Increasing the ‘meaning quotient’ of work By Susie Cranston and Scott Keller

Through a few simple techniques, executives can boost workplace “MQ” and inspire employees to perform at their peak.

Musicians talk about being “in the groove,” sportsmen about being “in the zone.” Can employees in the workplace experience similar performance peaks and, if so, what can top management do to encourage the mental state that brings them about?

We’ve long been interested in work environments that inspire exceptional levels of energy, increase self-confidence, and boost individual productivity. When we ask leaders about the ingredient they think is most often missing for them and for their colleagues—and by implication is most difficult to provide—they almost invariably signal the same thing: a strong sense of meaning. By “meaning,” we and they imply a feeling that what’s happening really matters, that what’s being done has not been done before or that it will make a difference to others.

The idea of meaning at work is not new. Indeed, two contributions toMcKinsey Quarterly1over the past year have highlighted this theme. In one, the authors demonstrate how misguided leaders often kill meaning in avoidable ways. The author of the other suggests that “meaning maker” is a critical role for corporate strategists. In this article, we will show from our research how meaning drives higher workplace productivity and explain what business leaders can do to create meaning.

Meaning and performance

The mental state that gives rise to great performance—in sports, business, or the arts—has been described in different ways. The psychologist Mihàly Csìkszentmihàlyi studied thousands of subjects, from sculptors to factory workers, and asked them to record their feelings at intervals throughout the working day. Csìkszentmihàlyi came up with a concept we consider helpful. He observed that people fully employing their core capabilities to meet a goal or challenge created what he called “flow.” More important, he found that individuals who frequently experienced it were more productive and derived greater satisfaction from their work than those who didn’t. They set goals for themselves to increase their capabilities, thereby tapping into a seemingly limitless well of energy. And they expressed a willingness to repeat those activities in which they achieved flow even if they were not being paid to do so.

Athletes describe the same feeling as being in the zone. Bill Russell, a key player for the Boston Celtics during the period when they won 11 professional-basketball championships in 13 years, put it thus: “When it happened, I could feel my play rise to a new level. . . . It would surround not only me and the other Celtics, but also the players on the other team. . . . At that special level, all sorts of odd things happened. The game would be in the white heat of competition, and yet somehow I wouldn’t feel competitive. . . . I’d be putting out the maximum effort . . . and yet I never felt the pain.”2

Flow sounds great in theory, but few business leaders have mastered the skill of generating it reliably in the workplace. An easy first step is to consider what creates flow in your own work situation—a question we have put directly to more than 5,000 executives during workshops we’ve conducted over the last decade. In this exercise, individuals initially think about their own personal peak performance with a team, when, in other words, they have come closest to the feelings Csìkszentmihàlyi and Russell describe. Then they pinpoint the conditions that made this level of performance possible: what in the team environment was there more or less of than usual?

The remarkably consistent answers we’ve received fall into three categories. The first set includes elements such as role clarity, a clear understanding of objectives, and access to the knowledge and resources needed to get the job done. These are what one might term rational elements of a flow experience or, to use a convenient shorthand, its intellectual quotient (IQ). When the IQ of a work environment is low, the energy employees bring to the workplace is misdirected and often conflicting.

Another set of answers includes factors related to the quality of the interactions among those involved. Here, respondents often mention a baseline of trust and respect, constructive conflict, a sense of humor, a general feeling that “we’re in this together,” and the corresponding ability to collaborate effectively. These create an emotionally safe environment to pursue challenging goals or, to borrow from the writings of Daniel Goleman and others, an environment with a high emotional quotient (EQ). When the EQ of a workplace is lacking, employee energy dissipates in the form of office politics, ego management, and passive-aggressive avoidance of tough issues.

While IQ and EQ are absolutely necessary to create the conditions for peak performance, they are far from sufficient. The longest list of words we have compiled from executives’ answers to our peak-performance question over the last ten years has little to do with either of these categories. This third one describes the peak-performance experience as involving high stakes; excitement; a challenge; and something that the individual feels matters, will make a difference, and hasn’t been done before. We describe this third category as the meaning quotient (MQ) of work. When a business environment’s MQ is low, employees put less energy into their work and see it as “just a job” that gives them little more than a paycheck.

