Starbucks is in the news as a result of the way it handled a recent incident in which two African American men ended up getting arrested at a Philadelphia store. It was not handled well in the moment, but what we are seeing from Kevin Johnson, the CEO of Starbucks is a good lesson in leadership.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible, they were wrong,” Johnson told Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts about on Monday. “And for that, I personally apologize to the two gentlemen who visited our store,” he added.
Kevin Johnson posted a follow-up video on the Starbucks website, here are a few statements worth noting: "This is not who we are and not who we are going to be. We are going to learn from this and we will be better for it........The focus of fixing this, I own it. This is a management issue and I am accountable to ensure we address the policy, the practice and the training that lead to this outcome."
John Maxwell says that 'defining moments put the spotlight on us....Our character isn't made during these times - it is displayed!' This is truly a defining moment for Mr. Johnson and we will all be watching.
As a leader, you should consider the question "what is my actions were front page...or seen from a world stage?" How would you lead? What would you do? One of the lessons I am taking away from what he has done so far is that he is taking personal accountabilityto the decisions his leaders are making. The choices we make in critical moments help to form us and to inform others about who we are.
Leaders impact those around them and the one thing all good organizations have in common is good leadership. I use to work with a CEO who said 'Leaders cannot have a bad day' and it was because he was so keenly aware that leaders have a very important responsibility and it doesn't matter what the values on the wall say, it is the actions that we see that determine what is acceptable.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you say.” What are you 'doing' as a leader?
I work with CEOs and their teams and help them raise their level of leadership to raise the level of effectiveness in their organization. If you are interested in talking to me and see if we can mutually help each other, go ahead and schedule a free 30 minute conversation - click here.