Can you remember a meeting or a conversation about safety? It’s interesting to observe the discussions that revolve around safety. Too often the subject of safety is focused on physical safety. Wikipedia outlines Maslow’s Motivation and Personality theory showing us that Safety is the next level of importance to us once our extrinsic needs are addressed. As people interact with social media, I’ve been noticing statements of people seeking a safe place to express themselves without the barrage of criticism and name calling. What can business learn from the messages people convey in their social interactions? I believe that people need to feel connected to their communities and safety is an important component that needs further scrutiny, thought, and planning.

Some would argue that Maslow’s theory is obsolete while others continue to follow it. Steve Denning of Forbes published an article What Maslow Missed  highlighting the importance of social connection and how it creates a feeling of security. Denning elaborates that human needs are messier than a simple hierarchy model, it is interactive and dynamic. Is it also possible to say that it’s iterative?

What do I mean by iterative? While helping someone with their business plan I was informed that they feel safe with me. To them, as they worked towards mapping their plan for their dream I was a safe place where they could share their dreams while I try to guide them into areas that should be considered. Once I begin the path of helping them understand why something is a concern, then we cycle back to revisit previous statements to see if the model has changed.

If we want quality performers, they need an environment where they have a sense of belonging, where their personal and business needs are safe. What challenges do they have in their personal lives that may have an impact on their professional life? People will be excited to get up in the morning to contribute to a culture that has put the time and effort to scrutinize their central desire to feel connected. When the business culture has put thought into the plan to create a safe environment where everyone can flourish, I believe that team engagement and the desire to contribute will flow naturally.