Lessons learned from “It’s not about the Coffee”

I was lucky that my boss brought me along for “It’s not about Coffee: Leadership Principles from the former president of Starbucks International, Mr. Howard Behar”, a half day talk and book signing activity held at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

Let me tell you about my general behavior when asked to attend seminars. If I really like the topic (usually when it’s about public relations, creative design and marketing) I will be alert and responsive, furiously taking down notes and laughing on the really witty parts. But if it’s something I am vaguely interested, you can bet my sorry ass that I’ll be battling sleepiness by the time the clock strikes 2PM (usually the ungodly hours of 1 to 3PM) and praying to God that He transport me somewhere where there is food and usually massive pitcher of pineapple juice (or water)…or better yet coffee!

Anyway, I digress. Suffice to say, the seminar earlier was a great combination of simple and interesting. There was no annoying highfalutin, business-y type words that I have come to equate with rashes growing on my skin (example of business-y words: risk-reduction management, proactive, strategic analysis). Simple and direct and to the point.

KG gets her booked signed by Mr. Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks International

Mr. Behar’s management style and tips to his attendees were very direct and simple: “It’s all about the People”. In every organization, it is the people who makes the difference. The thing is, all of this starts with us, the members of our organization. Mr. Behar’s shared the one of his top principles is to ensure that we “Wear One Hat”, this goes beyond staying to your role in the company hierarchy but to be “who we really are, no matter where we are”. Whether at work, at home and within our society in general.

I love this idea. Why do we have to change who we are just to ensure that we fit in or that we act according to what other people want us to be?

After the seminar, I had my book signed by Mr. Behar. I plan on finishing it within the week. The seminar made me take stock of what I know right now. Maybe, it will not hurt if I start working on what I dream to be. I’ve been going on and on about taking my Masteral in Communications but I haven’t finished the process and I am still worried about tuition. It doesn’t hurt that I got to see the inside of AIM’s campus, where my boss is an alumni, and wow—I was just so floored and envious of the students.

There’s no harm in aiming for the highest star, right?

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