Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

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Senteo Rating 3.0
04/27/23
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Author:Chip Conle
04/27/23
views 4747
comments0
Author:Chip Conle
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.0

Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow
Chip Conle, Jossey-Bass, 2007
Senteo’s Review information

Chip draws his inspiration from Maslow and his hierarchy of needs to create Peak, a business interpretation of Maslow’s concepts. Citing his experience as the former CEO of Joie de Vivre, Chip breaks down Maslow’s hierarchy, only to recreate it using a business focus and emphasis on three primary players: employees, customers, and investors.

Joie de Vivre stands at the heart of Chip’s examples of Maslow’s hierarchy in play, and he supplements this firsthand knowledge with both business case studies and literary examples. Chip’s analysis is tailored towards a more psychological approach, namely that of understanding and addressing the relationship truths for each player category.

  • Employee: Money, Recognition, Meaning.
  • Customer: Meets Expectations, Meets Desires, Meets Unrecognized Needs.
  • Investor: Transaction Alignment, Relationship Alignment, Legacy.

Each of these three truths relates to an aspect of Maslow’s hierarchy, and by relating the hierarchy to each of these three players, Chip provides an understanding that each must be handled differently. The relationship and how it is grown, nurtured, and utilized becomes the center for how and why Joie de Vivre was able to survive the dotcom and 9/11 crises, and together this gives us the basis for Peak.

Maslow is an exemplary thinker whose research has been at the core of many Senteo theories, so reading Peak was a welcome reinforcement of our basis for utilizing his research. The book is written in sections while the content builds upon itself – not unlike that of the pyramid sections. What we found most valuable were those aesthetical representations; the pyramids outline in a straightforward fashion how to use human factors to impact end results. The content features dedication to the employee, the customer, and the investor separately, identifying that they are three distinct groups that must be addressed according to their needs. In doing so, Chip notes that one of the most important aspects of that of purpose and belonging which are reached through customization and understanding of the customer, which ties into fostering a relationship to better gauge wants, desires, and dreams. As a whole, his take on Maslow’s hierarchy is not unlike Senteo’s, and we see this as a start to understanding how Maslow’s research brings psychology to the business world.

The book itself is well written, but it does serve as an autobiography towards the latter half of the book that departs from the discussion of Maslow. This is an interesting and valuable case study, but seems to be of specific value to the hotel industry and less to business application at large. In Chip’s firsthand accounts there seems to be a lack of business focus; there is the feeling that this is more of a personal anecdote rather than an analysis of business building and management process. Philosophies introduced are relatively abstract and require additional case studies to truly make them definitive within the business realm. Much of the book, too, is a culmination of summaries and paraphrased excerpts from books that Chip has read previously. There are examples, but those examples are comparatively sparse and do not provide adequate proof of the effectiveness of Chip’s claims.

After fifteen years of rising to the pinnacle of the hospitality industry, Chip Conley’s company was suddenly undercapitalised and overexposed in the post-dot.com, post-9/11 economy. For relief and inspiration, Conley, the CEO and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, turned to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s iconic Hierarchy of Needs. This book explores how Conley’s company “the second largest boutique hotelier in the world” overcame the storm that hit the travel industry by applying Maslow’s theory to what Conley identifies as the key Relationship Truths in business with Employees, Customers and Investors.

Part memoir, part theory, and part application, the book tells of Joie de Vivre’s remarkable transformation while providing real world examples from other companies and showing how readers can bring about similar changes in their work and personal lives. Conley explains how to understand the motivations of employees, customers, bosses, and investors, and use that understanding to foster better relationships and build an enduring and profitable corporate culture.

We study Maslow and how his ideas apply to the business world, and there is room for these ideas to affect all levels of business. At their core, the concepts as a whole are geared towards larger companies, but the employee and customer pyramids can be applied to even the smallest business to improve morale and retention. As we stated previously, this is very heavy in terms of hotelier context, so it is not as widely applicable in the business industry. The concepts are valuable and can be translated easily, but the context that they are described in is from a hotelier standpoint, so we urge evaluation and adaptation to your personal business context.

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By analyzing Maslow’s hierarchy and reinventing it for application in businesses, Chip creates a compelling research-autobiography hybrid that takes us through the mind of a CEO during trying times. However, the concepts are not left bare and unadorned. Concluding each chapter is a summary of methods and principles that challenge the reader to take the concepts and apply them within their own businesses. As a combination, the book garners more value than either topic would provide otherwise. This book transcends the typical boundaries of business literature and conveys research, tactical application, and personal insight to create a unique offering that is uncommon and wholly engaging.

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    Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow
    Chip Conle, Jossey-Bass, 2007
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