What an amazing book – Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow. It was written by Chip Conley, the founder of the Joie De Vivre Hospitality, the second largest boutique hotelier in the world. The book describes how Conley used the principles of Maslow’s Hierarchy to overcome the storm that hit the travel industry after 9/11.
If you’re like me you’ve probably heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy but couldn’t explain exactly what it was or meant. So as a quick refresher, Abraham Maslow developed one of the most famous theories of human motivation. In his book, Chip Conley takes these theories and applies them to business in a very compelling way.
Maslow believed that each of us has base needs (i.e. food and money) and after those needs are met we move up the pyramid (shown below) to higher needs—like safety and shelter, belonging to a community, recognition and self-esteem and finally self-actualization, which is pursuing talent, creativity and achieving fulfillment. We are always focusing on the lowest unmet need.
So how does this translate to your business? Your employees have base needs like money, but they also have higher needs too. For today’s post, I’d like to focus on the Employee Pyramid as described in the book, which has 3 levels, shown below.
Employees have basic compensation needs that must be met, which creates base motivation. After those are met, employees look for recognition in the workplace and finally meaning. Money and recognition I understand, but the top of the pyramid – meaning – is more challenging, at least for me. You know the whole “man’s search for meaning” thing can be tough to get your arms around, right? Trying to provide a work life that is meaningful for employees can be very challenging indeed.
Companies over the years have tried to foster a sense of meaning at work, connecting the employees with the company and its mission by creating mission statements. Most of these were too long, not really meaningful and often employees didn’t relate to them. So Conley decided to create a shorter mission statement, which became “creating opportunities to celebrate the joy of life”. But even that shortened to just “create joy”.
Create Joy is a two-word mantra that describes the mission of Joie De Vivre Hospitality, while communicating who they are and what they are about. The president, Jack Kenny, has a sign outside his door asking each employee that sees it “What did you do today to Create Joy?” Create Joy is a great mantra for the hospitality business, and I think very inspirational. And a short, meaningful mantra is one that can be easily remembered which is important when trying to get everyone on the same page.
What is your company mantra? What 2 to 4 word phrase describes your company’s mission? That’s a tough question. I asked myself the same question…..what is Upright Communications’ mantra, what is our mission? Often I’ve agonized over heady questions like these, but in this case, our mantra came to mind in 15 seconds:
Make A Difference
Our mission is to make a difference in our client’s business. This can take a number of different directions— like helping them develop more sales leads, showing them how to enhance their reputations, saving them money, getting more visitors to their websites and building their brand. We try to focus on activities that will make a difference in their business and hopefully their lives too.
During our weekly meetings we review what’s happening with each client and as we go down the list, the first question is “how are we making a difference for this client?” I find it very inspirational, and it seems to give us a higher sense of meaning in our work. You should give it a try for your business. If you would like help to identify your mission mantra, give us a call!