“Time slows down. Self vanishes. Action and Awareness merge. Welcome to Flow.” Steven Kotler
“Flow creates powerful intrinsic motivation – by releasing the most addictive neurochemicals in our bodies.
Flow cuts the path to mastery (aka 10,000 hours) in half and accelerates performance up to 500%.
People with the most flow in their lives are the happiest people on earth.”
“Harvard’s Teresa Amiable discovered that not only are people more creative in flow, they also report being more creative the day after a flow state—suggesting that flow doesn’t just heighten creativity in the moment, it heightens it over the long haul. In other words, being in flow actually trains us to be more creative.”
(Flow Genome Project)
“Nobel-Prize winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel says that the brain is a creative machine. It appears that the quantity and diversity of our ideas are mediated by the front lobes, right behind your forehead. Preliminary brain research by Charles Limb at John Hopkins University shows that the parts of your brain that are responsible for self-monitoring are literally turned off during creative endeavors. He uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which detects metabolic activity in the different areas of the brain, to study brain activity in jazz musicians and rap artists. While they are in the scanner, he asks the musicians to compose an improvisational piece of music. While they are playing, Limb has found that a part of the brain’s frontal loves believed to be responsible for judgment shows much lower activities.
This implies that during this creative process the brain actively shuts off its normal inhabitation of new ideas. For many activities it is important to have high self-monitoring of your behavior so that you don’t say everything you think or do everything that you consider. But when you are generating new ideas, this function gets in the way.
Creative people have apparently mastered the art of turning off this part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination.” (Dr Tina Seelig: Ingenuis: A crash course on creativity)
In the world of constant busyness and achievement, it is becoming more challenging for us to be able to enter a state of flow. Creative Flow is a structured, replicable process that anyone can learn to nurture personal and group flow experiences.
Embodied cognition is the belief that many features of human cognition are shaped by aspects of the body beyond the brain. The features of cognition include high level mental constructs (such asconcepts and categories) and human performance on various cognitive tasks (such as reasoning or judgment). The aspects of the body include the motor system, the perceptual system, the body’s interactions with the environment (situatedness) and the ontological assumptions about the world that are built into the body and the brain.
In philosophy, embodied cognition holds that an agent’s cognition is strongly influenced by aspects of an agent’s body beyond the brain itself. In their proposal for an enactive approach to cognition Varela et al. defined “embodied”:
“By using the term embodied we mean to highlight two points: first that cognition depends upon the kinds of experience that come from having a body with various sensorimotor capacities, and second, that these individual sensorimotor capacities are themselves embedded in a more encompassing biological, psychological and cultural context.”
— Eleanor Rosch, Evan Thompson, Francisco J. Varela: The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience pages 172–173
The race for attracting and retaining talented digital experts, is on. One of the elements that stand in the way of change and retaining high demand skills, are that current traditional talent practices that are widely used, were build for a previous age, IT platforms and organizational dynamics. The modern era demands pragmatic, evidence informed yet light touch and some resourceful co-creation and learning while experimenting with new models, such as distributed leadership.
What this means right now for talent and people development strategies in the digital world
To attract, recruit, onboard, retain and grow digital futures talent you need to differentiate your business from others by providing a work experience aligned to the values and expectations of your community, your talent market, investors and customers. This includes thinking about and planning for people strategies that will enable rapid business scaling and change using contemporary models and practices.
Research from the Centre of Positive Organizations indicates that positive leadership and organizations create extraordinary performance through positive climate, positive relationships, positive meaning and positive communications. This does not mean a business where the negative does not get addressed – in fact positive organizations enables organizations to deal more effectively with challenges. Gallup studies shows that positive leadership creates
a more positive mood
enhanced job satisfaction
Applying 21st Century Talent and People Strategies are less costly, more flexible and generate better results
Creating a scaleable, human-centered workplace will generate attractive work experiences and create a strong and committed leadership cohort and brand. Examples of new practices include:
Letting go of old-school job descriptions and instead targeting individuals through matching their strengths with your organization’s strength profile and values. This will ensure better, socially diverse and targeted candidates are attracted and you achieve a higher retention rate. It also creates a better brand and competitive differentiation.
Recruitment using strengths-based interviews while assessing core traits and experiences from a person’s past, capability – the abilities and technical skills that a person can do and capacity – the strengths, appetite and values that determine what a person would love to do (based on the high potential model from the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology).
Designing and developing lean, smart and better ways of assessing people by letting go of personality tests that do not predict success. For example, developing a deep understanding on how to assess for motivation and identifying genuine potential for success through machine learning tools will give you the edge.
Applying strengths-based, realistic and high potential interviews, and combining it with an assessment of the past, the present and looking to the future, will help you to truly begin to understand a person and your teams’ potential (and areas for unique and customized growth).
Creative on-boarding for you and your new team member to ensure a smooth integration and clear easy first 90 day including a customized guidance plan and action steps for team members as well as critical stakeholders, such as clients or investors. This will make a new person feel welcome and productive while you set them up for success.
Designing your culture with neurosciences in mind to ensure your people are motivated and flourish. Using a behavioral science approach also increases individual, team and organizational awareness and improve decision making.
Developing team member’s unique strengths to enable them to achieve their full potential, and embedding a strengths-development and solutions focused mindset for competitive advantages in not only talent retention, but your growth and profitability.
Designing management practices, compensation and reward approaches aligned with unique talent segments in mind will help you retain the values and purpose your business is found upon. This means fair payment and a commitment to helping them grow their financial wellbeing so that they focus on the task at hand while being empowered to make a positive impact in the world.
New team onboarding, alignment and development plans, including team leadership development while working on projects and building your talent pipeline. This means truly valuing teams and cross-functional team work.
Creating positive exit experiences when people leave the organization. This will promote your reputation and generate a network of loyal alumni.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Shunryo Zuzuki
In the face of a fast changing and increasingly more complex world, many argue that creativity and innovation are crucial 21st century skills. Design thinking is capability that is gaining rapid adoption not only in Canada, but globally. This highly structured yet agile process not only enables creativity and innovation, but also a competitive differentiator that cannot be easily outsourced. It can be applied to develop new training programs, or to change the way training is delivered, or introduced as a simple process to embed a culture of experimentation, creativity and learning in an organization. Training departments can offer it as a highly effective experience-based learning module for leaders at all levels in the organization.
“Only what grows out of your direct experiencing has the power to change everything.” – Dr Lisa Caparo
An exciting new opportunity is opening up to change how we grow and develop our skills through augmented virtual reality, experiential technology and neurogaming.
Instead of passively sitting and playing virtual games and simulations, a whole new paradigm is opening up with this new technology which makes reality not only a cognitive experience, but also felt in the body and emotions. This enables us to creatively nurture somatic intelligence based on neurobiology of the embodied learning.
The Flow Dome from the Flow Genome Project is an example of applying somatic entrainment to become more familiar with the state of Flow.
Somatic leadership, for example combined with intentionally designed creative movement and technologies of mind, are new approaches that, combined with augmented virtual reality, can make change and growth fun, effective and enable innovation and leadership in a novel way.
A somatic leadership philosophy, intelligence and practices has the potential for leaders to develop new body-centric models of leadership utilizing the language of the “way of the body” to generate a body and health centered model for leadership. Fusing this with virtual reality technology takes it into a new dimension – gaming that focuses on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing while learning new skills in a fun way.
Such Embodied leadership practices can take us out of all of the “cognitive” leadership processes of a worldview that the mind is only in the brain, and gets us right back into our genuine self – as lived and expressed through our body.
Contact me to find out how I apply somatic intelligence to strategy, leadership, change and organizational development.