Flow: A Key to Happiness


In Roko Belic’s Oscar-nominated documentary, Happy (2011), the film discusses, among other things, how

people who experience flow on a regular basis are happier.

As a process excellence practitioner I can personally attest to the phenomena of individuals and groups of people working in a process that is in a state of lean flow — little or no interruption to value-adding tasks, tasks that flow from to another at a steady pace (no jarring peaks and valleys) etc. Activities as diverse as cooking, rock climbing, and writing all can achieve this state and when it occurs the people working in these processes are more engaged and happier. In service businesses, this has positive effects for the customer directly in the form of a positive and engaged interaction with employees.

On the other hand, employees who work in toxic processes that are unlean and do not flow are less engaged, less motivated and often just down-right surly.

Lean flow is important for reasons of efficiency and productivity, but there benefits just as big in the realms of employee heath and engagement, discretionary effort and superior products and service delivery for customers.