Everyone today is aware of the economic struggles that are affecting nearly every country. Concern over stock levels and unemployment headline the nightly news around the world these days.
Yet as we watch, the question that so many of us are pondering is "What can I do?"
Howard Schultz , CEO of Starbucks, the international coffee company based in Seattle, has an answer to suggest – invest in creativity and people where it is most needed, not simply and only where it’s cost-effective.
Starbucks has recently launched an innovative program, Create Jobs for U.S.A. Program, to match talented producers with resources and companies willing to invest in people.
Currently Starbucks is purchasing mugs from American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool, Ohio, which was once called "The Pottery Capital of the Nation.” But that was in happier days when the city was a thriving commercial center. Sadly as the years passed, the jobs in the pottery industry there slipped away, but not the talent that produced them.
With the support (and a large mug order from Starbucks), life is returning this historic community, revitalizing families and raising hopes for a better future.
Some might say that business is only about profit AND profit is important. But it is not the only variable that should be considered when making a business decision, as Howard Schultz knows.
People matter; they are the heart of any company. Without a healthy heart, a company is essentially only on life support, no matter its initial profit level.
Starbucks’ very corporate name reflects this awareness. Captain Ahab of Moby Dick fame is as blindly obsessed with obtaining revenge against a great white whale as many a CEO seeking only profits no matter the human cost. Time and time again he ignores the insightful advice of Starbuck, his first mate, to consider the cost his relentless pursuit requires from all those aboard his doomed ship.
The results of ignoring the concerns of his crew (or one's staff) are always tragic. But they needn't be. If we remember, always, that people come first and profit is merely an indication that value and beneficial services have been successfully rendered, then we can all sail safely into a welcoming harbor and yell joyfully together "LAND-HO!"
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2012