Tom Izzo is in the middle of a season and has plenty to keep him busy with his own team.
The Michigan State basketball coach is also very aware of the massive challenge the university is facing in finding a new football coach to replace Mark Dantonio, who announced his retirement last Tuesday. The process became more complicated when Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, who was viewed as the top target, announced Monday he’s sticking with the Bearcats.
“We’re going to get a good football coach, I really believe we are,” Izzo said on Monday afternoon, hours after news broke Fickell wasn’t leaving Cincinnati.
Izzo has been with Michigan State since 1983, is in his 25th season as head coach and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He has been in East Lansing long enough to see football coaches George Perles, Nick Saban, Bobby Williams, John L. Smith and Dantonio either walk out the door or be fired. Izzo was part of the search process when Michigan State hired Dantonio, was on the plane that picked him up from Cincinnati and said he cried when watching Dantonio tell his team he was retiring.
Dantonio was hired away from Cincinnati in November 2006 and in 13 seasons with the Spartans became the program’s all-time winningest coach while racking up a trio of Big Ten titles. The task to find his replacement is up to athletic director Bill Beekman and a search committee, which includes deputy athletic director Alan Haller and deputy athletic director/compliance director Jennifer Smith. Beekman last week called Izzo an “important voice” in the process and Izzo on Tuesday said he has been involved.
“I think Alan and Bill and Jen have kept me very much involved,” Izzo said. “I will talk to some people, I will do some things. Coach D is still involved. I’ve got friends in the coaching world – that’s the one advantage I get – that I can call.”
Michigan State is a week into its search and Fickell pulling his name from it was a huge blow. And that came after Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi, Colorado’s Mel Tucker and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh all publicly said they plan on remaining in their current job or have reportedly turned down interest from the Spartans.
As Michigan State pushes forward in the search, Izzo is also dealing with a team that reached the Final Four last year and opened this season as the preseason No. 1 in the AP rankings but just dropped out of the top 25 amid a three-game losing streak. Senior point guard Cassius Winston’s brother Zachary died in November and junior forward Xavier Tillman’s wife is expected to deliver their second child soon.
Obviously Izzo has a lot on his plate and being part of finding the next football coach continues to take up a spot. He acknowledged the timing isn’t ideal but also how important the next coach is to the university.
“It carries a lot of your athletic department,” Izzo said. “And if they’re doing well, it’s better for me. … Whether I have time or not? I have time. I’m a big-picture guy. I’ve been here for 30-some years, I plan on being here for some more years. The new guy that’s coming in I hope he thinks I’m his biggest supporter.”
Related Michigan State football stories:
The Washington Redskins are entering a period of transition this offseason. Jay Gruden is gone, Ron Rivera is here and he has started to put together his staff. On Monday, the Redskins announced that they were hiring an assistant that would make history.
According to their official website, the Redskins are hiring Jennifer King as a full-year coaching intern. She will be the NFL‘s first African American female full-time assistant coach.
Rivera and King had a preexisting relationship. Back during his time with the Carolina Panthers, Rivera had hired King as a wide receivers coaching intern for two summers according to ESPN. King worked one-on-one with rookies on playbook proficiencies and individual skill development along with analyzing drill efficiency and drill concepts. She worked extensively with star running back Christian McCaffrey.
In this new role, King will work with the offensive staff throughout the course of the offseason, training camp and regular season, and specifically assist coach Randy Jordan with the running backs.
“Jennifer is a bright young coach and will be a great addition to our staff,” said Rivera. “Her familiarity with my expectations as a coach and my firsthand knowledge of her work ethic and preparation were big factors in bringing her to the Redskins.”
King has worked as an offensive assistant with Dartmouth College, and worked primarily with the wide receivers. She also spent some time in the short-lived Alliance of American Football, where she was an assistant wide receivers coach and special teams assistant for the Arizona Hotshots. During that time, she helped former Redskins receiver Rashad Ross develop into one of the most recognizable stars in the league.
King has already created quite a resume for herself, and it will be interesting to see if she can continue her climb up the coaching ranks with the Redskins.
The Rubik’s Cube, which was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect, made up of nine colored squares on each side which can be rearranged in 43 quintillion different ways. That is 43,000,000,000,000,000,000.
