Tag Archives: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

What Motivates You?

A friend and I were talking about a few things the other day. He’s considering a new position and we were going over the pros and cons of the opportunity when he asked me a pretty basic question that really doesn’t have a simple answer. Let’s see what you think.

English: Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Resized,...

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The question was “what motivates you?” What he meant was why would I, or anyone, get out of bed in the morning and go to work. He wasn’t looking for a rehash of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs since I think everyone understands that we have to earn money somehow in order to live (unless you’re already wealthy). He was more interested in what would have to appeal to me in a position for me to want to spend as many hours as we all spend working doing that job.

I’ve found over the years that there is no one answer.  Some of the folks with whom I’ve worked are motivated by the need to prove themselves, either to a parent, a significant other, or maybe to a teacher or coach who told them they couldn’t do something.  It’s really an external motivation.  Others are self-motivated – they feel a deep desire to achieve.  Other people just fear failure, while still others are after material rewards.  It probably doesn’t matter since every one of those root causes can produce an excellent worker who feels fulfilled by their job.

I thought about my answer.  It really has changed over the years.  At first it was just the self-motivation to do a good job and to learn as much as I could.  Over time, not wanting to let down my team became really important.  I suppose that some of the other motivations mentioned above were part of the mix as well.  Thinking about it now, I’m at the point where it’s about the challenge itself.  How will it push me?  What will I learn?  How will I grow?  That sound strangely like the self-actualization that Maslow mentions.  Who knew?

So what motivates you?  If someone were to approach you about a new job, as they did my friend, what would be the first question you’d ask and why?

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Filed under Growing up, Thinking Aloud

Shredded Wheat, Honestly

As I was catching up on my reading yesterday, there was a quote in an article which resonated although not in the way the speaker might have hoped.  A brand manager for Shredded Wheat was talking about how his product is basing its new campaign on simplicity (one ingredient) and lack of change (how can you change the one ingredient??).  While I think the campaign is fine, I quibble with this quote:

“There’s been a marked change in American values, with a greater desire for honesty, trustworthiness and security during a time of economic and societal uncertainly…”

I disagree.  Those values have always been there in consumers’ minds.  What’s changed is sort of related to Maslow’s hierarchy.  As people’s economic lives are threatened, the reliance on their very basic consuming needs becomes more visible although those needs have always been there.   There is no “greater desire,” just greater visibility on the surface.

Did anyone you know accept that his Lexus dealer was dishonest because the car was so good?  No.  Marketers who ignore the very basic tenets such as honesty and the other things delineated above are in deep trouble.  While they may talk about a lot of other issues in their campaigns, I believe all consumers want to be able to assume that the ad is honest, the advertiser is honest, and the product is trustworthy.  No amount of great marketing can overcome a bad or dishonest  product.  The same is true of your business even if you’re in a service area.  Am I off base here?

As an aside, we drove right where the wild fires are in Myrtle Beach last week.  Let’s think good thoughts for the folks down there.

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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints