In this episode, Charlie Mechem sits down with Kevin Johnson, a good friend and the CEO of Starbucks. Kevin uses his experiences in business and leadership to reflect on anecdotes from “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” You can learn more about the book at charliemechem.com/book, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.
Learning Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Kevin has always thought of himself as a lifelong learner. Part of that includes being able to push the boundaries of his comfort zone. Kevin cites his current position at Starbucks, as well as his time working with Microsoft and Juniper Networks; all of these companies were willing to step out of their comfort zones, place their stakes in the ground, and work toward their missions.
Your Brand is How Customers Perceive You
Understanding what your brand stands for is at the core of good marketing. In the case of Starbucks, they serve premium Arabica coffee—but it’s the experience they provide in their stores that really creates the brand. You can’t control your brand, the customers control your brand.
Accountability in Leadership
In leadership roles, a lot of it has to do with taking responsibility and being accountable. Starbucks has some 400,000 partners that don the green apron; each day, Kevin wakes up knowing he is accountable for those individuals and the services that they provide the customers.
It is his job—and every other leader’s job—to empower and enable their staff across the board, and guide the company through both simple or complex issues. Accountability is an imperative part of leadership and relationship building. Trust in relationships is earned over time, by people being accountable.
What’s Really Important
From his visits to Starbucks partners around the world, Kevin has been able to come to the understanding of one absolute thing all humans have in common—the human experience. Regardless of where we come from, we all know what it is like to be human, and all of the ups and downs that humanity entails.
Personal relationships are what matter the most in the human experience, especially in times of adversity. These imperative personal relationships are formed through the sharing of vulnerabilities and challenges, as well as successes.
It is in any leader’s best interest to work to understand their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and build trust, in order to solidify such invaluable relationships.
Set your priorities
Kevin reiterates, in his experience, relationships and people have been the things that matter most. The key to having worthwhile and special relationships, in both personal and professional life, is authenticity. Don’t sweat the little stuff and make room for what’s important—like a good cup of coffee.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit the podcast page or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more on our book page, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.