Flow, Mastery and the League of Extraordinary Dancers

The League of Extraordinary Dancers performance at the February 2010 TED is the most amazing performance I’ve ever seen.  Have you ever watched the TED videos?  How about the performances?  I’ve overlooked the performances until last week.  I recently stumbled upon The LXD (League of Extraordinary Dancers) performance at this year’s TED.  LXD is an example of taking optimal experience to its outer limits.  

These dancers are fully engaged in their art, they have to be extremely dedicated to develop this level of skill.  Michalyi  Csikszentmihalyi’s research on Flow, the science of optimal performance, says that anyone in just about any line of work can experience flow and develop mastery.  His research spans fields from science and the arts to factory workers.  How would you like to look forward to going to work, to get lost in your work and feel great about what you’re doing?  Giving our workers the freedom to define their work and how they do it is the the way to start down this path. 

Gallup has done extensive research on the engagement of the US workforce, it’s estimated that about 50% of US workers are not engaged and that 20% are actively unengaged with their work.  The estimated cost to US companies for employees that aren’t into their work: 300 billion dollars a year.  In some parts of the world only 3% of employees are engaged.  It’s time we focused on letting our workers do work in ways they find engaging, lets put command and control to rest permanently!  Are you listening managers and CEO’s?