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Rewild your work life: Flow

One building block on top of another. I watch, fascinated, as my daughter builds a castle out of just a few building blocks. Little play figures become queens and knights. She's not quite satisfied yet; this one tower could still be a bit higher. Again, blocks are stacked one on top of the other; the wooden structure wobbles back and forth until it collapses... she starts again from the beginning. I don't want to interrupt but we have to go; we have an appointment. The first time I quietly say her name she doesn't even hear me, she's so engrossed in her game.

Children rarely find it difficult to get into this state of flow: completely engrossed in something, taking on a challenge, patiently realising an idea. Whether creating play worlds or scaling a climbing frame - they quickly forget everything else around them.

When did we, as adults, last experience such a moment? A moment completely in the here and now, a task that challenges us without putting insurmountable obstacles in our way.

And what does that have to do with our Wildlings?

We want to make the best minimal shoe on the market. In addition to the matter of what we want to do, we were driven from the beginning by the question of how we want to do it. How do we want to work? What do we need in order to work well and happily? In a flow of feel-good work, you might say. In the past we talked here about the basic conditions. But good basic conditions are not enough for really good work.

Michael Csikzentmihalyi names several factors that contribute to flow - a state in which you are completely in the here and now, absorbed in your task. Of course we as employers can't directly influence whether this state really occurs, but we can create the basic conditions for it. The advantages for all involved are obvious, because Wildlings who work with motivation and joy do a good job! And, for example, bring twice as many ideas into the company as an employee who feels bored or unappreciated.

So how do you get into a state of flow? Csikzentmihalyi lists the following points:

  • The next step is clear and your attention lies on the next step.
  • There is an immediate or nearly immediate response to the activity (not necessarily from your boss, ideally arising from the activity itself)
  • The task is challenging but manageable
  • Concentration increases
  • You are completely in the present; time flies by
  • You have the feeling that you are handling the situation

What does that mean for Wildling? How can we put each fox in the place in the den where they can use their talents best? What do we need in order to grow with our tasks, what do we hand over because we can't manage it ourselves?

These are all questions that we ask ourselves constantly. Our goal is for our company and each individual in it to be in a state of flow. Once we've answered these questions satisfactorily for everyone, flow becomes ever more likely, whether in the warehouse, in customer service or in the Wildling community.

For further reading: 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - Good Business. Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning

Foto by Sandra und Stefano


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