“Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.” -Elon Musk
You are a senior leader at a major automotive manufacturer and you are responsible for your organizations new technologies. You come across the Tesla Motors announcement and see the Musk quote stating that Tesla will open source all of their intellectual property. Does that just change the game you play in? Did that just create more stress for you, in your already stressed out, hyper competitive world. Do you get that all too familiar pit in your stomach?
Or would it motivate you to up your game and take your organization to the next level. Would it prompt you to take risks you have never taken? Would it cause you to play at a level you have never played at? Or even more powerfully, like extreme athletes, would you change the game completely and go to a level never before fathomed?
How you answered may reflect whether or not you are one who naturally seeks to be in Flow – that “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Flow was originally defined and clarified by University of Chicago Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Me-high, Chick-sent-me-high). Starting in the 1960’s, Csikszentmihalyi’s studies led him to better understand and clarify ultimate human performance.
Fast forward to the present day where Flow is being intensely studied in the arena of extreme athletes. Author Steven Kotler is a leader in the study of Flow. As Kotler describes a quote by psychologist William James in a recent Fastcompany article:
“Surfing is a 1,000-year-old sport, and 20 years ago the biggest wave ever ridden was 25 feet. Today surfers push into waves 100 feet tall. Or consider snowboarding: In 1992, the biggest gap ever cleared was 40 feet; today that jump is 230 feet. “
For Kotler, the author of The Rise of Superman, and the Director of the Flow Genome Project, Flow is not some fad but rather how we as humans are taking our performance to the next level. We are advancing our potential through Flow because we have to, because the nature of the world is demanding it. The good news is that through Flow we will tap into a large reservoir of dormant potential. As Kotler states in The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, “Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.”
So what about bringing flow in as a leader? Is it possible to be in Flow as a leader? Is it possible to take on seemingly overwhelming odds and succeed as a leader? Is it possible to do the unthinkable and change the game?
The answer is a resounding YES, and that is the journey I am on – I am in search of how #LeadershipFlow expresses itself. The world needs more leaders in Flow, reaching for mastery of themselves to better navigate all the accelerating change ahead. Join me in the quest for #LeadershipFlow within ourselves.
@croftedwards, #leadershipflow, #self-mastery
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