Wednesday, March 27, 2013

All roads to needs lead to Maslow

Maslow. If you have already heard of him, then you are either read a lot of business books or are a student of psychology. When the topic of motivation is discussed, there are seldom a book or a serious discussion that doesn't describe Maslow. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the widely discussed theory when it comes to motivation. I say widely discussed. I may even stretch the words and meanings to say widely adopted. But I will never say widely implemented.

In a nutshell, the theory points out what is needed to motivate a person. There are 5 levels, the fifth level is the state of nirvana. The traditional carrot-and-stick approach is not the only factor that leads to improved productivity. If you are able to develop the feeling of belonging to a person, he/she can do wonders to your cause. In today's world, a manager is constantly searching for various means to motivate his/her team. At the same time, it is sad to see most of the people struggling to break the carrot-and-stick barrier.

It is easy to comprehend and speak. So everyone talks about Maslow's hierarchy of needs eloquently and often animatedly. To put it into practice is the most difficult part. A long time ago, my manager was discussing strategies on a product. After talking about what various actions that will help sales, he said this will eventually bring down the competitor and enable us to rule the world. At this point, I had a big smile on my face.

If you analyze it further as a cynic, this is only a piece of software. This is never make us rule the world. But he effortlessly put the possibility of ruling the world. In simple words, it is going to fetch fame for us. A new desire is created which did not exist before. This new desire is also a strong catalyst for igniting the creativity and also burning midnight oil. This was the reason for my smile.

Mind games are dangerous. You shouldn't play it. It is not everlasting. If you play this a lot, you yourself will be sucked into it very soon. Without losing your integrity, are you able to use Maslow in motivating others? If so, I would like to hear from you.

Tags: Musings,Maslow,Motivation



  1. You know what, I never thought how invaluable Maslow's mechanism was until I explained it to someone close to me. I realized just a few days ago how very crucial it is in understanding WHY people who are grossly talented and potential-filled, lead a non-productive, aimless and futile life as a homo-sapien, ending up without adding any value to our species.

    I discovered the power of Maslow's Theory, and its foundation in character building and opening up new avenues of self-discovery in individuals. Afterall didn't some famous scientist say (was it Einstein?) that thousands of geniuses die in this world everyday, without getting discovered by someone, or even worse, without discovering self.

    It is ONE good god-damn correct statement.

    3 thumbs up to Maslow! :)

    1. Maslow is a genius. He explains how to tap the hidden potential. The exceptional cases to these are how startups hire people, how exceptionally talented people remain in one organization for longer time, how some people refuse to leave their teams etc. The hard part of the theory is practicing it. Everybody talks about this but fail to implement. For implementing this, we as a leader as to reinvent ourselves. :)

  2. I love Maslow's concept of self-actualisation. I think the real purpose of life is nothing other than self-actualisation.

    1. Yes, you are right. But do we succeed to reach there? Isn't that the big question?

  3. I have not heard this term before but interested to know what it is. i t shall be beneficial to me if you may kindly refer some entry level simple books to know about it.

    1. I'm not sure if there is one single book dedicated on this subject. The best way to understand the theory is to follow the hyperlink (to wiki article), I have given inside the post. Maslow's theory is quoted in many of the self-help book. The famous book I could think of is "7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey.


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