects of having a low income on housing, schooling, safety, health or health care.Strategy 1 policies attempt to reduce the number of people in income poverty, usually by transferring income directly. Strategy 2 policies try to blunt the impact of income poverty on overall quality of life. Strategy 1 anti-poverty policies are necessary, but far from sufficient. We must work harder on the Strategy 2 side, and make poverty matter less.The motivation…

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U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply lower open on Tuesday following some weaker than expected Chinese data.

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A patent law change pushed by the pharmaceutical industry could cost federal health-care programs $1.3 billion over a decade by delaying new generic drugs, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

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