Going with the flow – or where East meets West

As I’m camping in Sweden with my family right now, there are always those early morning, looking over a lake with only the sound of awakening birds, that I get even more philosophical as I already am by nature.

Recently I finished reading a book called ‘Flow‘ (dutch only for now) by former Olympic Medallist Speed-skating Mark Tuitert. It’s his second book describing how he both personally and as an athlete benefited from some of the concepts of Stoicism. This book specifically is about the concept of Flow and how sometimes things go smooth (not easy) when you focus on the right things, things that matter and not let ephemeral stuff distract you. I also have been reading a lot about Stoicism in the last few years and it has helped me a lot, both personally and professionally.

This of course remind me of the Lean concept of Kanban that comes close to the concept of Flow as well. Kanban is also about the idea of organising everything around a value stream that drives value for your customers, and then creating a continuous flow of value to meet the demand. This only works when you eliminate stuff that doesn’t matter (waste – muda), standardise and simplify your processes.

In both ‘philosophies’ metaphors of a river come to surface. The ultimate visualisation of flow. Marcus Aurelius talks about how a river always finds its course and that any obstacle will be passed. Lean management talks about studying the flow of value meticulously and taking away any obstacles.

Just yesterday I had no idea what day it was, it lost all sense of time. When it started raining, we just pick up a book or do a boardgame with friends. From a vacation-perspective I’m in my flow and there are little obstacles to keep me from my flow.

Looking forward going back to work in a couple of days, helping others find their flow.