The SCARF Framework

I recently read an article by David Cummings on building an irresistible organization:

Want to build a great company? Find product/market fit, a repeatable customer acquisition process, and build a simply irresistible organization.

In the article, David refers to a presentation of the same name by Josh Bersin. Josh remarks that:

Engagement still startlingly low: only 13% of employees worldwide are highly engaged (Gallup)

The presentation itself refers to "Your Brain at Work" by David Rock. The book is full of interesting insights about how your brain works and the applications for how you work. Incidentally, it's an interesting companion to "Thinking, Fast and Slow", illustrating many of the concept in Kahneman's book.

In the book, David Rock talks about his "SCARF" framework. The letters stand for:

  • Status: where do you stand in the social ladder relative to your peers?
  • Certainty: do you know what's going to happen?
  • Autonomy: are you in control of what's happening to you?
  • Relatedness: do you feel connected to others?
  • Fairness: is your sense of justice satisfied?

I found the framework simple and interesting. It explains many of the common pitfalls one might face when working in a group. As a manager, I'll try to make sure I meet the SCARF needs of my teammates in the future.