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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

How to Build a Vibrant Culture


We like to describe G2 Solutions’ work as business consultancy with a twist. Our deep understanding of psychology and how it impacts human behavior means that our solutions result in lasting change for leaders and their employees. So we love when a helpful business tool is deeply rooted in psychology.


Barretts Model of leadership and culture development is one of those.

Let’s start with the psychology.

Back in 1932 Abraham Maslow developed a model of human behavior that was revolutionary when it was introduced.

He suggested that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more complex needs. At that time in the field of psychology, there was a lot of focus on problematic behaviors rather than how people worked to achieve happiness.

The original version of his Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs identified a 5 step progression:

  • Level 1: Physiological needs (food, shelter, sleep, sex)

  • Level 2: Safety needs (freedom from fear – security, stability, order)

  • Level 3: Social needs (belongingness, affection – friends, family, work)

  • Level 4: Esteem needs (independence, achievement, status, self-respect)

  • Level 5: Self-actualization (realizing personal potential, self fulfillment, growth)

Makes sense, right?

If your energies are focused on worrying about putting your next meal on the table, you probably aren’t spending a lot of time fulfilling your potential.

Richard Barrett, leadership consultant and author, took Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and extended its use. He developed a model that can be applied to creating a more supportive and productive environment for businesses.

Here are the categories in Barrett’s business adaption:

Viability: The company is financially stable so that it can survive, compete, grow and pay their bills and their employees.

Relationships: Communication is effective. The culture supports open communication and values employee and customer satisfaction.

Performance: Leaders and employees have pride in their performance and the quality of their products and services. Employees are motivated to see the company achieve its goals.

Evolution: The company is able to analyze market trends so that it can evolve. The company is continually adapting, learning, and training its employees.

Alignment: This builds on the foundation of positive relationships. This is about building an internal community that is passionate about what they do, has strong communication, and supports each other's growth.

Collaboration: Now that a company has developed a strong internal structure it can strike up strategic alliances. This can benefit both companies (think Starbucks inside Targets) or to support their communities (think Home Depot raising money for disaster relief).

Contribution: At this level the company is looking beyond the here and now and is taking steps to ensure that the world is better for future generations. For example, reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

Each level does not have to be 100% complete before moving to the next one. However, if the initial levels are not substantially addressed it will be difficult to achieve competence in the more advanced levels. Again it makes sense. If you are worried about your company making payroll then you probably don’t have the energy or resources to think about carbon footprint reduction.

Join us next week for our last installment about company culture where we will show you how to assess your company’s culture.


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