Sunday, 13 July 2008

Not about the coffee

With all due respect to my colleague Jon Emmons, whose blog "Life After Coffee" can be found on my Blogroll, there are times when it's not about the coffee.


While working on my blog redesign this morning, I listened to a two-part podcast, by Curt Rosengren of The M.A.P. Maker blog. This is one of my favorite blogs for getting and keeping motivated.


The podcast series was an interview with the former president of Starbucks Coffee Company, Howard Behar.  (I learned a lot about Starbucks in the 12 years I lived in Seattle before moving to Dallas. They were even one of my customers: I taught customized Oracle classes there.)


In his new book, Howard says that in a successful company like Starbucks, "It's Not About The Coffee," it's about the people. Some great takeaways from the podcast:



  • We spend most of our time growing up being told "No" to things. Subconsciously, we feel we've arrived as an adult when we have the power to say "No" to others. But it's much more fun to be able to say "Yes" instead, especially to customers.
  • We sometimes wear many hats, being different people in different situations. Howard's philosophy is to "Wear One Hat," that is, be yourself. Align your values and outlook with a job that fits you.
  • If you're having what Howard calls a "gray day," accept that. He talks to himself (sometimes out loud!) and asks, "What's up with this gray feeling?" and then, "It's okay not to be UP today." The simple act of giving himself permission to be how he is, often dissipates much of the gray feeling.



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