Maslow, Motivation, and More… Part I


Time: 9:48pm CST
Date: Last Evening

Mood: Positively Excited
Location: 44.262512,-88.478597

Temperature: Start at freezing…
then subtract 37 Degrees, Fahrenheit.

Yeah… I know, it’s nuts.

Though I suppose after awhile you do kinda get used to it… you know, like the story of the frog that is boiling… only in this case, the frog is freezing its buns off!

But alas, I digress.

Anyway, as I traveled I thought about savoring a voluminous Cafe Americano over the latest issue of Harvard Business Review, and how that would likely benefit me in more ways than one… so I stopped to enjoy the atmosphere of a favorite bookstore thirty minutes from home.

As I placed my order and picked up the publication… my mind still dwelt on a phone conversation I had finished just minutes earlier. You know, stuff like proper goal setting, effective motivation, and our role as leaders in moving the dial forward for our organizations and… more importantly, for our people.

Taking a chair by the fireplace, I opened at random to an article about… this was so cool… motivating employees!!

Imagine that.


Thirty years ago, I remember thinking that financial compensation was the prime motivator in business, and no one could have told me any different at the time.

Of course, this likely had much to do with Abraham Maslow, the “Hierarchy of Human Needs”, and the fact that I saw donating plasma as a legitimate part-time job!

Sorry… another digression.

But, at some point… as we fulfill our basic physiological requirements and eliminate our concerns for safety and security… other needs, higher needs… become more important.

Easy stuff.

So… back to the HBR article. They asked six hundred or so executives to identify what is most important to their people… what are their employee’s needs… what one variable is most important in motivating the entire team to win.

Here, in no particular order is my paraphrase of the choices they were given from which to choose… they are, of course, our choices as well.

* Financial Incentives and Benefits
* Social Interaction and Interpersonal Support
* Recognition for Their Achievements
* Progress in Reaching Objectives
* Formulation and Communication of Clear Goals

Go ahead and choose one… and we’ll pick up the discussion again tomorrow. I look forward to hearing from you.


Photo Credit:

Vintage Daydream