In the zone.

February 3rd, 2012

On the first run of our annual ski trip in the spectacular Colorado Rockies, my friend Susan and I paused mid-mountain to remark on the beauty of our surroundings. With unstoppable grins, we basked in the blue-sky sun that had softened the snow to ideal conditions.  We had the mountain to ourselves and it was exhilarating.

We were in a groove with nature and time seemed nonexistent. Our day ended in perfection, too, on an outside terrace at the base of the mountain sipping a delicious concoction of hot chocolate and butterscotch schnapps.

It was the perfect segue to my Tip of the Day email from a few days later that linked to an article titled “Group flow: How teamwork can foster creativity,” 
by R. Keith Sawyer, a professor of psychology and education at Washington University in St. Louis and one of country’s leading scientific experts on creativity and author of “Group Genius.”

To understand group flow, Sawyer explains first how individuals find flow. He draws on research by famed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who coined the term “flow” to describe the state of heightened consciousness that some people, like me, refer to as being “in the zone.”

Here’s what he says: “Csikszentmihalyi discovered that extremely creative people are at their peak when they experience ‘a unified flowing from one moment to the next, in which we feel in control of our actions, and in which there is little distinction between self and environment; between stimulus and response; or between past, present, and future.’ When they enter the flow state, people from a wide range of professions describe feeling a sense of competence and control, a loss of self-consciousness, and they get so absorbed in the task that they lose track of time.”

Building on that research, Sawyer identified 10 factors for group flow:
1.   The group’s goal
2.   Close listening
3.   Keep it moving forward
4.   Complete concentration
5.   Being in control
6.   Blending egos
7.   Equal participation
8.   Familiarity
9.   Communication
10. The potential for failure

These are worth reading in detail for anyone who wants to foster a team’s focus on unbridled creativity and innovation. Are you ready to get in the zone?

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2 Responses to “In the zone.”

  1. world clock says:

    In the zone. | Qinomics – just great!

  2. Julie Tarney says:

    I wasn’t thinking time zones, but I see why you like it. Funny how time can disappear sometimes.