Byron's Babbles

Flat White Starbucks Experience

Posted in Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 4, 2015

IMG_0725 “While not every leadership team can reward employees with stock options or health-care benefits for part-time employees, every business leader can treat those individuals with enough daily care and concern to inspire passion and creativity in their work.” This quote comes from Joseph Michelli’s great book The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary. I have read all of Dr. Michelli’s books and I suggest you do too! This morning I had this quote proven to me at my local Starbucks in Lebanon. I am a Starbucks lover both because I love the coffee and I love the experience every day. I have been an avid student of of Starbucks and the leadership examples this great organization gives us.

Now, back to the quote and my experience. Actually it was my baristas experience. My barista showed “daily care and concern to inspire passion and creativity.” I have to begin the story by backing up to the introduction of the Flat White. I had been a Latte’ drinker, but ever since my first Flat White it has become my drink of choice. Made properly it should have a white dot of milk and maybe a design in the top of it. Now, when going through the drive through and being handed the cup with a lid on it I have no way of knowing if it looks as beautiful as it is supposed too. I have been amazed, however, at the care the baristas take at making it properly as I peer through the window and watch. They truly care and are concerned that it comes out right, even though I won’t ever look. Recently, I thanked the barista as she handed me my Flat White out the window for taking care to make it right. She said, “It needs to be done right for it to taste the best for you.” That’s passion! And Starbucks knows how to build this care and passion in their team members.

IMG_0724 So here’s what happened at the Lebanon Starbucks today. I pulled up to the window to get my Flat White and the barista was taking a picture of my Flat White (see picture in post). Another team member took my Starbucks Gold Member Card to take my payment and said, “She thought it was the best finish she had ever created on a Flat White and needed to take a picture of it. I was so impressed and excited by this. To me this might be the greatest indicator of passion and attention to detail I have ever seen. Creating excellence to the extent that you want to take a picture. How many of you have ever had anyone at a drink or food establishment take a picture of what they created for you?

It was the best Flat White ever. I really don’t know if it was or if it was just great because my barista took a picture of her artwork. We should learn from this barista and strive to do work that is worthy of a picture. Michelli also quotes a Fortune magazine article where it says, “Starbucks story epitomizes ‘imagine that’ in every sense. When the company went public . . . it had just 165 stores clustered around Seattle and in neighboring states. . . . Skeptics ridiculed the idea of $3 coffee as a West Coast yuppie fad.” What if all of us could say our organizations “epitomized ‘imagine that’?” Let’s all commit trying to imagine greatness for our organizations and those we serve and make sure we take some pictures along the way.

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