Running your own business is like voluntarily hopping on a rollercoaster where you don’t always have the reigns in your hand and have to go with the peaks and valleys of the ride. The last 12 hours have been testing. A bit like Murphy’s law comes into play. Between a few snowflakes conjuring up massive travel delays, a cat walking across my keyboard causing the laptop to malfunction and spending most of the working day on the phone and chat to IT support, I am finding this part of the rollercoaster not so much fun.
In fact most of the time I love the variety that comes with running a business. The highs when you win a new project, the process of going through the various negotiation steps and the ultimate goal for me is always a happy client who loves what they see and gets the results they are after.
What comes out of my challenge today is the strong need for IT tools to be enablers for you to function better or more efficient. In my ongoing quest to find the best suppliers for my client I often face the challenge of platforms or application providers promising a lot in the sales process, but as soon as you go into development and implementation mode they have problems left, right and centre. Problems from timing to execution, what was no problem in the pitch all of a sudden becomes a major add-on development, time lines being questioned etc.
As a female business owner it is often frustrating to then on top of it deal with the condescending attitude of the male technical counterparts. They all of a sudden pretend to be superior human deities beyond questioning of “silly woman without IT savvy”. Having worked in tech support and continuing to study the latest of trends and adding coding to my arsenal of skills so I can overcome the BS I get served, it is interesting to see them justify bad arguments when questioned. I would love to be able to say this is a rare occurrence, but unfortunately it isn’t.
When I look at it from a service provider perspective where our designs work hand in hand with IT, I tend to absorb the frustration so my end-user clients (who often are female) do not have to get exposed to this kind of treatment. I find the more detailed I am up-front, the less wiggle room there will be later. In our designs I tend to be a stickler for details, because from experience if I don’t spell it out exactly then the IT provider and ultimately my clients may not get what we intended for.
I see some people in our market place selling gamification as the be and end all solution to any problem, yet the reality is just like any solution to improve processes gamification is an enabler and enhancer. When deployed in a digital fashion each touchpoint should have value and meaning adding to productivity and enjoyment of an existing business process. Achieving flow in terms of work is often best reached when you are fully absorbed in the process rather than distracted by other things. For me flow is something I notice after the facts, when I look at the clock and realise time has flown by or when I feel really pleased with progress. I think is in aiding people to achieve flow states is where the true value lies of gamification and where it then becomes the enabler that my IT today failed to be.
How do you know you have achieved flow?