The opportunity cost of the missing meaning is enormous. When we ask executives during the peak-performance exercise how much more productive they were at their peak than they were on average, for example, we get a range of answers, but the most common at senior levels is an increase of five times. Most report that they and their employees are in the zone at work less than 10 percent of the time, though some claim to experience these feelings as much as 50 percent of it. If employees working in a high-IQ, high-EQ, and high-MQ environment are five times more productive at their peak than they are on average, consider what even a relatively modest 20-percentage-point increase in peak time would yield in overall workplace productivity—it would almost double.

What’s more, when we ask executives to locate the bottlenecks to peak performance in their organizations, more than 90 percent choose MQ-related issues. They point out that much of the IQ tool kit is readily observable and central to what’s taught in business schools. The EQ tool kit, while “softer,” is now relatively well understood following Goleman’s popularization of the concept in the mid-1990s. The MQ tool kit is different.

What to do differently

Business leaders, we know from other sources, are striving hard to find the missing MQ ingredients so they can improve motivation and workforce productivity. Late last year, for example, a survey (conducted by The Conference Board and McKinsey) of more than 500 US-based HR executives identified employee engagement as one of the top five critical human-capital priorities facing organizations.3

Management thinkers are also on the case. Gary Hamel urges modern managers to see themselves as “entrepreneurs of meaning.” In The Progress Principle, Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile and her coauthor Steve Kramer present rigorous field research highlighting the enormous benefits that a sense of forward momentum can have for employees’ “inner work life.”4Csìkszentmihàlyi writes extensively about “the making of meaning” in his book Good Business.5

In our experience, though, there’s often a disconnect between the desire of practitioners to create meaning in the workplace, the good ideas emerging from cutting-edge research, and the number of specific, practical, and reliable tools that leaders know how to use. Often, platitudes about communication, quality feedback, job flexibility, and empowerment are used as substitutes for such tools. Much of this amounts to little more than advice about how to be a good manager. Inspirational visions, along the lines of Walt Disney’s “make people happy” or Google’s “organize the world’s information,” have little relevance if you produce ball bearings or garage doors.

In McKinsey’s research, we’ve uncovered a set of specific, actionable techniques underpinned both by experience and a significant body of social-science work. The full tool kit can be found in Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage.6The three examples described here are not only among the most counterintuitive (and therefore the most often overlooked) but also the most powerful.

Strategy #1: Tell five stories at once

We typically see organizational leaders tell two types of stories to inspire their teams. The first, the turnaround story, runs along the lines of “We’re performing below industry standard and must change dramatically to survive—incremental change is not sufficient to attract investors to our underperforming company.” The second, the good-to-great story, goes something like this: “We are capable of far more, given our assets, market position, skills, and loyal staff, and can become the undisputed leader in our industry for the foreseeable future.”

The problem with both approaches is that the story centers on the company, and that will inspire some but by no means all employees. Our research shows that four other sources give individuals a sense of meaning, including their ability to have an impact on

  • society—for example, making a better society, building the community, or stewarding resources
  • the customer—for instance, making life easier and providing a superior service or product
  • the working team—for instance, a sense of belonging, a caring environment, or working together efficiently and effectively
  • themselves—examples include personal development, a higher paycheck or bonus, and a sense of empowerment

Surveys of hundreds of thousands of employees show that the split in most companies—regardless of management level, industry sector, or geography (developed or developing economies)—is roughly equal. It appears that these five sources are a universal human phenomenon.

The implication for leaders seeking to create high-MQ environments is that a turnaround or a good-to-great story will strike a motivational chord with only 20 percent of the workforce. The same goes for a “change the world” vision like those of Disney and Google or appeals to individuals on a personal level. The way to unleash MQ-related organizational energy is to tell all five stories at once.

A recent cost-reduction program at a large US financial-services company began with a rational-change story focused on the facts: expenses were growing faster than revenues. Three months into the program, it was clear that employee resistance was stymieing progress. The management team therefore worked together to recast the story to include elements related to society (more affordable housing), customers (increased simplicity and flexibility, fewer errors, more competitive prices), working teams (less duplication, more delegation, increased accountability, a faster pace), and individuals (bigger and more attractive jobs, a once-in-a-career opportunity to build turnaround skills, a great opportunity to “make your own” institution). The program was still what it was—a cost-reduction program—but the reasons it mattered were cast in far more meaningful terms.

