What is the AIR process? 2 min read
The AIR Process
AIR is a simple three-step process to rapidly identify whether you or your team are operating under stress, are disengaged or -alternatively- whether you are achieving deep work and flow. The concept of deep work and flow are related. Deep work was introduced by Cal Newport in his book ‘‘Deep Work - rules for focused success in a distracted world’’ while “flow” was introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Flow - the classic work on how to achieve happiness”.
The AIR process involves three steps: Assessing, Identifying and Reorienting
During the assessment step you must think holistically about all the things you are doing in your current work, all the people you work with (direct reports like team members as well as the person you report to), stakeholders such as customers or clients, etc. You make a list of all the skills and challenges involved. For each, copy the coloured dot that best represents that person and place their coloured dot in the “flow and deep work” diagram taking into consideration the skills they have and the challenges they face at work or in a project. For example, if you have an enormously challenging new project for which you do not have adequate skills then place a blue dot representing “Myself” at coordinates (X, Y) representing low skill and high challenge. Repeat for as many projects, individuals, teams, skills and challenges as you can think of.
At the identification step, from the assessment list, identify the skills-challenges pairs that are ”at-risk”, that is, that have landed on the panic, stressed, bored or disengaged regions. If this is the first time you carry out the AIR process you might need to calibrate where each of these regions are; for different people, teams or companies the exact boundaries positions may vary. Create a list of the at-risk pairs.
Finally, reorient: for each pair in the at-risk list, decide on the top 3 things you can do within the next month to move the pair from an at-risk region towards the flow and deep work zone. If it will take more than a month to do it, then you need to go back to the beginning (assessment step) and decompose the skills-challenge pair further down into smaller and simpler items.
Furnished with this action for at-risk pairs proceed to move yourself and your team towards flow and deep work.
Download AIR Canvas
You can download and editable versions of the AIR canvas by clicking here.