Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Inspired Employees, Loyal Employees, or just Satisfied Employees


Chip Conley Transformation Pyramid

Chip Conley Transformation Pyramid

I’m reading a fascinating book: Peak, by Chip Conley. In this book, Conley tells the stories of his hotel chain in San Francisco and how they not only survived but ended up thriving through the worst hit to the hotel business in the history of hotels… the post 9/11, post dot-com crash.  Through this time, Conley started studying Abe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and this book is the output of his ideas around how companies can embrace the “pyramid” in everything they do.

The point is to aim for the point, the top of the pyramid. Self-actualization. Meaning, purpose.  “With humans, there is 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 being sick but not truly alive.”

At the base of the “transformation pyramid” we have SURVIVAL, moving up, SUCCESS, then at the top TRANSFORMATION.

The book takes three primary relationships and applies these principals to each.  Employees. Customers. Investors.  Here is how the pyramid is applied to employees’ relationship with a company.

SURVIVAL for employees = Money.

SUCCESS for employees = Recognition.

TRANSFORMATION for employees = Meaning.

I have seen this first hand with employees in the past, but even more importantly, I’ve seen it in myself. I hope the awareness of this idea will cause you to pause and consider if you are providing opportunities for employees to ascend the pyramid and aim for Meaning and Transformation in their work with you. If are an entrepreneur, what are you doing to be sure you yourself are aiming for true transformation, meaning, and inspiration in what you do.




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