Within a month, the share of employees reporting that they were motivated to drive the change program forward jumped to 57 percent, from 35 percent, according to the company’s employee-morale pulse surveys. The program went on to exceed initial expectations, raising efficiency by 10 percent in the first year.

Strategy #2: Let employees ‘write their own lottery ticket’

The first strategy gives specific and practical guidance about how to tellthe story. Yet the best meaning makers spend more time asking than telling.

In one of Daniel Kahneman’s famous experiments, researchers ran a lottery with a twist. Half of the participants were randomly assigned a lottery ticket. The remaining half were given a blank piece of paper and asked to write down any number they pleased. Just before drawing the winning number, the researchers offered to buy back the tickets from their holders. The question they wanted to answer was how much more would you have to pay people who “wrote their own number” than people who received a number randomly. The rational answer should be no difference at all, since a lottery is pure chance, and therefore every ticket number, chosen or assigned, has the same odds of winning. A completely rational actor might even want to pay less for a freely chosen number, given the possibility of duplicate ones. The actual answer? Regardless of geography or demographics, researchers found they had to pay at least five times more to those who chose their own number.

This result reveals a truth about human nature: when we choose for ourselves, we are far more committed to the outcome—by a factor of at least five to one.

In business, of course, leaders can’t just let everyone decide their own direction. But they can still apply the lessons of the lottery-ticket experiment. The head of financial services at one global bank we know first wrote down his change story, shared it with his team for feedback, and then in effect asked all individual team members to write their own lottery ticket: what change story, in each of the businesses, supported the wider message? His team members in turn wrote change stories, shared them with their teams, and the process continued all the way to the front line. Although this method took far longer than the traditional road-show approach, the return on commitment to the program was considered well worth the investment and an important reason the bank achieved roughly two times its revenue-per-banker-improvement targets.

Likewise, when Neville Isdell took charge at Coca-Cola, in 2004, he cocreated a turnaround strategy by bringing together his top 150 employees for three multiday “real work” sessions. The process was then cascaded further down into the organization, at small working meetings where participants could in effect write their own lottery ticket about the implications for their particular parts of the business. With hindsight, this process of creating and interactively cascading what became known as The Manifesto for Growth is seen as a pivotal intervention in a two-year turnaround in which the group stopped destroying shareholder value and generated returns of 20 percent, driven by volume increases equivalent to selling an extra 105 million bottles of Coke a day. In this period, staff turnover fell by 25 percent, and the company reported what external researchers called unprecedented increases in employee engagement for an organization of this size.

Leaders who need to give their employees more of a sense of direction can still leverage the lottery-ticket insight by augmenting their telling of the story with asking about the story. David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson Electric, for example, is known for asking virtually everyone he encounters in the organization four questions: (1) how do you make a difference? (testing for alignment with the company’s direction); (2) what improvement idea are you working on? (emphasizing continuous improvement); (3) when did you last get coaching from your boss? (emphasizing the importance of people development); and (4) who is the enemy? (emphasizing the importance of “One Emerson” and no silos, as well as directing the staff’s energy toward the external threat). The motivational effect of this approach has been widely noted by Emerson employees.

Strategy #3: Use small, unexpected rewards to motivate

US author Upton Sinclair once wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” The flip side, however, isn’t true. When business objectives are linked to compensation, the motivation to drive for results is rarely enhanced meaningfully.

The reason is as practical as psychological. Most annual-compensation plans of executives are so full of key performance indicators that the weighting of any one objective becomes largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, most compensation plans typically emphasize financial metrics whose results depend on myriad variables, many beyond individual control. On top of that, most companies don’t have deep enough pockets to make compensation a significant driver of MQ in the workplace.

Leaders of organizations that successfully instill meaning understand the power of other methods. Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan’s book, Mean Genes,7describes an experiment in which 50 percent of a group of people using a photocopier found a dime in the coin-return slot. When all were asked to rate their satisfaction level, those who got the dime scored an average of 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 7, while those who didn’t scored just 5.6. The lesson here is that when we aren’t expecting a reward, even a small one can have a disproportionate effect on our state of mind. And that’s also true of employees in the workplace.