There are only a handful of toys that last more than a generation. But the Rubik’s Cube has joined the likes of Barbie, Play-Doh, Lego and the Slinky, as one of the great survivors in the toy cupboard. What makes it remarkable is that it did not start out as a toy. The Rubik’s Cube was invented as a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry.
I personally find it quite interesting to explore more and more about the application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in context of a real world scenario.
Interestingly, there is some similarity between the story of Rubik’s Cube and the multidimensional Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which can be rearranged and applied in multiple situations in multiple ways.
We are more familiar with “ascending” the levels of the hierarchy of needs, as explained by Abraham Maslow. However, it would be worthwhile to relook at the not so obvious side of hierarchy of needs – “descending” the levels and its multifaceted application.
To begin with, let me share a real life story relating to divestment of a business unit and outsourcing of business process to the third party. The other one is the phenomenon commonly seen today i.e. entrepreneurs inverting the pyramid and they start from self-actualization.
In case of divestment of a business unit in a company (SKL -name changed), it was observed that as soon as the formal announcement of divestment was made, most of the long tenured mid to senior level experienced and talented managerial staff (age group 40-55 years) started feeling threatened. They were permanently settled in Delhi/NCR and did not want to relocate to Mumbai in a new organization and new work culture. Many of them accepted lower salary in their new job, lower management hierarchy and reduction in their fringe benefits.
It gave us an impression that they descended from “Self-actualization” (they were talented, well experienced and achievers) to “Security” stage in Maslow’s hierarchy as they started fighting for survival. In addition, their “Self-Esteem” (prestige) also got a huge dent as they went for lower management category job, lower salary and benefits.
A very similar phenomenon was observed when one company decided to outsource a business process to a third party. The employees who moved to the new entity actually felt very insecure as they had to start a fresh (fresh joining date) and adjust to a new organization…new work culture. It appeared that suddenly Security needs took over Self-actualization and they descended in Maslow’s hierarchy.
A very common scenario around us is when entrepreneurs invert the pyramid and they start with self-actualization. The following was reported in the news line in 2018:
“With the launch of Traxi, a service platform to aggregate farm equipment (including tractors) demand, Escorts Ltd is hoping to transform itself into the next Uber/Ola of the agriculture segment. TRAXI becomes an alternate service for farmers who cannot afford to buy a tractor.”
Maslow wrote that only those who have met all of the four previous needs could reach “self-actualization”, the ability to reach their potential or to be self-fulfilled. If this were true, no one would ever become an entrepreneur. Let us examine this phenomenon further.
We have observed that true entrepreneurs are passionate and they sacrifice Basic needs for their passions. They get so busy that they forget to eat and in the process push themselves to the breaking point, enduring high levels of stress as they confront the unknown path ahead.
We have also seen that many entrepreneurs quit their well-paying jobs to turn their dreams into reality. And contrary to Maslow’s theory, it looks like that the first act of becoming self-actualized is to throw away Safety and financial security without blinking an eyelid.
Most entrepreneurs miss their kids and family at least initially sacrificing Social needs. They find it difficult to spare more time for family and friends when pursuing their dreams of building their enterprise.
We have seen that friends and family members often think that the entrepreneurs are crazy as they give up so much for their new enterprise. They also call them idealists and dreamers, but they (entrepreneurs) overcome self-doubt and they confidently move towards their dreams and goals –Self-Esteem.
It is quite evident from the above briefing that the entrepreneurs start with self-actualization; they begin with undying resolve of fulfilling their dreams, desires and goals. They see them achieving with every pitch to investors, sale to a customer or addition to their product and service offering. For them, struggle is part of the joy –Self-actualization.
We are familiar with ‘ascending’ the levels of the hierarchy of needs, as explained by Abraham Maslow. However, it would be worthwhile to relook at the other side of hierarchy of needs – ‘descending’ the levels
Let us shift the gear and examine the application and usage of multifaceted theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in a company where I worked earlier:
High performing employees were found to be high on fulfillment of their Social needs (network within and outside the organization/ with good horizontal relationships) and Esteem needs (had extraordinary confidence, sense of achievement and shown hunger for doing more). They also demonstrated that they were moving right on self-actualization path-they possessed a good combination of focus and energy in achieving audacious goals and soon they became the pillars of change and business transformation. The multifaceted Maslow theory also came handy in making a quick assessment (diagnostic through leadership interviews). If we look at Maslow hierarchy of needs and ask Line managers to plot their people in hierarchy blocks, it would give them a broad view and some meaningful insights on existing departmental /functional culture and work out on some priority agenda. The insights may tell them about what makes people to work for the organization, what motivates them, and what makes them “Stay” in the organization, etc. Further, when the managers found that a large number of people were at higher level in the hierarchy of needs, then it was inferred that the organization is blessed with sound people support and it can to go for achieving some audacious goals.
