I recently saw an interview with Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. I must say I was really inspired by two truths that he talked about.
1. Transparency & Truth
Many of you know the story of Starbucks and the vision & dedication behind the brand, but did you know about the underbelly of the business and what was done when things started going awry? I didn’t. Basically, things were growing fast and were spinning out of control, the company went public and the core value of a good cup of coffee was suffering. Schultz took back the reigns and closed down every single Starbucks for an entire day! The loss was millions and millions of dollars. The reason? He wanted every single employee to relearn how to make the perfect cup of coffee and the monetary loss was worth the gain. Wow. For me, this shows a dedication to the product and not just the financial success. He also did this in the face of the public. I can imagine all those people trying to open the door to a Starbucks and finding it locked. It was no secret that he was trying to fix things. Savvy for sure, but also a very brave choice.
2. “It’s not what you do it’s why you do it.”
Amen. I could imagine that if Scultz did not value what a perfect cup of coffee tasted and smelled and looked like then Starbucks would look very different than it does today. He really cared and he was willing to stop, take a pause and refresh. What I took away from this statement was passion. When you feel strongly about something, ANYTHING, then you will find a way to make it be the best it can be despite criticism or adversity or questioning.
I have zero business training or education, but I have learned a tremendous amount over the last few years running Blue Egg Brown Nest. One thing that seems clear in successful businesses is that there has to be someone behind the scenes pushing for the truth of the product or service. Someone has to believe in it and see beyond the noise and production. Owning a small business sometimes there is only one person in production, marketing, sales and vision. For me, that’s….ME! We can have our nose to the grindstone being productive and not see that we are going off course if we don’t look up once in a while and see where we are. Have we stayed true to our vision? Have we said yes to things that don’t make sense to us? Have we been proud of the kind of work we are putting out there and is that work adding to the overall look we want for our business?
It is important to look up and look around. If we are not on the path we set for ourselves or worse – if we don’t know what that path is – then it’s time to pause and redirect until you come back to your truth.
It is important to be brave and bold. If you are transparent about it then I believe people will rally around you and respect you for it. I have found that the more open I am a)the easier it is to live with myself b) the more friends and allies I find around me. Volunerability really does open the doors to deeper connections with people.
It is important to have passion and vision for what we are trying to create. If you don’t have this fire then it’s time to find it again.