At ANZ Bank, John McFarlane gave all employees a bottle of champagne for Christmas, with a card thanking them for their work on a major change program. The CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, marked the first anniversary of its change program by sending out personal thank-you notes to all the employees who had been involved, with specific messages related to the impact of their individual work. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, sends the spouses of her top team handwritten thank-you letters. After seeing the impact of her own success on her mother during a visit to India, she began sending letters to the parents of her top team, too.

Some managers might dismiss these as token gestures—but employees often tell us that the resulting boost in motivation and in connection to the leader and the company can last for months if not years. As Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart Stores, put it, “Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free—and worth a fortune.”

Of the three Qs that characterize a workplace likely to generate flow and inspire peak performance, we frequently hear from business leaders that MQ is the hardest to get right. Given the size of the prize for injecting meaning into people’s work lives, taking the time to implement strategies of the kind described here is surely among the most important investments a leader can make.

How to Create an Exponential Mindset, Mark Bonchek for HBR

Digital business models are a bit of a misnomer. It’s not digital technology that defines them; it’s their ability to create exponential value. The music and video industries, for example, weren’t redefined by converting analog to digital formats. Just ask Sony about Minidisc players and Netflix about their DVD business.

To create exponential value, it’s imperative to first create an exponential mindset. The incremental mindset focuses on making something better, while the exponential mindset is makes something different. Incremental is satisfied with 10%. Exponential is out for 10X.

In the last century, industrial business models were defined by their use of machines to create increasing returns to scale. Digital business models use network effects to create what Ray Kurzweil describes as accelerating returns to scale. The key difference is that industrial models are linear while digital models are exponential, as shown in the chart below.

While others have written about how to design exponential strategies and organizations, I want to focus here on how to create an exponential mindset. My work with clients suggests that the incremental mindset is more deeply embedded than we might think. Unless you are conscious and diligent, you can end up with a strategy that looks digital (i.e. uses digital technology) but doesn’t actually operate digitally (i.e. achieves accelerating returns).

The role of incremental and exponential mindsets vary in each phase of the business journey: launch, grow, and expand.

Launch: Vision and Uncertainty

In the launch phase of a business, the team needs to develop and refine the business model. The Lean Startup approach of test, iterate, and pivot is the right thing to do. But you also need the right way to think. Are you thinking about your business incrementally or exponentially?

The incremental mindset draws a straight line from the present to the future. A “good” incremental business plan enables you to see exactly how you will get from here to there. But exponential models are not straight. They are like a bend in the road that prevents you from seeing around the corner, except in this case the curve goes up.

Without an exponential mindset, Google would never have created such an ambitious vision as “organizing the world’s information,” Facebook would never have set out to “make the world more open and connected,” and Airbnb to “create a world where all 7 Billion people can Belong Anywhere.” Similarly, a group of innovative organizations in the public sector are out to solve global social issues by achieving “transformative scale.”

In Maine they have an expression that “You can’t get there from here.” In the launch phase, you need to realize that an exponential strategy has inherent uncertainty. You can’t know what things will look like on the other side of the curve. You can’t draw a straight line from where you are to where you are going. There’s no step-by-step plan. The exponential mindset helps you become comfortable with uncertainty and more ambitious with your vision.

Build: Courage and Patience

These days, many companies are able to get through the launch phase with an exponential mindset. They manage their uncertainty, take the leap, and start the journey despite being unable to see around the bend. Fear of disruption and envy of unicorns can be a powerful motivator. But then something happens. Or more precisely, something doesn’t happen.

Take a look at the chart above. In the first part of the build phase, you don’t see a lot of change. It’s not until the second part when the line starts to bend. It’s simply the nature of exponential change. Things happen very slowly before they happen very quickly. If this was the only world we knew, it wouldn’t be a problem. But we were raised with an incremental mindset. So we can’t help but compare the exponential path to the incremental path. And this creates a problem.

We are accustomed to measuring progress linearly and incrementally. If 30% of the time has gone by, we assume that we should be 30% of the way there. That’s how things work in the physical world when we are traveling to a destination. But exponential models don’t work that way.

