International Motivational Speaker Simerjeet' Singh's Blog

Inspiring and Nurturing the Human Spirit – Starbucks College Achievement Plan

Most of the organizations that I work with have lofty vision/mission statements and a fancy list of values. Few, if any, develop an organizational culture that allows their vision to become a reality. It seems that creating a vision/mission statement is nothing more than checking off another task from the organizational to-do list.

If you just google ‘company mission statement’ you’ll come across hundreds of samples that sound something like this – ‘To become the world’s leading…’, ‘To be the company that best understands…’, ‘To be a global leader in …’ and the list goes on.

What most startups and mature businesses fail to do is to bridge the GAP between the company’s ideology and its practices. I feel that this course correction is one of the core tasks of leadership and one that is often overlooked or taken for granted.

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras said it best in their book ‘Built to last’ – “The crucial variable is NOT the content of a company’s ideology, BUT how deeply it believes its ideology”

In the video below, which explains Starbucks new plan to provide free college education to its ‘partners’, you will hear a business leader who is not willing to be a bystander expecting the government to fix things but someone who is willing to take responsibility for the professional development of his employees. And in the process, living up to the Starbucks Mission Statement – “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.”

Crafting a great vision/mission statement may seem like a lot of work in the beginning but that is actually the easy part. The real opportunity for business leaders lies in aligning business practices and organizational culture to the vision/mission/value statements. That’s when a leader knows that he’s heading in the same direction that he originally intended. That’s when he’ll know for sure that the intense heat of the market has not scorched the soul of his enterprise.

3 comments

  1. Not just in the US …. the UK is suffering terribly with the increased tuition fees and abolishment of Student Grants. The average student debt when completing a 3 year degree course is £20,000. Many families cannot fund their children at college and the dropout rate for some Uni is as high as 45%. Lets hope a UK company can follow in the footsteps of Starbucks and offer opportunities back to those that would like a higher education.

    • I know the student debt situation in the UK has worsened over the years. I lived in the UK myself for 4 years and I know that the high tuition fee plus the high cost of living does add up to make college education very expensive. I feel that both in the developed and developing countries, businesses have a social moral responsibility to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs and citizens. As Sir Richard Branson said in an interview in the Huffington Post in May 2013 – “I have always looked on my businesses not just as money making machines, but as adventures that can make people better off.”

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