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Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow Hardcover – September 21, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Despite using the word mojo in the subtitle and citing inspiration he received from 1960s counterculture icon Timothy Leary, this guide to better management isn't for hippies. Yes, Conley started the California boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre Hospitality with the Phoenix Hotel, once a haven for faded rock stars. And yes, he quotes liberally from rebel CEOs who surf. But Conley's book is packed with thoughtful, instructional stories and advice for entrepreneurs as well as Fortune 500 managers, gleaned from his own experience as well as other business books. At the center of this confessional how-to is psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a pyramid that ranks human needs from base to self-actualizing. Used as the basis for employee, customer and stakeholder satisfaction, Conley contends, it can transform a business and its people. Though Stephen Covey and Peter Drucker have looked to Maslow before, Conley describes how using the pyramid saved his company from bankruptcy when the dot-com bubble burst. Conley is most successful when he expresses his ideas in numbered lists rather than the wordy passages that slow down the beginning. On the whole, though, his advice is inspiring and accessible. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
When Hotelier Conley was profiled by USA Today as one of its People to watch in 2001, he seemingly could do no wrong. His company, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which operates a chain of boutique hotels in the San Francisco Bay area, was riding high on the dot-com boom. But then the bubble burst, followed by 9/11 and an industry-wide crisis that hit his upscale business hard. As his world crumbled around him, Conley turned to the writings of psychologist Abraham Moslow for inspiration. In contrast to the darker premises behind Freud's psychoanalysis and B. F. Skinner's behaviorism, Maslow took a more positive approach, seeking to study the best and brightest that human nature has to offer, encouraging an environment of self-actualization that encourages peak experiences. Conley understood that personal transformation and corporate transformation are not all that different, and this story shows not only how Maslow's ideas brought about a resurrection in Conley's business but also how similar mind-sets continue to create growth and a positive work environment at companies such as Google, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, and Apple. Siegfried, David
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Top Customer Reviews
Mojo is a slang term that usually means magical charm or power. Conley interprets Mojo as "the secret ingredient that gives life and vitality to your organization". Visit one of Conley's Bay Area hotels (he's the CEO and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality) and you will pick up this vibe. It's more than a job for the employees, it's more than a room at a hotel for the customers, and it's more than a financial return for the investors.
I like "Peak" because it is one of those rare business books that will stand the test of time. I've had my copy for three years now; each time I take a look at it I find new nuggets of wisdom and application.
Transform your customers, employees, and investors. You will have a business that no one will ever leave.
Also, as someone who is interested in the hospitality business I found some of the specifics he discussed around Joie de Vivre to be helpful.
(*** Please note: I have read many fantastic articles by Hsieh, and find it illuminating to watch him speak. I just didn't think his book added depth to the ideas discussed in his shorter form articles/interviews***)
1- "This book is about the miracle of human potential: employees living up to their full potential in the workplace, customers feeling the potential bliss associated with having their unrecognized needs met, and investors feeling fulfilled by seeing the potential of their capital leveraged."
2- "Maslow's message struck a chord with many business leaders. In essence, he said that with humans, there's a qualitative difference between not being sick and feeling healthy or truly alive. This idea could be applied to companies, most of which fall into the middle ground of not sick but not truly alive. Based on his Hierarchy of Needs, the solution for a company that wants to ascend up the healthy pyramid is not just to diminish the negative or to get too preoccupied with basic needs but instead to focus on aspirational needs. This idea is rather blasphemous for some. The tendency in psychology and in business has always been to focus on the deficits. Psychologists and business consultants look for what's broken and try to fix it. Yet, "fixing it" doesn't necessarily offer the opportunity for transformation to a more optimal state of being or productivity."
3- "1. Every company is organized based on a certain premise of human nature. 2. Most companies aren't very conscious of this fact and operate based on an outdated or short-term perspective, even though sustainable results might be better served by a different business approach. 3. Companies have a habitual "tendency toward the tangible," which means that financial results usually get more attention than relationship issues. 4. More and more business scholars and consultants are making the intangible of relationships and the human spirit more tangible, and many successful companies are leading the way with respect to how they reorganize themselves to pursue both profits and happiness."
