Friday, 21 August 2009

What is 'Corporate Instinct'? - Part 2

We're kind of familiar with the concept of 'flow', that wonderful state when we become so deeply and wholly engaged in what we're doing that our subconscious seems to take over and the most challenging task starts to feel effortless. We seem to do things twice as efficiently, the quality of our actions and their consequences seem outstanding and we find ourselves using skills, talents or instincts we didn’t know we had.

That feeling of ‘flow’ has been with me, albeit fleetingly, several times in my working life. It seems to happen to me quite a bit when I’m deeply engrossed in coaching or facilitating action learning, sometimes too when I’m delivering training activities. Professionally, one’s reaction might well be to ‘snap out of it’. We are taught that switching to autopilot can be dangerous; how do we know we’re noticing all the signs? Can we be sure we’re 100% engaged? But somehow you know the difference between the ‘flow’ state and the ‘not quite there’ state, and you know that this is the former.

Now, I can think of a few occasions where I found myself ‘flowing’ with a group of colleagues. It happens at those times of extreme creativity or problem solving. You find your group acting and apparently thinking as one being rather than as separate individuals. I emphasise the word ‘creativity’ as I don’t want to confuse this state with the strict adherence to a drilled routine, - maybe I’m wrong, but synchronised swimming feels to me to be about strict compliance rather than about ‘flow’ – and it only works in highly controlled environments, - not so good if there are unpredictable tides, currents or waves which impact variably on each team member.

It’s just a wonderful feeling when a group of Humans create this collective flow together, - fabulous too of we could use the ability to avoid conflict amongst us.

As Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International expresses it:

“Birds fly about high in the sky. Yet it does not happen that two birds collide with one another. Again, many fish live in the sea. Yet it is unheard of for two fish to bump into each other. In the immense breadth of the sky and the sea, birds and fish live and move about freely because of their instinctive knowledge of the routes of the sky and the sea as well as the principles that govern the processes of flight and swimming.

In the same way, when living in accordance with the Law [he refers here to the fundamental laws of humanity and nature]….human beings will not uselessly collide with one another. They will not come into conflict with each other on account of minor negative feelings such as jealousy, hatred and arrogance, thus creating unhappiness and misfortune for themselves”