Too Much Of One Personality Leads To Culture Collision
Back in the 1950s there was developed a simple, yet effective, description of the psychological needs that drive an individual.
It’s called “The Needs Wheel”.
I was introduced to this concept when reading a book by Hyrum Smith, founder of the Franklin Planner and later Franklin Covey. His book “The 10 Natural Laws Of Successful Time And Life Management” devoted the fifth law to a life model based on the Needs Wheel.
The Needs Wheel was developed by Dr. Murray Banks and about a decade after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was published. It simplified the basic needs that drive human behavior into 4 core needs:
- The need to LIVE
- The need to LOVE AND BE LOVED
- The need to FEEL IMPORTANT
- The need to experience VARIETY
The observational theory behind the needs wheel is that while all four needs are essential to any person, each individual has a weighted need that draws more attention than the other needs. As long as all four needs on the wheel are being met, the person’s life rolls along.
So when too much of a core need is not being met, the individual is off balance. The wheel goes flat and their life gets stuck in trying to compensate. All focuses and energies go towards meeting that need.
And if that particular need is out of proportion to everything else in their life, the need becomes all consuming, dominating the individual and quite possibly everyone in who they come in contact with.
While this is true for individuals, such as leaders, consider the impact to an organization. If the needs across the company are fairly evenly distributed among leadership, things can assume to roll nicely along. But if the organization as a whole has a need not being met among it’s leaders, such as the need to feel important, then the company is destined for a cultural collision.
That’s why a balanced approached to having people in your organization that have personalities and needs in alignment with your core values is essential to a healthy corporate body. Consider what can happen to a company if particularly the leadership:
- Has an overwhelming desire to live, to survive. Tough financial times would mean employees were not safe but the executives’ salaries and bonuses were.
- Collectively needed to love and be loved. There could be a passive leadership model that would enable poor employee behaviors and not help with a proper balance of accountability.
- Were out of balance in feeling important. Workplace bullying, passive-aggressive behaviors and overt drive to make their numbers look the best in the company could create a toxic culture.
- Wanted to experience variety over all else. Strategic planning might occur every other month, new initiatives arise and nothing gets moved forward because of chasing the newest, shiniest trend.
The balance of any organization is hiring based on behaviors that match company core values, but also assessing needs to each individual. Keeping a tapestry of balance in any organization, large or small, is a challenging task at best. What gets difficult is when the majority of leadership (and employee behaviors as well) are skewed towards filling a need that can derail the mission and create a cultural collision.
Be mindful of the balance of your people throughout your entire organization. Finds ways to meet the needs in placement of roles, team dynamics, job fulfillment and professional development.
Understand how to keep your organization’s needs wheel rolling so you don’t get stuck with a flat on the way to achieving your purpose.