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Maslow’s Consulting Framework for Building a Great Workplace Culture: Culture-Actualization

Our programs connect the dots between individual, team and organizational potential, leading to culture-actualization in the 21st century workplace

From Self-Actualization to Culture-Actualization

Inspired by the work of late American Psychologist Abraham Maslow on Self-Actualization, we are researching what a self-actualizing organization would look like in the 21st century workplace. Self-actualization is about the realization of an individual’s potential, but how can an individual realize their potential at work independent of others? Hence the big question is how an organization can actualize their collective potential, all together. 

At Maslow, we work with leaders to build humanized, impactful & high performing organizations through a critical process we call culture-actualization.  Culture-actualization is when an organization can uncover and effectively use individual and organizational potential for a triple bottom line impact. In order to move towards culture-actualization, leaders play an instrument role.  When a leader can role model self-actualization, then they are best primed to continue to meet their people’s basic needs, psychological and growth needs at work, which are the key indicators of this successful process we call culture-actualization.

This article is a summary of our framework and solutions to help leaders and organizations realize their potential.

Why Do We Need to Focus on Culture-Actualization?

We now know that Client Experience (CX) drives KPIs, and Employee Experience (EX) drives Client Experience. So, if organizations can create a great client experience, it goes all the way to end goals and KPIs. Culture-Actualization helps organizations understand the key levels for building a great employee experience and a great workplace culture.

Corporate culture is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, written and unwritten rules that have developed over time and are considered valid. The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization might be seeming to work on the surface, however it could also be causing disengagement, burnout, and (lack of) psychological safety which ultimately is costing the organization.

While the big reset is being discussed in the World Economic Forum, research from Gallup (2021) and Korn Ferry (2021) pinpoint to how 50-70% of employees are open to change their jobs for equal and less pay, if they are going to move to a better workplace culture. Culture and employee experience is the key competitive advantage of the coming decade. While some organizations will live the great attrition of losing employees, some will live the great attraction of on-boarding talent. Employee engagement, which is about the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, is what leaders need to learn to do better. According to Gallup, the ROI of high engagement in organizations is directly linked to higher customer metrics, productivity, sales, quality, safety, and profitability. With highly engaged employees we also see lower absenteeism, and less turn-over. Furthermore, according to Great Place to Work Institute (2019), the ROI of building a great workplace culture provides more than three times its return.

How are you addressing the changing workplace dynamics in the post-covid era? How is it impacting your people and the current culture? How are you shaping your desired culture? What are the points of pain in your culture? What is working well? What support do you need?

While most of us use the terms culture, engagement, and employee experience, we found how a language of human needs and understanding human needs at work enabled improved culture action plans. Ultimately what we want to co-create with you is an alignment between your culture and strategy – people, and operations.

Implementation of Culture Actualization

Our approach to providing organizations the framework to sustain culture-actualization is methodical and robust. Using our research findings on The New Hierarchy of Needs at Work, we built a framework towards assuring implementation and behaviour change of leaders through coaching and building a culture of coaching.

The following outlines Maslow’s consulting approach:

  1. Assess & Analyze: With a strong transformative consulting approach and before offering solutions for moving your organizational culture challenges forward, our consultants bring expertise to first and foremost thoroughly understand your needs at work. Through our own Maslow Culture Assessment (Employee Needs Audit) we determine a sample size of employees and the best approach for your organization (focus groups, motivational interviews, empathic research) to identify your organizations cultural strengths and gaps. This process includes individual leadership assessments and/or existing surveys that your organization is already accustomed to. Moreover, we help organizations select the most relevant survey to create an accurate baseline gap analysis which will inform the direction of the consulting partnership, the Culture Action Plan, and our proposed solutions (Gallup Q12, CultureAmp, Engagement Surveys, Great Place to Work Trust Index etc).
  2. Strategize & Align: Executive alignment is one of the key drivers to accelerate the culture-actualization process. Our research reveals that Leadership Cohesiveness, meaning the leaders of an organization working well together, being a real team among themselves, pulls the whole organization to a higher place. The North Star alignment conversations are critical before building the Culture Action Plan (CAP). During this process we clearly identify the ‘From’ Culture to the desired ‘To’ Culture and ensure that the direction we are headed fits with the organizational North Star. This transformative dialogue starts with the Executive leadership team. A key understanding of our culture-actualization framework includes that of the transformative learning model, whereby challenges are identified and before jumping to actions and solutions, discussions, dialogue, and reflection are encouraged, particularly at the executive leadership level.
  3. Empower & Evolve: In this step, we focus on empowering the leadership team and helping them grow and evolve through coaching and coach education. Our unique approach to Executive Coaching brings together coaching for strategy, culture, and leadership influence. We have a distinctive synthesis on coaching that brings together multiple modalities, approaches, styles, and individual and organizational assessments, and we are not limited to a single approach in coaching. Our key differentiator is that we continuously coach for self-actualization and culture-actualization so that we are meeting the needs of people at work. We offer the following solutions to transform your culture through coaching:
  4. Executive & Culture Coaching: We coach the whole leadership team based on the company’s strategic agenda of transformation, M&As, or growth. We assure that leaders walk the talk on strategy implementation or role model the culture transformation through our regular 1:1 or team coaching sessions. 
    • Leader as a Coach Training Program: The Maslow Certified Coach Leader Program (MCCL), recognized by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) empowers your leaders to lead not by title and power, but through influence. Our program is laser focused on coaching at work and enables leaders to have better career conversations, performance reviews and bring coaching into their day-to-day tasks focused meetings.
    • Leadership & Culture Labs: Our Labs are custom programs that bring cohorts of leaders creating opportunities for continuous reflection and dialogue, peer-to-peer learning and experimentation of new behaviours. based on the agreed Culture Action Plan (CAP).
    • Strengths-based Coaching: Building a strengths-based culture and leadership practices contributes to both self-actualization and culture-actualization. Using the Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment, we provide customized 1:1 leadership and/or team coaching to maximize personal and team effectiveness and performance.   
  5. Sustain Culture Actualization: Our programs connect the dots between individual, team and organizational potential, leading to culture actualization in the 21st century workplace. Through continuous consulting, coaching and training with accountability to drive the Culture Action Plan (CAP) forward, coupled with implementation and sub-culture management, our highly customized culture-actualization process is critical for thriving and creating real impact in the new reality of the 21st Century workplace. And, we know that, the 22nd century is counting on it!

At the end of the day, you just ask yourself, “How did our vision and values influence decisions I made today?” If they did not, then they are pretty much BS.

– Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

About Maslow

We are global thought leaders on Coaching for Culture-Actualization, built on our research and experience in culture transformation. Our understanding of the human needs / employee experience at work in this era of constant change, empowers leaders to become caring, empathetic, and human-centered.   

The three pillars of our work: research, teaching and coaching drives our thought leadership and client impact.

  • Our research informs our work with unique frameworks & tools. These resources are then used to create great workplaces realizing human potential.
  • Our school of coaching empowers participants to become certified coaches through our International Coaching Federation (ICF) accredited programs.
  • Our coaching practice accelerates culture actualization through our coaching and consulting services.