Organizational Hierarchy of Needs

What is the formula for driving high performance organizations? Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, an organization has a hierarchy of needs. In 1943, Maslow proposed a theory on human motivation. His theory has five levels: “Physiological,” “Safety,” “Belonging and Love,” “Social” or “Esteem,” and “Self-Actualization” (in this order). These levels describe the pattern through which an individual’s motivations move. Each level must be satisfied before motivation can occur at the next level. The goal is to reach the highest level, self-actualization.

In the organizational hierarchy of needs, the five levels are “People First,” “Customer Satisfaction,” “Company Culture,” “Continuous Improvement,” and “Innovating and Pioneering.” Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the goal of an organization is to mature at each level in order to move up and reach the highest level, Innovating and Pioneering.

At the People First level, the company is focused on creating a productive and nurturing environment. Employees feel that the company cares, provides the support needed to be successful and takes care of them. When employees aren’t worrying about themselves, they can focus on the customer. Integral to this level is having the right office space. Cresa brokers and project managers can assist in the selection of the best possible space and converting that space into a powerhouse work environment.

When the People First level is satisfied, the company focuses on Customer Satisfaction. In this level, the company works to delight customers in a consistent, repetitive manner creating raving fans.

The combination of achieving these first two levels leads to creating a Company Culture. Processes are solidified and best practices are shared. Metrics are established and execution discipline is instilled. Employees are trained and the culture is adopted.

At this point, the organization is ready to move to the next level, Continuous Improvement. This includes analyzing metrics and methodically acting to improve results. Upon achieving improvements, changes are standardized and propagated through the organization.

After achieving the Continuous Improvement level, the organization can begin to look for the next product or service. Now, the company is in the Innovating and Pioneering level. The organization may become a leader in its industry, branch out into a different industry, or create a wholly new product or service.

It is important to take a step back and assess where your organization is in its organizational development. Then, focus efforts to shore up levels. With today’s speed of change it is possible to drop a level or two quickly. I suggest making the organization development assessment part of your organization’s strategic planning process. Think of this like an annual physical. How healthy is your organization?