The Managers, who knew where his /her people are in the Maslow hierarchy of needs, helped them to conduct performance conversation better not only during the half-yearly/annual performance reviews, rather it proved very useful in their regular conversations. For example, employees at “Security needs” level, required a different approach and style as compared to those who were on higher level of needs –Social needs’ – ‘Esteem needs’ – ‘Self-actualization’ needs.
In CXO level hiring, the fundamental criteria (in the context of Maslow theory) was the following:
- To select a candidate who believed that fulfillment of “Social needs” (belongingness) was a must to create a right environment within the organization for propelling a higher level of employee engagement and productivity. This helped the organization in preparing ground for cultural build up required for sustaining critical organizational change and business transformation.
- In addition, an assessment of drive for fulfilling ‘Esteem needs’ (need for achievement of extraordinary results/self-confidence) was also important.
- Further, selection of candidates having a drive for “Self-actualization” was important when business was entering into ‘transformation zone’ and critical change management phase. This was particularly true in R&D (for delivering to customers new/competitive products at low cost) and Sales acceleration to penetrate new markets.
Further, during the change management (business transformation phase), the following were observed:
Some people found pace of change extremely high and they were not able to run with the required speed – they were Low on Focus – Low on Energy. Even some people with High energy but with Low focus, felt quite insecure about their future. The conversation with them was to bring them back to the track was quite different as compared to other people who were aligned with the change and were performing well.
Maslow wrote that only those who have met all of the four previous needs could reach ‘self-actualization’, the ability to reach their potential or to be self-fulfilled. If this were true, no one would ever become an entrepreneur
People who were high on “Esteem needs” adapted to organizational change very well and progressed with the organization towards fulfilling “Self-actualization needs”. However, there was a downside to this phenomenon – perpetuation of internal unhealthy competitions amongst employees in some departments/sections which created dents on fulfilment of their “Esteem”.
Topics: Life @ Work
Why do we work? Many of us might give a simple transactional answer to the question: we work in order to make money. For the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-70), and the management thinkers inspired by his theory of motivation, people’s motives for working could not be reduced to a paycheck. Instead, Maslow and his followers argued in management texts and training seminars that people work to fulfil higher psychological needs. People work to become self-actualised and to find meaning – provided that meaning can be found in the mundane realities of working life.
First proposed by Maslow in 1943, the hierarchy of needs is a grand theory of human motivation that arranges all motives into a ladder, from the basic physiological needs (for food and shelter) upward to needs for safety, for belonging, for esteem and, at the apex, the motive for self-actualisation. At the top rung of the ladder, the self-actualisation motive was a future-oriented striving that drove humans to seek meaning and fulfilment in the world.
Maslow’s work began infiltrating management in the 1950s and ’60s, as the business trade press and management theorists picked up humanistic psychology to adapt managerial theories of motivation for a new era. For Maslow, corporations offered both an experimental site for him to observe human psychology – which he did as a consultant for California companies – and a site for humans to realise their higher-order needs through self-actualised work.
Why was corporate America drawn to the hierarchy of needs? They liked it because it offered both a grand narrative and master explanation for human psychology in a changing society and a practical guide to managing people. It is precisely in the tension between these two visions of the hierarchy of needs – the reductive diagram and the rich social theory – that the hierarchy of needs acquires its power and its politics.
The 1960s, renowned as a decade for social experimentation, was also an era when corporations were experimenting with new structures and styles of work. Against the backdrop of the counterculture, social movements and consumer society, management writers and social theorists alike argued that a widespread transformation in values was afoot – a transformation that required new approaches to managing people and marketing to consumers.
Management thinkers drew on Maslow to develop new theories of ‘participatory management’ that professed to give workers more autonomy and authority in work. Responding to criticisms of bureaucratic conformity and alienation, management gurus wielded the hierarchy of needs to argue that psychological fulfilment was not opposed to but in fact compatible with corporate capitalism. We could work hard, make money, and be happy. Win/win, right?
