The UHM and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs look similar superficially but they substantially differ. Metaphorically it is perhaps similar to how dolphins and tuna are superficially the same: they are large, powerful swimming, carnivorous marine animals which often swim together, but substantially they are very different animals.

6 Advantages of the UHM over Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 

1) Greater validation

UHM has recently been validated by neuro-scientific research whereas the Maslow's validity is still disputed in the psychological community.

2) Superior interpretations

While needs is at a deeper level of the psyche than motivations (wants) there is little we can do to adapt needs because they are so deep. Whereas the motivational level of the psyche is deep enough to affect greatly what we think, feel and do, it is shallow enough to deal with it more consciously and so more judiciously affect what happens in our life.

3) Wider impact on our lives

Needs is in many way more narrow in our lives versus motivations which are more extensive and so affects more of our lives. For instance we may need transport but may want a Ferrari, Ford or just a scooter. (We usually need something we want but many things we want we do not need).

4) More dimensions

Maslow’s is a 2-dimensional “levels” model while the UHM is a 3-dimensional and holographic model and so gives much greater insights into people (it is independent of whether Maslow’s is "right" or not).

5) Better accounting for real time changes

Maslow’s model is hierarchical – if using it we must go up one level at a time whereas the UHM shows how people can move dynamically from one level to any other level in a moment.

6) Predictor of leadership capability

When it comes to leadership there have been many attempts over the last few decades to find a universal set of traits which predict a good or great leader (such as the Five Factor Model, etc). They have all failed but what distinguishes leaders is their ability to motivate themselves and others. The UHM provides a deep understanding of the fundamental human motivations.

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Testimonial (read more...)

A fascinating [model]... so simple in concept yet so powerful in its application to leadership learning and development. Mark connects several existing psychology and behavioural frameworks and distils them into the essence of good leadership. This book is a fantastic read and a "must" for people in, or aspiring to leadership roles who aim to change business behaviour through a better leadership environment to improve employee engagement and organization outcomes. Mark's book will continue to motivate our people to be the best leaders they can be as they seek to operate at higher UHM levels more often... the essence of good leadership  - Graham Robertson, Vice President and Managing Director, McCormick Foods Australia