Michael Crooke (MC), a former Navy Seal, achieved spectacular results as CEO with flow-based leadership. MC is a great fan of FLIGBY and incorporates the Game into his university courses and consulting practice.
In 1998 MC accepted the position of President and CEO of Patagonia Inc. The company – famous for high-performance outdoor wear and its strong commitment to the environment – had entered a period of competitive and organizational uncertainty and found itself falling from a high ranking on Fortune‘s list of the 100 Best Companies To Work For.
Having read Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow years before, MC realized that a major problem was a perceived growing gap between the firm’s historically strong espoused values and how business was actually conducted. MC set forth to rectify Patagonia’s engagement problem by focusing on what originally made Patagonia great (mountaineering) and the authenticity that came from the values of its founder, Yvon Chouinard.
Simultaneously, MC enrolled in Claremont University’s Ph.D. program. Working with Prof. Csikszentmihalyi, MC’s dissertation focused on creating a workplace environment conducive to Flow. Patagonia was his laboratory.
Flow, was at the center of everything I was doing at Patagonia, and remains at the heart of all my professional activities since.
The turnaround at Patagonia, where MC remained CEO until 2005, was spectacular, with the company catapulting back onto the Best Company lists, eventually hitting No. 14.
Today, MC combines careers as a sought-after business consultant with academic positions. He is the inaugural Avemere Professor of Practice and founding faculty of Advanced Strategy at the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon, where he is interim Associate Dean. MC is also the founder and Lead Faculty for the Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) business certificate program at Pepperdine University. Based on his vast business experience, dissertation, and continuing work with Csikszentmihalyi, the SEER business model focuses on innovating winning business strategies that profitably incorporate social, ethical and environmental values.