Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow by Chip Conley

Summary
  1. Chip Conley, founder of a boutique hotel chain called Joie de Vivre, describes his business principles and how they can help you reach your full potential and self-actualize
Key Takeaways
  1. Peak companies create the most loyal relationship with consumers, employees, shareholders and other key stakeholders
  2. By properly applying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you and your company can reach its full potential
  3. Most companies are organized based on a certain premise of human nature but most companies aren’t even aware of this
  4. Companies have a habitual tendency to focus on the tangible and focus on financial results over relationships but more companies are starting to focus on the more intangible
  5. Karmic Capitalism – Good businesses create good karma because they properly deal with key stakeholders, act in good faith and think about second and third order consequences
  6. Must see all relationships as a type of account where you deposit and withdraw favors, goodwill, trust, emotions and more
  7. Both profits and highest personal development are best reached when not aiming directly for them. Rather, they come as a result of a collection of other activities which you can guide and inspire but not control
  8. Relationships truly do create the greatest wealth in life. Today, the only sustainable competitive advantage in the new age economy is loyalty from customers, employees, investors and all other stakeholders
  9. Employee pyramid – Companies often don’t understand what motivates their employees. Money is the base motivation but recognition and finding meaning in one’s work are the higher and more sustainable motivators
  10. Customer pyramid – customer satisfaction is at the base of the pyramid but by tapping into customer’s desires and unknown desires companies can engender great loyalty and trust
  11. Investor pyramid – A strong rate of return is the base of the pyramid but above that are aligned relationships and at the top collaborative ones. The relationship is the core of interactions rather than solely making money
  12. Conley survived a very difficult period after the bursting of the tech bubble and 9/11. To make it through this difficult time, he took a different approach and cut his salary to zero, got top management to agree to a two-year 10% decrease in salary and all salaried employees agreed to a two-year pay freeze. Unusual in business but makes a lot of sense if you think about it – in the hotel industry, bellmen and other salaried employees often have the most direct contact to customers but are almost always are the least motivated and secure in their jobs. They often aren’t as friendly to guests as they can be since they are worried about paying bills or being fired
  13. One of the largest differentiators between a good company and a great company is the motivation of the employees
  14. One of the important and impactful perks Conley gives his employees is a one month paid sabbatical for every three years of service. The employees love this because they get to travel and learn and come back refreshed, renewed, with extra motivation and are more loyal to the company than ever. They also offer a $200 per month subsidy for fitness classes such as yoga or a gym memberships or for any other hobbies that the employees want to do
  15. Customizable employee benefits and perks are increasingly important and can go along way in making employees feel valued and recognized
  16. Employee turnover and satisfaction is correlated more highly than nearly anything else to their relationship with their direct supervisor
  17. Great institutions set up rewards programs and incentives to help them achieve their goals and objectives. You get what you reward for
  18. Employee recognition should be given in person and feedback should be direct and immediate. Praise should be given in front of others, in person and should be immediately available so that there is instant gratification
  19. Creating non-monetary, fun incentives to reach a goal, such as the CEO shaving his head in front of everyone, is a great way to reward and motivate people. This is especially true during difficult times
  20. Moving from a one-size-fits-all culture to a one-size-fits-one
  21. Can best understand a customer’s desires from memory, editorial inferences based on memory and customer’s behavior and patterns and comparison with other customers (like Netflix and Amazon)
  22. Help customers meet their highest goals, give customers the ability to truly express themselves, make customers feel like they’re part of a bigger cause, offer customers something of real value they hadn’t even imagined
What I got out of it
  1. I really like Conley’s focus on some more intangible factors like goodwill, trust, employee motivation and meaning rather than solely profits
Visual image of Chip’s 3 pyramids and heart