Culture and the Hierarchy of Needs


Culture Simply- On August 3rd, I hosted a discussion about Culture. I titled the discussion Culture Simply. Most of us know that culture is not simple. This facilitated a great discussion about culture and its evolution in today’s society. One of the participants asked if there was any culture expectation for a company, as far as size or age.

Business Evolution– From my observation of businesses, I think the development of the focus on culture evolves in a way that would be similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. First, human beings need food and shelter. Then we can focus on higher-level needs. Starting a business is challenging, so most people do not focus first on culture. The focus is instead on things like cash flow and sales. Once the underlying needs of the business are met, then culture can be addressed.

But do most people realize that they need to have a process around culture? I would venture to say no. I recently met with a young man who’d started a marketing/social media firm. With ten employees, he said that his employees were a happy cohesive group. Maybe they were. However, without a survey, how do we really know how someone feels? Every company has a culture. Some of the cultures may be good solely because the owner is a nice person. However, once an organization reaches a size where the owner is unable to affect each employee, or if the owner responds the way humans do, when things get tough, which is badly, the culture usually needs a process.

Fortunately for today’s employees, culture has become more important to organizations. Companies realize that, in order to keep a good employee, they must provide a desirable work environment. This requires focus on culture. The process to develop a good culture is not easy, and it is not fast, however, it is important, meaningful and satisfying to a business owner to know that employees are happy within their organization.

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