What happens is that businesses run into something I call the “expectation gap,” where the exponential strategy is at greatest risk from the incremental mindset. It’s where many companies abandon the exponential model for the incremental.

I see this consistently on a micro scale in my own work. My workshops are designed with an exponential mindset to generate new ways of thinking about marketing, culture and strategy. Somewhere around a third of the way into a workshop, the leader invariably says something like “so when are we going to get something done?” The reason is that they are still operating with an incremental mindset. A third of the time has passed, but it seems like they are only 10% of the way to our destination. In fact, most of the progress happens once the curve starts to bend. Invariably by the end of the day the same people are remarking that they can’t believe how much we got done in such a short period of time.

In your exponential journey, pay attention to when people get the most impatient for results. It’s the point in the chart where there is the largest gap between incremental and exponential paths. This expectation gap is a risk to the business strategy because the impatience can be used by opponents or skeptics to convince stakeholders to jump from the exponential to the incremental. You will have the immediate relief of having “line of sight” once again and see steady progress. But you will also have given up the possibility of accelerating returns and the opportunity to keep up with customers and competitors. The exponential mindset helps you have the courage to persevere and the patience to see it through.

Grow: Agility and Control

In the third phase, you have managed the uncertainty of the early days, the impatience of the middle phase, and now you are firmly “in the curve.” Growth is happening faster than you can handle. At this point, the incremental mindset is to try to rein things in and get things under control. But that would be a mistake. To sustain the accelerating returns, you need to shift your mindset about how to mobilize and manage resources.

The incremental mindset assumes that it takes more inputs to produce more outputs. So as growth starts to accelerate, teams start to look for more resources in proportion to the growth. But the addition of too many people or too many resources can “flood the engine” of growth. You need an exponential mindset to figure out how 1X additional input can create 10X additional output.

You also need to apply an exponential mindset to how you manage the resources you have. The incremental mindset about management is like creating a line of dominos. Everything needs to be highly coordinated with active oversight to make progress one step at a time. The exponential mindset is like this demonstration with ping pong balls in which things happen in parallel with a focus on the interactions among participants.

As I’ve written about separately, there is a way to let go without losing control. In the exponential mindset, managers replace control of people with control of principles. The use of doctrine to guide decision-making generates alignment, consistency and empowerment. But most leaders are accustomed to making decisions rather than empowering decisions. The anxiety from a loss of control can easily push companies off the exponential path back onto the incremental path. The exponential mindset helps to grow output faster than input, and empower teams to achieve both alignment and autonomy.

To summarize, digital business models require a shift from incremental to exponential. At the start, it takes vision and a leap of faith to commit to the unknown. In the early days, it takes courage and patience to build the foundation for growth even when results aren’t yet apparent. When growth kicks in, agility comes from empowering others and letting go without losing control. In all of the stages, the challenge is to “unlearn” familiar ways of thinking and embrace the unfamiliar. But with a shift from the incremental to exponential mindset comes the opportunity for real innovation.

Why HR departments should take a cue from extreme adventure sports to help employees become more productive.

Know that sensation when you’re working out or cranking on a project, and time starts to pass quickly, distractions melt away, and you feel like you’re in the zone?

It’s a real biological process, with a large and growing body of research dedicated to figuring it out what makes it work.

The concept is called flow, a term popularized in the 1990s by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In a new book called The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, journalist Steven Kotler takes on the latest research on flow through the lens of action and adventure athletics. Kotler writes primarily about flow in high-stakes sports like surfing — where focus and concentration can be the difference between a tubular ride and a watery death — but the concept could also have big implications for the business world. Kotler spoke to Fortune about the science behind flow, its potential to boost workplace productivity, and how to get yourself in the zone.

Edited excerpts of the conversation follow.

Fortune: Why study flow? 

Steven Kotler: When I was 30 years old I got very, very sick. I spent three years in bed. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me. It was surfing and flow states that brought me back to health.

I thought I was losing my mind because I kept having these quasi-mystical experiences out in the waves, and I was a science writer, and I don’t have quasi-mystical experiences. In the beginning I thought, What the hell is going on with me? What I learned later is that the neurochemical experiences produced during flow all boost the immune system and reset the nervous system, which is why it helped with
an autoimmune condition, and which explained my otherworldly sensations.

