Starbucks 2.0

Much has been made of Starbucks move to close all of their US stores yesterday.  Here’s a few of my random thoughts…

  • First off, I think it was brilliant and bold.  (BTW, that sounds like a soap opera featuring MIT students…)  A simple and effective way to make a statement and generate buzz.  On one hand, you could develop a set of guidelines and standards from the corporate level and work internally to retrain your staff.  Once that was in place, you would then have to begin marketing the changes and trying to regain those who may have left you.  OR make it public and let it be treated as “news”.   Chances are there has been more conversation about Starbucks in the last two days than in a long time.
  • Standard.  Once you begin allowing compromise to creep into your standards, you begin losing what it is that makes you unique.  You cannot be over zealous enough in upholding your standards.  This move states that they are working to eliminate chinks in their corporate armor.
  • Put your team on the stage.  The new initiative from Starbucks means that there is now expectation on the part of the newly trained baristas.  Yes.  The next time my Venti White Mocha is watery I will ask for a new one.  But I like knowing that they have initiated the exchange by making me a promise.  We must invest in your people properly then put them in a place to perform.  If we want to truly be the best, we must be able to acknowledge and quickly correct things that aren’t up to standard.  And trust in our teams ability to produce better results. 
  • Make that change.  Acknowledging the need to take the steps necessary for change is vital to the viability of any organization.  However, too often, we are simply content to let mistakes, missteps, or ideas that have run their course continue.  It is like slowly bleeding the air from your tires.  You know something isn’t quite right, but it is gradual enough that you don’t notice until there is a blowout.  There are vast differences between caretakers and leaders.  If we want to lead, we must provide the necessary direction and energy to affect change.  This may mean cutting off a slowly dying program that has ceased to be fruitful.  It may mean streamlining product offerings.  It may mean eliminating a church service that you’ve always had and only keep out of tradition.  It could be launching something you’ve never seen anywhere else.  Whatever it is, in the words of the King of Pop, we have to make that change.

Those are some of my thoughts.  I’d love to hear yours. 

Can you identify standards that have become compromised?  Have you trained your team to the level you think they need to be at to really shine?  Would you be willing to shut down your operation to make these things happen?

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