Five Ways of Being: Simple, Profound, Universal Success Principles

How does Starbucks take an ordinary… some would argue a mundane product… and transform it into an extraordinary business success?  Starting with a single store in Seattle, the Starbucks’ name is now virtually interchangeable with the word coffee.

Even with some recent setbacks and bumps in the road, Starbucks continues to grow and innovate while endeavoring to maintain the consistency and warmth of its first store.

Does the success of Starbucks offer lessons that can be applied to other businesses and industries?  Are there key success principles that are universally applicable to all people and all organizations?  The answer is a resounding yes!

One of the smartest and most high-impact decisions Starbucks ever made was to create what they call the Green Apron Book.  This small pamphlet fits into a partner’s apron pocket (Starbucks employees are called partners).  The Green Apron Book reinforces the mission as well as the core philosophies and values of Starbucks.

The Green Apron Book describes what Starbucks calls the “Five Ways of Being.”  These “Five Ways of Being” are at the very heart and soul of who Starbucks is and why Starbucks continues to be admired and visited millions of times a day by loyal customers all around the world.

The “Five Ways of Being” are:

  • Be Welcoming – Offer everyone a sense of belonging.
  • Be Genuine – Connect, discover, respond.
  • Be Knowledgeable – Love what you do, and share it with others.
  • Be Considerate – Take care of yourself, each other and our environment.
  • Be Involved – In the store, in the company, in the community.

Each of the “Five Ways of Being” is further described with 5 to 8 succinct bullet points.  For example:

  • “Be Welcoming – Offer everyone a sense of belonging.
  • Greet customers as they walk through the door.  Make sure everyone feels at home.
  • Customize your approach to each person; sense what’s right in the moment.
  • Remember something about everyone: a name, a drink or an experience you remember about the customer.
  • Have two-way conversations: ask questions, share stories.
  • Welcome all types of feedback—both concerns and praise.
  • Make sure people feel taken care of.  Take a minute to ask your customers how they like their drink, for example.
  • Encourage teamwork during your work shifts to ensure partners and customers feel welcome.
  • Anticipate and respond to your customers’ needs.”

Without question, these are universal principles of success… applicable to any person… any business… any organization.  The next time you stop by Starbucks, ask for a copy of the Green Apron Book.  Most Starbucks will give their customers a copy with no charge.  Study these “Five Ways of Being” and apply them to your life and your work.

Be Welcoming – offer everyone a sense of belonging.  Be Genuine – connect, discover, respond.  Be Knowledgeable – love what you do, and share it with others.  Be Considerate – take care of yourself, each other and our environment.  Be Involved – in the store, in the company, in the community.

Apply these simple, yet profound “Five Ways of Being” to your life and your work.  Without question, you will be far more successful… including being happier, more fulfilled and more inspired.

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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