The difference was amazing. And I started to realize that the same thing that took me from really sub-optimal — I was functional for like 10% of the time — to 80% functional after six months of surfing in
frequent flow states, is something that could take somebody who’s at normal to higher and higher levels.

Can you define flow?

Flow is an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best. Here’s what you need to know: Flow is a spectrum of experience, like any emotion. There are 10 conditions that describe flow psychology, and they include concentration, the loss of self, and the dilation of time — or when  everything slows down or speeds up. You can be in “micro-flow,” where there’s only a couple of those
things, or you can be in “macro-flow.”

When we talk about people at work getting into flow, they’re usually getting into micro-flow. If you’ve ever lost an afternoon to a great conversation, or gotten so sucked into a work project when everything else goes away, that’s flow. The experience goes from there up to these sort of quasi-mystical experiences.

And this is a clinically measurable, physical process?

Yes. Flow research started probably in the 1800s. What has happened in the last couple years is that we’ve gotten very good at measuring the neurobiology. That’s partially because George Bush declared the ’90s the “Decade of the Brain,” and money flooded into neuroscience.

So for example, when it feels like your sense of time slows down or speeds up, and your sense of self vanishes — those sound like new-agey sensations. But we know now that what actually goes on in the brain is something called transient hypofrontality. Transient means temporary, hypo is the opposite of hyper — it means to slow down or deactivate. And frontality is your prefrontal cortex; it’s the part of your brain that houses all your higher executive function.

So the old idea about optimal performance is, “Oh, we only use 5% of our brain, and flow must be all of our brain functioning at a maximal level.” Turns out that’s totally backward. In flow, huge portions of
your prefrontal cortex are turning off. Parts of it start to wink out so you can no longer separate past from present from future. Why does your sense of self vanish? The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that houses your inner critic — that voice of doubt and disparagement that’s always there — it shuts off in flow.

And this concept of becoming one with everything? You hear surfers talk about, “Oh I was one with the wave,” and it sounds like absolute nonsense. No, it turns out there’s a part of your brain called the right
parietal lobe that helps you figure out where you are in space. It helps us separate self from other. In deep flow states, energy goes elsewhere and the right parietal lobe shuts down. So, from a neurological perspective, at that point the brain actually does believe it’s one with everything.

What good is all this in the business world?

A study conducted by McKinsey found that the average person spends about 5% of working hours in flow. But if you could increase that to 20%, they estimate that overall workplace productivity would double. That’s incredible. That’s a crazy statistic.

There are 15 flow triggers that are covered in The Rise of Superman. For example, you want a very specific challenge-to-skills ratio. The challenge needs to be 4% greater than the skills you bring to the table. We took that number and ran with it, and tried to test it in various scenarios, and we have found it’s very effective.

A rich environment is another trigger. A rich environment is a fancy way of saying lots of novelty, lots of complexity, and lots of unpredictability. Google GOOG -0.55% is great at this. They talk about 10x  improvement and not 10% improvement. When you’re asking for 10x improvement, you’re throwing
out all the existing assumptions, and you have to start radically new. You’re massively increasing the amount of novelty, complexity, and unpredictability in your employees’ work life.

Risk is also a flow trigger, which is obvious for athletes. But it’s not just physical risk. What you’re really trying to do is get the brain to release dopamine, which happens when we take physical risk — as well
as an emotional, social, intellectual, or creative risk. Silicon Valley has an advantage here because it gives people space to fail and take those risks.

Say I’m an executive, what’s my easy answer for reaching a state of flow?

There’s no easy answer, and we always say this is not self-help. I will say that the people who are really good at this, they don’t just go for flow at work, they want flow in their off-time, too. You’re training the brain, and the more flow you get, the more flow you get.

So what you’re saying is, I should take up surfing.

Sure. And creative projects are great — painting, writing, all that stuff. Creative side projects are really important because they’re very common flow triggers. Playing sports helps, and not just action sports.
But it’s important to remember these neurochemicals are potent and addictive, and this can be dangerous stuff. It’s not a quick fix. And it’s not guaranteed.

You can build your environment around these 15 flow triggers, but flow is still a happy accident when it happens. All we can do is make you more accident-prone.