A burning question, left unresolved in management discussions of the hierarchy of needs, was the extent to which all jobs could offer scope for self-actualisation. The hierarchy of needs does admit a range of differences among individuals and organisations, suggesting that, for some people, work is just a paycheck. Some experiments in redesigning jobs did seek to address all levels of the corporate hierarchy, from janitorial work to executive work, but many substituted rhetoric for real change. One management thinker, the American psychologist Frederick Herzberg, used the hierarchy of needs to argue in The Motivation to Work (1959) that companies needn’t provide better benefits to workers, because better benefits had only made workers entitled, rather than increased productivity. Such is the dark side of motivation.
It is certainly not coincidental that a motivational theory dubbed the ‘hierarchy’ of needs was adopted in companies ruled by hierarchical organisational charts. The hierarchy of needs could all too easily map onto work hierarchies, with jobs at the top providing more scope for self-actualisation (while also commanding higher paychecks). Uneven distributions of work and workers surround the promise of self-actualised work; devalued work, which we don’t expect to bring satisfaction, and on the flipside, overvalued work, supposed to be all of life.
As a theory of intrinsic motivation, the hierarchy of needs emphasises intrinsic motives, not external rewards. It suggests that your boss doesn’t need to punish or reward, because you’ll have your own intrinsic motive to work to achieve meaning and fulfilment. It’s a powerful force, that work ethic. The strength of this work ethic, especially in today’s professional class, is why we find company employees who sometimes take fewer vacations than they’re entitled to.
Maslow didn’t invent the idea of self-actualised work, and nor did the 20th-century management consultants who implemented these ideas. We can go back to the German sociologist Max Weber to find similar invocations of work as a spiritual, more than economic, vocation – an ethic of work that Weber in 1905 argued was central to Western capitalism. Indeed, the work ethic is an ideology at once remarkably tenacious and eminently flexible: while its constitutive claim – devotion to work as the centre of life – remains consistent, the rewards promised by the ethic vary in historically specific ways, from the promise of social mobility to the promise of self-actualisation.
In the decades since Maslow first proposed the now-iconic hierarchy of needs, it has acquired a life of its own. By the 1980s, it had become firmly entrenched in business textbooks and management education. Marketing firms, for example, drew on the hierarchy of needs in both their advertising work and their management training. Depicted in its iconic pyramid form – a pyramid that Maslow himself did not create – the hierarchy of needs continues to circulate in management textbooks and as internet memes. Even beyond memes and textbooks, what is most significant is how the ideas and ideologies underpinning the hierarchy of needs continue to resonate with present-day concerns about work, society and the self.
In the span of writing this article, I found myself haunted by the hierarchy of needs; it was referenced on my Instagram feed and in a blog post about writing. Writing about the work ethic while embroiled in academic work culture makes it similarly difficult to escape the ghost of the hierarchy of needs. Academic work, like work in creative industries and the nonprofit sector, is particularly susceptible to the celebratory rhetoric that one’s work should be motivated by passion, not a paycheck. Why else pursue a PhD, or a career in the creative industry, if you don’t love it?
Nothing exemplifies the promises and perils of self-actualised work better than the cultural conversations around ‘do what you love’. The injunction to ‘do what you love’ has had no shortage of critics, who point out its classist nature, advocate for a clearer delineation between work and life, and remind us that burnout might just be the flipside of self-actualised work.
Not all agree that work should be a calling or that we should devote ourselves wholly to work. Calls for a shorter work week, for a better social safety net or more parental leave all demand that we as a society carve out a space of life, leisure and care against work.
My argument is not that work shouldn’t be meaningful, or that pleasure cannot be found in work; my point is that we should think carefully before accepting managerial ideas of fulfilment through work, because they risk detracting from the economic and social structures that govern work. Work is work – no matter how many beer fridges or meditation seminars modern workplaces offer, and no matter how many well-intentioned trainers show slides of pyramids.
This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.
Kira Lussier is a historian of science, technology, and management. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga and at Rotman’s Institute for Gender and the Economy in Toronto, as well as an affiliated researcher at the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto’s Technoscience Research Unit.