What’s Coffee Got To Do With It?

I recently read The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary by Joseph A. Michelli. Michelli is an organizational psychologist who studies successful businesses. This book examines the five key leadership principles that transformed an ordinary cup of coffee into a worldwide business phenomenon.

In addition to the five principles that Michelli labels in the book, Starbuck’s leadership has a foundational discipline they call the “Five Ways of Being.” These five ways of being are taught to every employee of Starbucks. They are:coffee1

·  Be welcoming

·  Be genuine

·  Be considerate

·  Be knowledgeable

·  Be involved

I think these five ways of being are great principles for every publisher and author marketing a book to emulate. In being welcoming, you forge a bond that invites your readers back again and again. To be genuine is to connect, discover, and respond to others. Listening is an important part of this and key to creating a connection. Being considerate goes beyond mere politeness to being mindful of the needs of others. Being involved is the action of meeting these needs.

Good marketing is based on relationships. Most of the activities you will engage in to market your books are relational. A website is relational. Social networking is relational. Author interviews and book signings are relational.

As authors and publishers, we can apply these five ways of being to all of our marketing efforts. Take your website for instance. Ask yourself these questions. Is your website welcoming? Is it genuine? Are your words chosen with care and consideration? Does your website show that you are knowledgeable on the subjects you are promoting? Does your website invite the customer to become involved?

Consider your actions when you are promoting your books online through social networking or when you are doing an author book signing? Ask yourself these questions. Are your comments genuine, knowledgeable and considerate? Are you more concerned about making sure you sell your books or about connecting and touching the lives of the people you interact with?

What strikes me that most about these five ways of being is that Jesus modeled all of these for us. He was welcoming, genuine, considerate, knowledgeable, and involved with the people who crossed his path. In our fast-paced world, we can easily forget to take the time to embody these principles and instead get wrapped up in pushing our agenda, especially in marketing our books. Yet, in our fast-paced world, Starbucks has effectively carved out a place that is warm, inviting and relaxing for their customers. They have done this through having each of their employees embrace and embody these five ways of being.

Next time I am rushed and tempted to push things along to my agenda, I want to strive to remember to embrace these five ways of being. No matter how stressed or hurried I may be, I can always take the time to be welcoming, considerate, genuine, and involved in touching the life of each person God places in my path.

A Starbucks executive stated “We’re not in the coffee business serving people. We’re in the people business serving coffee.”

What about you? Are you in the book business serving people or the people business serving books?


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