Everything we think, feel, say, and do—as human beings, as entrepreneurs, as salespeople, and as leaders—typically springs from our values. We’ll discuss that in our Thought of the Day. And later, in the interview, former President of Starbucks North America, Howard Behar, will share with us several powerful leadership principles for his recently-released book, The Magic Cup. That and more in this episode.
Bob’s Thought of the Day
- What we truly value—not what we say we value but what we actually value—drives our behavior.
- For example, a person may say they value spending lots of quality and—just as importantly—quantity time with their family. But if they consistently work an unreasonable amount of hours and ignore their family, then family time is not truly a high value to them … at least, not as a high a value as spending time at work is. There’s no judgment involved here. It’s simply part of human nature: our true values are revealed in our actions, not our words.
- Likewise, if someone says they value speaking positively about others and uplifting them, yet they are constantly gossiping, then positive speech is not a high value for them … at least, not as high a value as gossiping. This principle applies to every area of your life: We do what we most value.
- Here’s an exercise that will be helpful. Write down these 8 areas, or “values” of life: financial, physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, social, relational, charitable. (You can add additional areas if needed.) Underneath each area, list various actions that indicate how a person would fulfill them. Then rank these overall values according to how important each one is to you.
- For example, under “physical” you might list these actions: healthy lifestyle, exercise, healthy diet, walking instead of driving whenever possible, getting 8 hours of sleep per night, eating a non-healthy dessert once a week as a reward, or whatever else is important to you. Your list of actions under “physical” might be different.
- Over the next two weeks, check your actions against what you’ve written as the indicators under each value area. Do your actual actions match what you say are indicators of each value? This is not a matter of judgment, or the need to feel badly if you’re not on track. It’s just a matter of awareness. Once you’re aware that you’re not where you want to be, then you can take steps to change it … if you value changing more than you value not changing.
Interview with Howard Behar
- Howard’s new book, The Magic Cup, lists eleven “virtues of the magic cup.” These are: responsibility, curiosity, cooperation, trust, truth, hope, forgiveness, focus, stewardship, courage, and connection. These are values that one needs to be a successful leader.
- On the value of cooperation: Howard received a note from a barista who worked at Starbucks. She said it’s one of the only places she’s ever worked where everyone was “in it together.” This doesn’t mean that everyone in leadership at Starbucks always agreed; it meant they worked together to try and achieve the organization’s goals and mission, and tried to help others achieve their personal goals along the way. It’s about treating others with respect and dignity, listening to other people, and working out your ideas together.
- Collaboration, partnership, connection, and communication are important aspects of cooperation. If you’re married or have a significant other, the most important thing you can do is listen. You must listen with both your ears and your eyes.
- On the value of forgiveness: We don’t often hear this value mentioned in leadership books and teaching. It’s important on both sides of the aisle. A leader has to look at his/her own actions, be in tune with where they are, and be willing to listen. They have to be the first one to say, “Please forgive me for that mistake.” On the other side, they also have to be willing to forgive others. But we often struggle with forgiving others and saying, “It’s OK, we all make mistakes. Let me help you.” This is a key quality of a leader because we value others being vulnerable. If you can’t forgive others, you’re not authentic and vulnerable.
- The figurative “Holy Grail” in the book is the “Treasure Beyond All Price.” It’s not money, position, or power … it’s the understanding that we’re all here to serve in one way or another. If you could put one thing on everyone’s business card, it should be a “server of others.” At the end of the day, none of us can accomplish anything without others. There’s only one thing that makes you life meaningful and whole: serving others.
- Serving others is not about shoving a cup of coffee across the counter. It’s understanding where that person is in front of you. Howard used to tell Starbucks employees that they are social workers. One person may want coffee with no conversation, but another person may want coffee and can’t wait to tell you that their son got a full ride scholarship to college. Put up your antenna and really listen. The treasure beyond all price is recognizing the importance of others and making it a part of your life … it’s moving from a “me” focus to an “other” focus.
- Quote from the book: “We need to give one another a reason to believe we can all be part of something remarkable, that together we can make something important happen.” In order to equip people to do this, you have to include them on the journey. We’re mainly talking about purpose: the purpose of an organization that everyone signs on to. If people have contributed to it, they will sign on to the goals, values, and virtues. They have taken the journey together, so are committed to it.
- It’s common for leaders to determine the purpose of an organization on their own, then declare it to everyone else. But every once in awhile you have to get the team together. You have to start talking about it again. Ask how others feel about the purpose and what they would change. Make it part of everyone. You must constantly go back and check with people who are new, and others who have forgotten why they are there. You’re trying to build emotional connections between people and the greater purpose, which at its root is about serving others.
- The Magic Cup by Howard Behar
- It’s Not About the Coffee by Howard Behar
- Connect with Howard on Twitter