A social business (Enterprise 2.0) should logically begin its journey with its own people, the backbone/foundation of any enterprise, because here is the potential to transform a workforce into effective “brand evangelists”. Starbucks did this recently when it invited an effusive group of roughly 10,000 store managers to a 37,000 m² (400,000 square-foot) event in Houston, Texas. What an experience this must have been to participate in! Starbucks is not known for running internet or television ad-campaigns. What it does do, and what makes this three-day event successful, is to mobilize its employees to become “brand evangelists”, the very sales force assisting caffeine-hungry customers on a daily basis, “the true ambassadors of our brand, the real merchants of romance and theater, and as such the primary catalysts for delighting customers”, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in his book, “Onward”. Howard Schultz is literally marinating his team in a € 28 million (US$ 35 million) three-day event, motivating his store managers and baristas to drink in the Starbucks Coffee state of mind while fully impacting them with the company culture.
1. Creating a compelling company culture
I particularly like the evangelization campaign Howard Schultz is putting his personnel through, knowing that a well motivated group of managers will be much more eager to unleash this power and pass on this freshly acquired caffeine culture to their teams, and then to their customers. One of the important keys to company culture is to convert employees and make them sincerely believe that their mission is a positive and rewarding one; the intrinsic feeling that they are genuinely needed, appreciated, wanted and cared for. Positive company culture unleashes the motivational and creative power of its people while granting them the purpose, the vision and the energy to bring passion and motivation to their daily work.
2. Employee engagement and creativity
In order to promote employee engagement and creativity, Angelo Fernando recommends hiring misfits and troublemakers, people who will purposely avoid doing things the way a company has always done them and who will tend to get “under your skin”. Professor Robert Sutton adds: “In order to foster creativity we should hire misfits, goad them to fight and pay them to defy convention and undermine the prevailing culture.” This ought to create healthy confrontations, shake the status-quo and bring in fresh and unconventional ideas to talk about and discuss.
Disruptive technologies give socially-minded enterprises the momentum to challenge the norms and search out cultural disruption and creativity. Those companies become employee-centric and create a company culture their co-workers want to identify with, believe in, but most importantly, represent and evangelize.
3. Turning your work force into brand evangelists
An evangelist is an individual who delivers something; a service-oriented person. He or she could be, for example, the person delivering a Domino Pizza to your doorstep. Too many companies, however, forget the simple fact that the most likely people to represent a brand and carry out its message (i.e. culture) to the customers, is its own workforce. If a genuine company culture does not exist, what should its work force then represent? What are the co-workers standing for? What should they believe in? What is their mission, purpose and how do they remain motivated? Doesn’t the Bible teach us about people perishing because of not having a vision?
4. Happy Customers and resulting company profit
We all have been to Starbucks. They brand our drinks with names their staff have been “smoothly” teaching us over the years as we patiently wait in line for our order. Going to one of their café’s is a bit of a ceremony, a coffee ritual connected to a willing sacrifice, providing us with the drink of our liking within the shortest time possible; a delightful way to start or finish the day depending on our coffee drinking habits! The results? Howard Schultz’ company profit must be more than acceptable to allow his Group to invest in a 3-days € 28 million (US$ 35 million) event. Well done Starbucks! Carry on with the coffee flame and we will keep on sponsoring your services and products!
What are the creative (and possibly disruptive) ways your company incorporates in order to foster creativity, promote company culture and motivate personnel? We are certainly looking forward to your comments.