By Kim Lowe, Simple Intentions Managing Editor
Well, it was well intended, if not perfectly received.
I’m talking about the email that Howard Schultz sent on Monday to every Starbucks employee, calling out the recent volatility on Wall Street and “great political uncertainty both at home and abroad…” While emphasizing confidence in Starbucks’ present and future, Schultz also urged employees to show empathy for customers who may be feeling anxious in today’s uncertain economic and political environments.
“Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations,” Schultz wrote.
Perhaps she didn’t get the mail, but shiver, that was a cold glare from the barista who served my afternoon tea that same day!
But never mind my barista’s mood. And never mind that since Monday, the turmoil on Wall Street has largely subsided. I still love that Schultz considered the potential impact on Starbucks’ customers and sent an appeal to his employees to be aware — and just be kind.
Even in the middle of the turmoil on Monday I didn’t feel particularly anxious about either the stock market or the political environment. And considering I’ve heard more talk about soccer and back-to-school over the past week, nor do my friends and colleagues seem urgently worried.
But whether we’re closely watching our portfolios or hanging on every political soundbite is really beside the point. And Schultz gets this. He used a current situation to say what every good leader needs to say clearly and often: Your behavior has an impact. Be aware and make it a positive impact.
Whether we’re serving tea to a customer or discussing strategy with a colleague, it’s no stretch to recognize that doing so with a warm smile or an active, collaborative approach has far more positive impact – and likely greater success. It’s a message worth calling out, no matter the swings on Wall Street.