What is the Business Hierarchy of Needs®?

What is the Business Hierarchy of Needs®?

By: Jim Gitney   |     February 26, 2022

In Group50’s early days, we were working with the model shown in the picture to the left when we were doing strategic planning work.  It was simple, to the point and easy to talk about.  None of our clients were totally convinced that this image told the entire story.  It was missing a lot of information and only told the story of getting prepared to implement a company’s strategy.  This graphic didn’t include two key elements:

  1. Change Management
  2. Implementation

John Kaplan, from Harvard, has studied companies around the world and has surmised that only 10% of corporate strategies are effectively implemented. That is likely because most companies don’t plan for items 1 and 2 above.  We always had to go into a lot more detail and it was obvious to us that this visual model just didn’t cut it.  In 2012, I started developing a much more detailed visual that I dubbed the “Business Hierarchy of Needs®” which Group50® started using in 2013 and I was granted a trademark in 2015.  Its current version is shown below.

The Business Hierarchy of Needs® is a change management framework that details a much more robust approach which we define in three levels:

  1. Strategy, Analysis, and Planning
  2. Knowledge and Change Management
  3. Implementation

Since we have started using the Business Hierarchy of Needs®, it has continued to become refined. It is much easier for us to explain how the three levels fit together, because over 65% of today’s professionals are visual learners and they are more accustomed to working with infographics that tell a story. A visual that tells a story or provides a guide is far more effective. Each item has its own tools and processes which we at Group50® have put together to support this holistic approach to strategy and its execution.  We call it Strategic Planning 5.0™ and Organizational Development 5.0™. The details of our strategic planning process can be found in our Strategic Planning 5.0™ Playbook.  Effectively implementing a company’s Business Hierarchy of Needs® and developing a “Culture of Strategic Execution®” is evident when you can walk around a company and at random you can go to any stakeholder and they can tell you about their role in the company’s strategic plan and what they are doing about it.  

I recently published a much more in-depth article on LinkedIn about the Business Hierarchy of Needs® and how to use it as a recipe for effectively creating and implementing a strategic plan. You can read it here.

If you want more information about how to create your own unique Business Hierarchy of Needs®, call me at (909) 949-9083, drop me a line at or request more information here.


About the Author:  Jim Gitney is the CEO and Founder of Group50® Consulting, and the author of “Strategy Realized – The Business Hierarchy of Needs®” which summarizes a framework for developing and implementing successful business strategies.  (You can find out more about the book and acquire a copy by clicking on the image to the right).

Founded in 2004, Group50®consulting is focused on working with middle market companies to significantly improve their business performance by leveraging peopleprocess and technology as part of a company’s strategic plan. Strategic planning, Lean Business, Lean Manufacturing, business process improvement and process reengineering are Group50® specialties. Group50® consists of consultants who have spent their careers in corporate America learning how to optimize businesses.  We specialize in working with senior leaders to develop and implement programs that leverage people, process and technology to optimize business performance.



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This entry was posted in Business Hierarchy of Needs®, Manufacturing and Distribution, Strategy 5.0, on February 26, 2022

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Strategy Realized – The Business Hierarchy of Needs


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