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“Something to Sleep on Newsletter from 04/15/2018”

Quote I am Pondering: “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” – Abraham Maslow

A Key To Success Lies in Connecting with People’s Higher Level Needs

In a recent article I asked how a 20% increase in productivity and profitability would impact your business. A no-brainer, right? Anyone responsible for running a company can imagine countless ways they and their stakeholders would benefit. This gist of the article was the role employee engagement plays in driving company performance. Again, no surprise here. But, what is employee engagement? The greatest drivers of change come from understanding and appealing to each person’s self-interest and need for self-fulfillment … what Abraham Maslow’s called self-actualization.

Maslow was a American psychologist who probably did as much to help us understand human motivation as anyone in his field. Although he published his greatest work, A Theory of Human Motivation in the first half of the 20th Century, his seminal insights still live with us. We remember the salient takeaway from this work as the “Hierarchy of Needs”. The first five levels of human need (in later years he added a sixth, self-transcendence, but we will skip that one for now) are: physiological, safety and security, social belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

Too often, when we think of motivating people , the focus has been on the need for safety and security (such things as financial security, job security, a safe workplace) or social belonging (get-togethers, snacks, Foosball tables, even an occasional perfunctory “pat on the back”) and have given short shrift to the things that really matter in the grand scheme of things … self-esteem, self-fulfillment, self-awareness, the realization of an individual’s full potential in the pursuit of excellence … these are the things that truly drive sustainable employee performance.

So, the next time you’re strategizing on ways to grow your business, increase profitability, improve quality and customer satisfaction, focus on ways in which you can connect with the “higher level” needs of your workforce. It could make all the difference between just getting by and truly breaking away from the pack.

Empathy … A Wellspring for Innovation

I recently read an insightful article by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the role of empathy in sparking innovation. In the article, Nadella points out that while empathy “is a quality one doesn’t typically see on a list of top CEO character traits” it is a key source of business innovation. In his words it is a “wellspring for innovation, since innovation comes from one’s ability to grasp customers’ unmet, unarticulated needs.” I heartily recommend this short read.

And by the way, let’s not forget that empathy, at the end of the day, is also a key to tapping into people’s esteem and self-actualization.

Weekly Question:

My question this week is simple. Can you name three things you have done in the past week that truly connected with people … in a way that motivated them to realize their full potential in pursuit of excellence?

For over thirty years, Mike has been actively involved, as a coach, entrepreneur, scientist, business executive and management consultant, in the areas of executive leadership, organizational development and change management, strategic planning and execution, and financial analysis. He has provided strategic, operational and financial leadership to small and medium-sized firms, as well as Fortune 500 companies and large government organizations, in a broad range of industries. Mike holds BS and PhD degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has had additional training in finance and accounting, strategic planning and management, leadership development, and succession planning, from various top-tier institutions.

Mike Cobb

Mike has provided strategic, operational and financial leadership to small and medium-sized firms, as well as Fortune 500 companies and large government organizations, in a broad range of industries.

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