|Ron Friedman, Ph.D. <email@example.com>
One challenge we all face on a daily basis is deciding how best to invest our time. In many jobs, the possibilities are infinite. And the higher up you climb, the more freedom you get.
So how do you choose what to work on next?
Business author Mike Michalowicz has a clever solution. In his upcoming book, Fix This Next, Michalowicz offers a roadmap to help business leaders and entrepreneurs decide where to focus their attention.
If you’ve taken a psychology class, it’s likely to look familiar. That’s because Michalowicz’s approach builds on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Maslow believed we can’t achieve our full potential until we’ve first satisfied our basic, lower-level needs—like the need for food and water (which he called “physiological”), safety and belonging.
Michalowicz suggests that a similar idea applies to the world of business. In order for an organization to function at its best, they also need to satisfy a number of basic, lower-level needs as well.
Here’s Michaelowicz’s business hierarchy of needs:
To celebrate the release of Fix This Next, I invited Mike Michaelowicz to share a few insights he discovered while writing the book.
Here’s what he had to say:
Mike, take us through your model. How does it work?
Within Maslow’s Hierarchy, the base is physiological, then there is safety, followed by belonging and love, esteem, and finally, self-actualization. The Business Hierarchy of Needs follows this model by replacing our human needs with those of our business. So you have sales (the base-level), profit, order, impact, and legacy.
The Business Hierarchy of Needs is the compass that moves your business towards the vision you originally had. By applying it, you can assess your business to see what requires repair.
When something is broken in our business, our first instinct is to sell more, when chances are we really need to put a better profit or efficiency system in place. You may think you want to have an impact and a legacy, but you don’t have the efficiency to support it. By using The Business Hierarchy of Needs, you’ll revert to the base level needs, and then make sure they are met before you elevate to higher levels.
How do you figure out where your organization stands on the Business Hierarchy of Needs?
You always start at the base level of the Business Hierarchy of Needs (sales) and, going upward, you ask two questions: “Is there any?” and “Is it adequate?”
For example, are there any sales? If there are no sales, you have a sales problem, and you’re not creating cash. If there are sales, then the second question is, “Are there adequate sales to support a degree of profit.” If yes, then you go to the profit level, and you ask, “Is there any?” and “Is it adequate?” We keep repeating this question sequence up through the levels until the answer is no.
Once you figure out where you stand on the pyramid, what do you do next?
Once you know where you are in the Business Hierarchy of Needs, that’s the challenge you tackle.
If you have multiple needs that are not satisfied, always revert to the most foundational need. That’s our vital need. We have to have a strong enough foundation to support the levels above it.
The important thing you need to understand is that the Business Hierarchy of Needs is not a ladder. It is not about climbing to the top and waving at your friends below. You will climb, but you will also go back down as you cycle through to build a stronger, healthier foundation.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief interview and found at least one valuable insight that you can use. You can learn more about Fix This Next (and support your local bookstore), by going right over here.
All the best,
Ron Friedman, Ph.D.
(Book) The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace
(Speaking) Presentation Highlights