Four Needs of the Organization


How do you unleash the power of your workforce?  You find a way to bring together four needs of the individual, the four needs of the organization, and the mission, vision and values of the organization.  In The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, Stephen R. Covey writes about the four needs of the individual and the organization — BODY, MIND, HEART, and SPIRIT.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Unleash the individual.  Know how the four needs relate to the individual. 
  • Unleash the organization.  Know how the four needs relate to the organization.
  • Know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I think that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is complimentary.  If individuals are struggling with the basics, then it’s tough to get their full potential.  See also Maslow’s Hierarchy: Applications for the Workplace.

I particularly like this nugget because it maps to what I try to accomplish with my teams.  I tie together improving the quality of life for the organization, the individuals on my teams and our customers.  For customers, I build guidance for a living so knowledge and information are my means to the end.

The Four Needs of the Individual

Covey writes about the four needs of the individual:

"Remember that only those people who are allowed to tap into the needs and motivation of all four parts of their nature will find their voice and volunteer their highest contributions.  For the body, the need and motivation is survival — economic prosperity; for the mind, growth and development; for the heart, love and relationships; and for the spirit, meaning, integrity and contribution."

The Four Needs of the Organization

Cover writes about the four needs of the organization:

  1. (BODY) Survival — financial health.
  2. (MIND) Growth and development — economic growth, customer growth, innovation of new products and services, increasing professional and institutional competency.
  3. (HEART)Relationships — strong synergy, strong external networks, and partnering, teamwork, trust, caring, valuing differences.
  4. (SPIRIT) Meaning, integrity and contribution — serving and lifting all stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees and their families, communities, society — making a difference in the world.

Universal Mission Statement

Covey writes:

"The key to unleashing the power of the workforce is what I call co-missioning.  It’s clarifying the mission, vision, and values of the organization in a way that overlaps the four needs of the individuals with the four needs of the organization.  Every person’s job in the organization ought to be co-missioned to explicitly meet the four needs of both the person and the organization.  An implicit Universal Mission Statement would need to be something like this:

‘To improve the economic well-being and quality of life of all stakeholders.’ 

Your organization’s, department’s, team’s, or family’s mission statement would not only embody the spirit of the universal mission statement, but would also represent how you uniquely do that — your unique gift, capacity, niche — your voice."

The big idea here is to unify the four needs of the individual with the four needs of the organization.  The net effect is synergy and leverage.


  1. that is way too cool. That means any entity that wants to grow – human or org – may easily apply Maslow’s stuff

    Way too cool.

  2. I think it’s similar to Kano theory as well. At some point, adding more satisfiers won’t help. Also, it’s your dissatisfiers that can really hurt your growth.

  3. Could you please put the exact page numbers of these resources referenced? I have got the book with me, looking for the chapter of what you introduced here. But only I can find is the “individual needs” part, not the organisational one.

    Thanks a lot.

Comments are closed.