Self-actualisation can mean a lot of things depending on who you ask.
There is no single definition that applies, so we always need to think broadly when using this term. In this article I want to consider it in terms of business performance.
As the words imply, self-actualisation is a personal process, and the end result a personal goal.
Self-actualising people are considered high achievers, mainly because they have reached a point where their lives are ordered, their ideals and values strong, and they are all-round impressive people.
Typically they would also be comfortable in their own world, not too worried about seeking the good opinion of others or needing security or certainty over their futures.
How does this relate to the business environment and performance?
Businesses are never stand alone entities, they are always run by people, owned by people. In other words, look at any business and you can see one or more people behind it and you can usually translate the performance of the business to the performance of those people.
I tend to work with businesses where there are a handful of key people, and it is the development over time of those people that can be directly correlated to the development of the business.
In other words, whilst there is a lot of merit on focusing on the business, its functions, processes and bottom line, there is even more merit in focusing on the people.
Some, or maybe even many or most, coaches and consultants can fix – or try to – the nitty gritty on the business side (for example, by reorganising an admin function) without ever looking at the needs of the key people.
If those key people can be helped, as people in business, to work out how to improve, then this has great value. And one of the main objectives of self-actualisation is for any individual to become the best version of themselves they can. Put another way, to release their latent potential.
So, when I work with a Company this is high on my agenda, and I am constantly aiming to get behind the business to the people and to talk about what their potential is, because it is normally way higher than most think.
The correlation is absolutely robust, working to improve the people, to help them learn and pursue self-actualisation will help the business performance, because it will ultimately be those same people who drive the business onto ever higher levels of revenue and profit.