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Required Reading from Stephen Johnston

Stria Staff March 18, 2018

As the co-founder of Aging2.0 and the founder of Fordcastle, Stephen Johnston has dedicated his career to improving the lives of older people. Aging2.0 is a global innovation platform for aging and senior care. He is the co-author of “Growth Champions,” has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Johnston also sits on the board of Music and Memory a New York 501c3 nonprofit created to enhance the quality of life for the aging community.

The book I most recommend, in fact I did it again this morning, is PEAK by Chip Conley, who’s been a regular fixture at our annual OPTIMIZE conference. It was based on Chip’s 20-plus-year experience building up the Joie de Vivre boutique hotel chain. He connects Malslow’s pyramid of needs to three different stakeholders, customers, employees and investors, and makes a compelling case that successful businesses “elevate” each of these groups to their higher purpose.

For example, a hotel room cleaner can become more motivated when they understand they are an integral part of the machine helping to improve lives, rather than just cleaning rooms. Again, this shows the benefits of looking at systems, not just individual apps or services. –Stephen Johnston

PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow
By Chip Conley

PEAK is the popular, transformative guide to doing business better, written by a seasoned entrepreneur/CEO who has disrupted his favorite industry not once, but twice. Author Chip Conley, founder and former CEO of one of the world’s largest boutique hotel companies, turned to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs at a time when his company was in dire need. And years later, when the young founders of Airbnb asked him to help turn their start-up home sharing company into a world-class hospitality giant, Conley once again used the principles he’d developed in PEAK

In the decade since this book’s first edition, Conley’s PEAK strategy has been developed on six continents in organizations in virtually every industry. The author’s foundational premise is that great leaders become amateur psychologists by understanding the unique needs of three key relationships — with employees, customers, and investors — and this message has resonated with every kind of leader and company including some of the world’s best-known, from Apple to Facebook. Avid users of PEAK have found that the principles create greater loyalty and differentiation with their key stakeholders. This new second edition includes in-depth examples of real-world PEAK companies, including the author’s own at Airbnb, and exclusive PEAK leadership practices that will take you — and your company’s performance — to new heights. (From the publisher)

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