Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Maslow’


March 15, 2012 Leave a comment

In case you were wondering how to pronounce the title of this post, it’s “thoo-errs“. It rhymes with “Dewar’s“.

During the rise of the “institution” in the 1900s, Taylorism produced the segregated thinkers/doers model of operation (as shown on the left in the figure below) in order to get things done. Most doers were uneducated and assumed to be lazy/unmotivated barbarians.The “superior” thinkers created the framework of how/what/when work was done; hired some doers; tightly monitored and controlled the process of production.

Relative to the institution-less past, the segregated Thinkers/Doers modus of operandi was an improvement. Via an exchange of pay for work done, institutions provided the means for doers to satisfy Maslow‘s level one/two physiological needs for themselves and their families.

The vast majority of institutions today still operate in accordance with (a milder and veiled form of) Taylor’s segregated thinker-doer model. However, there are some gems (Zappos, Morningstar, Semco, Gore, HCL) out there that operate according the “thoer” model – where everyone is both a thinker and a doer. Although they’re hard to ferret out, these gems proactively provide a work environment in which all 5 levels of Maslow’s hierarchy are attainable to all stakeholders within the organization – not just those in the upper echelons.

Pyramid Conversion

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

In this Inc. blog post, Joie de Vivre hotel chain founder Chip Conley says:

The most contagious emotion in most companies is fear. Most companies do such a poor job communicating that most employees get stuck in a place of survival and don’t have a lot of room for creativity, innovation, or ingenuity.

Every survey that’s been done in the U.S. tends to show money is not the primary, secondary, or third; It’s fourth place on why people leave their jobs.

We took the Maslow pyramid and turned it into an employee pyramid with three basic themes: survival the base, succeed at the middle, and transformation at the top. Applying that to employees, it’s money, recognition, and meaning.

Once people are satisfied with how much money they are making, the next human desire they need fulfilled at work is recognition. According to Conley: “What really is meaningful to people is genuine appreciation shown in real time“. The key words are “genuine” and “real time“. I interpret this to mean; not months after a significant accomplishment has been achieved or once a year at an all hands meeting where a boring and generic “atta boy” is delivered from on-high down to the DICforce.

If you just sit in the control tower and solely monitor the numbers that result from the effort without recognizing the effort itself in the moment, then you’re behaving just like the herd and you deserve what you get – mediocrity. Mooooooooooo.

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