Flow map as a Management Tool – Part 2
How Map of Everyday Experience (Flow Map) is presented in FLIGBY
The different states of mind can be effectively assessed through the Flow map and then intervened in through effective people-centered decision-making that cultivates emotional intelligence. It is those soft skills that FLIGBY players learn first-hand in a simulated business environment of the Game as they receive immediate feedback through the use of the Flow Map. Players can periodically or continually check the Game’s dashboard for instruments that show how their decisions as a general manager of the Turul Winery impact the Flow state of each management team member, as well as the “corporate atmosphere” and the Winery’s profit potential. They use this feedback and employ different strategies to move their team toward Flow by either strengthening the skills and raising or decreasing the challenges for the individual members.
The Flow Map is not just another psychometric assessment. As part of the FLIGBY business simulation game, which allows its players to experience the optimal state of Flow directly because the game itself is tremendously absorbing, the Flow Map teaches managers how to measure and increase the levels of engagement on their teams. Top leadership simulation games like FLIGBY closely resemble the complex reality of operating a business environment and recreate the internal mental states one is bound to experience as a team manager.
Through a scenario-based approach to sequential decision-making in response to progressively complex workplace assignments, players can see how their choices affect their colleagues’ motivation and emotional states and how those influence business outcomes. Today experiential learning through serious gaming is one of the most effective ways to teach and practice leadership skills and emotional intelligence. Learning by doing is the best way to retain knowledge, and managerial simulations that enable strategizing and problem-solving through risk-free business decisions provide invaluable experience in responding to realistic business situations.
In the Game, the Flow Map is a visual, dynamic, and continuous indicator of your team’s experience. Real-time positions and movements on the diagram represent the team members shown together with their respective states of mind. The distinctions between the individual states of mind are essential indicators that support in-the-moment problem-solving while assessing skills and measuring the players’ progress.
Map of Everyday Experience can help to improve the managerial work
Suppose you, as a leader, can position your colleagues properly on the Flow Map based on their current behavior. In that case, you can devise a customized strategy for each of your colleagues to help them achieve the Flow state. The Flow Map can be harnessed as a practical tool to manage motivation and ultimately catalyzes increased performance.
“Our jobs determine to a large extent, what our lives are like… Work can be one of life’s most joyful, fulfilling aspects. Whether it will be or not depends on the actions we collectively take.” – Csikszentmihalyi, 2004
One typical example of how a Flow Map can be used in practice would be to assess the team’s motivational states in planning and preparing for a new project or anticipating significant organizational changes.
In the ideal situation, if you as a leader wanted to learn about group dynamics and assess the management behaviors of your team members, you would invite them to play the Game to obtain their profiles through the Master Analytic Profiler, which measures 29 leadership competencies. The comprehensive FLIGBY reports provide valuable information regarding everyone’s capabilities and managerial skills and can also point to how individuals make decisions in specific situations. Their profiles can also help you predict how your colleagues will respond emotionally to particular challenges and allow you to match them to tasks that create win-win scenarios for the business and everyone involved.
If you can’t obtain such profiles, you could use what you have learned in the Game to create your own Flow Map of your team based on your knowledge about your employees. Let’s say that during the initial project planning meeting, you observe a difference in attitudes and associated behaviors between your colleagues. One of your employees seems restless, avoids eye contact, and comments negatively about the project. You remember she was in the office late the night before and overheard her complaint to a colleague that she was not sleeping well. Another team member is late for the meeting and seems utterly uninterested in the discussion. The rest of the team is curious, actively participates, and is we make it happen, resultingnerally excited to pursue the project.
You’ll be able to invite a member of your team who seems uninterested to comment on the project during the meeting. Perhaps, during the discussion, you will realize that they were given little individual responsibility or were assigned to share a task with another who took on the work. This can allow you to inquire about what aspect of the project they would be excited to work on and where they feel they could contribute the most. Alternatively, you can brainstorm with them ways in which they can re-design aspects of their work to make them more engaging. You can empower them with the appropriate decision-making level if they crave more autonomy. If you find they feel isolated in their work, you can find opportunities for deeper collaboration.
With the teammate who seemed stressed and worried, you may want to discuss her concerns separately and invite her to your office after the meeting. Stress can become a barrier to high performance. When on-the-job challenges exceed skills, the likelihood of achieving the goal decreases as the gap between personal resources and opportunities to act increases. You observe that your colleague has taken on new responsibilities. You can ask how your team member feels about her tasks and what kind of support she may need. By validating her feelings, acknowledging her concerns, and asking her for suggestions of potential solutions, you can help her balance out the demands of the job with the available skills and resources.
The power and the responsibility of creating a workplace conducive to Flow rest with every leader. Regardless of your strategies as a manager to support matching everyone’s skills to challenges, your team’s goals, collectively and individually, must reflect organizational values, be transparent, and be supported by frequent feedback.
The relationship between one’s ability to perform the task and how one perceives the challenge at hand influences motivation and performance. Map of Everyday Experience that tracks a team’s flow and other mental states can be a potent management tool when used to its fullest potential. As Flow is a mental state of authentic engagement that leads to optimal performance, awareness of its existence within a group or an organization can be very useful in understanding individual and collective motivation. But most importantly, it supports the growth of optimal working environments where work can Flow, and everyone can thrive as Csikszentmihalyi envisioned.
“A business is successful because it provides a product or service that contributes to happiness in all its forms.”- Csikszentmihalyi, 2004
The Flow map can be employed as a practical management tool that allows everyone to make leadership decisions in a way that creates opportunities for people to experience more Flow in their work. It can match employees and their capabilities to the tasks they will enjoy more, giving them a greater sense of accomplishment. It can also inform leadership decision-making in the direction where employees feel more involved in their tasks and perceive their work as more meaningful.
To learn more, and to experience the joy of Flow while learning Flow-promoting leadership skills, get your map to Flow.
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2004). Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning. New York, NY: Penguin.
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- Harter, J. (2018, August 26). Employee engagement on the rise in the U. S. Gallup.
- Marer, P., Buzady, Z. & Vecsey, Z. (2017). Missing Link Discovered. ALEAS Sims Hungary-USA (Publisher)
- Roberts, D. C. (2007). Deeper learning in leadership: Helping college students find the potential within. John Wiley & Sons.