Workplace culture – authenticity and putting people first

Some musings from Tracy Freund, Account Manager, regarding It’s Not About the Coffee – Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks by Howard Behar

What is the first thing you think about when you hear Starbucks? Obviously, coffee! Many think that they live and breathe for coffee but as I started to read through this book, I began to realize there is more to Starbucks than just coffee. In the beginning, it is simply stated, “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.” This brings to the forefront that the leadership and culture of Starbucks is about people and the importance of putting people first. This includes their customers, but even more important are their employees.

Here are a few tidbits I’ve picked up as I’m at the halfway point of the book. Keep these in mind if you are in a leadership position and/or working to evolve your company culture or even in your everyday life!

  1. Know Who You Are: Wear One Hat – When you have a clear vision of your values, purpose, and goals, you have the energy and passion to achieve great things. It’s like clearing out all the riff raff and paving a path to success.
  2. Think Independently: The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom – People are human beings, not “assets.” We have the capacity to achieve more than ever imaginable. Get rid of rules and help encourage independent thinking. Give the person that works with the tools the authority to make a decision on what is best to use. After all, the person using brooms is the one who is going to know the most about them and what works best to complete their job, not the person who sits in the corner office and goes off of what they think is best.
  3. Listen for the Truth: The Walls Talk – Take the time to listen, even when words are not said. You will start to realize what you have been missing from your team or life whether good, bad or indifferent. Knowing and recognizing this will give you energy to make change. Try this on for size: Compassionate emptiness. What is that you ask? It is listening with compassion but without offering advice or opinions. Sometimes people are not asking for help, they are just asking to be heard.

To be continued! More tidbits to come as I work to wrap up the book. I’m excited to share more!