4- "The Employee Pyramid: Money (Survival) - Creates base motivation, Recognition (Success) - Creates Loyalty, Meaning (Transformation) - Creates Inspiration."
5- "The Customer Pyramid: Meets Expectations (Survival) - Creates satisfaction, Meets Desires (Success) - Creates commitment, Meets Unrecognized Needs (Transformation) - Evangelism."
6- "The Investor Pyramid: Transaction Alignment (Survival) - Creates trust, Relationship Alignment (Success) - Creates Confidence, Legacy (Transformation) - Creates Pride and Ownership."
7- "Finding meaning in one's work--both in what you do daily d in the company's sense of mission--is one of the rarest but most valuable qualities anyone can have in their job."
8- "In reading Frankl's book and in studying dozens of meaning-driven companies, I've come to realize that workplace meaning can be dissected into meaning at work and meaning in work. Meaning at work relates to how an employee feels about the company, their work environment, and the company's mission. Meaning in work relates to how an employee feels about their specific job task. Pollard captures the potential synergy of this dichotomy with the following passage from his book, "As a person sees a reason for the task that is personally satisfying and rewarding and has the confidence that the mission of the firm is in alignment with his or her own personal growth and development, a powerful force is unleashed that results in creativity, productivity, service quality, growth, profit, and value.""
9- "Ironically, the two common elements that define companies that deliver on this level of the pyramid seem diametrically opposed to each other: technology (hard) and people (soft). Companies that know how to harness their technology and empower their people have the potential to deliver customized service that will translate into committed customers."
10- "Buffett represents a growing set of business leaders who believe that "companies obtain the shareholder constituency diat tiiey seek and deserve." He suggests that if companies "focus their thinking and communications on short-term results or short-term stock market consequences they will, in lar^e part, attract shareholders who focus on the same factors." In other words, just understanding your business plan isn't enough for business leaders. You need to also understand the motivations of your investors to ensure they're aligned with your own."
11- "If there's one constant theme in all three pyramids, it's t conventional wisdom is wrong. Conventional wisdom suggests that (1) money is the primary motivator for employees, (2) customers stay loyal when they're satisfied, and (3) investors are exclusively focused on the financial return on investment. As we've seen, these are simply base needs that ignore higher human needs. At the peak of the Investor Pyramid, it's ultimately a legacy, not liquidity, that people seek."
12- "As a guide, I often refer them to the Transformation Pyramid we discussed in Chapter Two. Take a look at whether this activity or priority is a survival need (something that will help provide basic sustenance or comfort), a success need (something that will enhance the performance or experience), or a transformation need (something less predictable, more intangible, and ultimately, most satisfying or memorable). My number one recommendation for those who are using a pyramid to define their peak experience is to make sure you are climbing the right mountain. A midlife crisis is perhaps the natural result of someone realizing they've perhaps climbed the wrong peak."
13- "The base needs are typically "has" needs: what material things we want in our life to give us safety, comfort, pleasure, or status. As humans and societies age, they move beyond the "has" to the "does" needs. As our material needs are met, what one does for a living becomes a more relevant symbol of our identity. At some point, relentless "doing" no longer carries currency, at which point the "is" needs predominate at the peak of the pyramid. You see this in wise men and women and in cultures that have learned that having and doing carry you only so far. When someone or something just "is," it feels pure, essential, powerful, and magnetic. There is a strong sense of presence that accompanies this state of being."
Chip shares ideas on how companies can succeed by valuing employees and building on their strengths. He explains how to help them achieve self-actualization (Maslow), in other words to be "in the zone." He also talks about the importance of understanding customer and investor needs through his inspirational stories describing how some companies (including his own) excel and build long-term loyalty. He cites psychologists, corporate heroes and others and lists further recommended readings.
Chip's strategies make so much sense to me. I'll be implementing some as I train small to medium sized business about the value of customer service and in a tourism class for [...]
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