Business Growth & Strategy

The Secrets of Organizational Agility #3: It’s about Flow/Triage/Calm

Agility is complicated (The Secrets of Organizational Agility #2:  It’s Complicated in Three Dimensions)  and, as a result, it’s an “AND” proposition (The Secrets of Organizational Agility #1:  It’s an “AND” Proposition) in three dimensions.

In particular, the 3rd dimension of journey orientation has emerged as the primary dimension around which we must reframe our approach.  As a longitudinal continuum from the present forwards (moments, hours, days, weeks, months, quarters) and the future backwards (1, 3, 5 and maybe 10 years out),  this is an orientation to our journey as an unfolding flow of detail complexity and dynamic complexity (Detail Complexity and Dynamic Complexity).  Increasingly, the devil is in the dynamics, not just the details.  Tuning into the anatomy of dynamic complexity and agile methods to master it, this 3rd dimension of journey orientation is about coming to terms with:

  • Flow
  • Triage
  • Calm


In his book, “Flow:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says:

We have all experienced times when, instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration. A deep sense of enjoyment that is long, cherished and that becomes a landmark in memory of what life should be like.  That is what we mean by optimal experience.  The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.  Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen

The optimal experience of flow is not something that happens by accident, it is something that we have to make happen and work at.


Our work has changed.  These days, it is much more like an ongoing, dynamic process of triage.  Triage is an acute form of priority, time and resource management, in complex situations which are unfolding real-time with high stakes.  Think battle field scenarios, natural disasters, aircraft accidents and the like.  Demand for resources massively exceeds supply and we have no choice but to triage and outcomes depend upon how well we do that.


Colin Powel says leadership is about “keeping your head while all around you are losing theirs”.  James Newton says leadership is about “being a non anxious presence in an anxious system”.  These days, leaders are in a perfect storm – a never ending flow of uncertainty, turbulence and volatility, coming at us thicker and faster all the time, with the devil in the details and the dynamics.  Staying cool, composed and collected is essential to remaining calm in the eye of the storm.

In the Driving Seat of our car, this all comes naturally.  We are calm, in the flow of our journey, triaging the details and the dynamics, with hardly giving it all a second thought.  So, when we pull in the parking lot outside out office and walk inside, what happens to these natural abilities?  How do we get ourselves in the same mode In the Driving Seat of our business as we are In the Driving Seat of our car?  Find out more at

Category: Business Growth & Strategy


Mike Richardson About the Author: Mike Richardson

Mike Richardson is an agility pioneer, dedicated to cracking the code of organizational agility for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things, making possible tomorrow what seems impossible today with Learn More

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