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An Important Lesson from Starbucks on Positive Change

, | July 12, 2018 | By

“Starbucks announced on Monday it plans to eliminate plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020,” writes Jennifer Liberto in their recent NPR article entitled “Starbucks: Goodbye, Plastic Straws.”

According to Liberto, “The company will broaden the manufacture and use of what some in social media have dubbed the ‘adult sippy cup.’ It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.”

“The company says the move, when fully implemented, could mean a billion fewer plastic straws across its stores each year. And it's a part of Starbucks' $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world,” Liberto explains.

"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways," Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, said in a statement, according to the NPR piece.

While reading Liberto’s article, we quickly recognized how Starbucks’ drive as a sustainable organization offered a lesson for change to be applied to your organization.

Yes, the “adult sippy cup” can educate your team.

And in fact, it’s a two-part lesson we’ve identified.

Did you happen to catch it?

Don’t worry if you didn’t. It doesn’t entirely jump off the page. For a moment, we had to contemplate the nuances ourselves.

But, it is valuable, and we’re going to discuss both parts below.

So, are you ready?

Starbucks Is Driving Sustainable Change

The “global aspiration of sustainable coffee” is apparent.

But, what about it would teach you something about your operation, and that you could use? We say that it does, so what could it really be?

The first part of the lesson is fighting the status quo in your operationshaking things up!

Can you think of the processes, procedures, activities, and even tasks you’ve created or follow that ‘work’ but are not sustainable?

They don’t support your growth.

Let’s think about it for a moment. Take your time before reading further.

Do you want your operation to evolve and keep up with the demands of time?

Well, the only way to do that is to question what you’re currently doing.

For Starbucks, this change to replace straws with an “adult sippy cup” is a part of their strategy: a “$10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world.”

What’s your strategy?

Do you have one?

Not sure or no?

Not a problem; we’ve got you covered.

‘Strategy’ is our specialty.

It’s the first pillar of Proactive Operations, and we love sharing it with proactive leaders like yourself. Read more about it here.

We recommend that you use the ACDA Principle™ to address your strategy.

It’ll take you further into your operation than plastic straws (or straw-less lids).

But, it’ll help you innovate and drive sustainable change throughout your organization. That’s good stuff for you, your team and boss, and the entire organization.

Take apart the Principle looking at your operation from each of its four parts.

  1. Awareness
  2. Communication
  3. Documentation
  4. Analysis

Scrutinize your current operating processes and procedures. Be tough on your operation – it’ll pay off down the road.

Trust us.

We’re confident you’re going to pull quite a bit of positive change out of this exercise that you employ for years to come.

Question: Do you see anything (hint: or anyone) that is being affected by Starbucks’ big move beyond the positive effects of removing plastic from 28,000 stores?

Enhancing Customer Experience

It’s not mentioned directly in Liberto’s article.

But, the long-term effect on Starbucks’ customers is critical to highlight in this article.

And, the second part of this powerful lesson.

You’ve got to think about the responsibility of your team to protect the people that come on your property.

It’s all about safety and security in this operational world.


Enhance the customer experience by making advancements in your operation.

Keep them safe!

This part of the lesson on driving positive change that we borrowed from Starbucks is why we [24/7 Software] do what we do with the utmost passion.

We hope you mirror our excitement for driving positive (and sustainable) change throughout operations.

Now, let’s achieve our ‘global aspiration of employing Proactive Operations, enhancing the customer experience on your property for years to come.’

Over to You

Starbucks offered a powerful lesson for proactive operations worldwide. Their global initiative to replace plastic straws across 28,000 stores demonstrates a push for sustainable change. It also shows they care about their customers’ experience.

You too can drive positive change throughout your organization. Work on your strategy continues to advance your operation but also ensures an enhanced customer experience for years to come.

Learn how to employ Proactive Operations using strategy, infrastructure & technology.

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