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Book Recommendation: Real Flow by Brandi Olson

Real Flow: Break the Burnout Cycle and Unlock High Performance in the New World of Work: Your organization is capable of higher performance than you imagined possible when you shift to Real Flow.

Business leaders have seen it before. Teams that should be achieving great work with ease are caught in a wild frenzy of competing priorities. Gradually their people suffer burnout, innovation evaporates, and time and energy are wasted on the wrong problems.

Thanks to this organizational multitasking, their organization is flooding from the pressure to do it all. But there is an unexpected solution to achieve high performance once again.

Organizational agility expert Brandi Olson brings front and center what happens when an organization chases too many priorities simultaneously. Featuring extensive interviews with organizational leaders, Real Flow demonstrates the principles of flow that will create the environment teams need to achieve and sustain high performance.

Integrating cognitive science, organizational agility, and lean principles, this is your guide to delivering exceptional value and enabling people to be happy, healthy, and engaged in their work.


  • The costly link between competing priorities, multitasking, and burnout and why no amount of vacation, self-care, or team-building activities will solve it.

  • How to embrace the ecosystem paradigm and the direct impact it has on an organization’s ability to adapt, change, and thrive.

  • Strategies to remedy the burnout problem that don’t involve doing less, expecting less, or shrinking the to-do list.

  • How to redefine performance to maximize human potential for the long term over the short term and what that will do for your teams.

  • The essential practice of limiting work in progress to improve the flow of value, plus the radical effect it has on solving the challenges your organization is facing.

Leaders don’t need to choose between good work and their teams’ well-being. Leading a high-performance organization depends on happy, healthy people. Read Real Flow and cultivate an evidence-driven approach to design a high-performing, agile organization, improve employee retention, and stop the burnout for good.

"Insightful and pragmatic about the realities that companies face every day.... This book helps you put simple but effective strategies in place: outcomes over outputs, less is more, happy and healthy employees, dedicated working time, leaders actually leading by example and creating space to learn and innovate. A must read for all leaders." Amanda Finney, Senior Vice President, Product Management and User Experience Design at Wells Fargo

"Brandi Olson's book explores the business impact and consequence of...misalignment (working on the wrong things), disengagement (and a lack of innovation), to burnout. Brandi reminds us of the reality of business systems and gives us ways to unlearn and rethink how we should be working. A timely book for all leaders of today (and tomorrow)." Evan Leybourn, CEO and cofounder, Business Agility Institute

About the Author

Brandi Olson is an organizational agility expert and the founder of Real Work Done, a consultancy serving leaders through agile transformation, organizational strategy, team design, and executive coaching. She has spent two decades consulting with organizations-from nonprofits to universities to global Fortune 500 companies.

An expert in organizational learning and change, she teaches leaders how to solve problems and adapt fast with high-performing teams. A sought-after speaker on agility and high-performing teams, Brandi lives in Minnesota.


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