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Summary: One of the great challenges of life is to remain diligent and not compromise in life. It’s so easy that once life gets going and you experience some seasons of success to just put things on cruise control. Have you been there before? After 12 years of bui

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[Re}ject Compromise

Nehemiah 13:4-14

On February 14, Howard Schultz Chairman of Starbucks sent the following email to his CEO Jim Donald. :“Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.

Many of these decisions were probably right at the time, and on their own merit would not have created the dilution of the experience; but in this case, the sum is much greater and, unfortunately, much more damaging than the individual pieces. For example, when we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines….. (second) the need for flavor locked packaging. Again, the right decision at the right time, and once again I believe we overlooked the cause and the affect of flavor lock in our stores. We achieved fresh roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma -- perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores; the loss of our people scooping fresh coffee from the bins and grinding it fresh in front of the customer, and once again stripping the store of tradition and our heritage? Then we moved to store design. Clearly we have had to streamline store design to gain efficiencies of scale and to make sure we had the ROI on sales to investment ratios that would satisfy the financial side of our business. However, one of the results has been stores that no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store. Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee……

Now that I have provided you with a list of some of the underlying issues that I believe we need to solve, let me say at the outset that we have all been part of these decisions. I take full responsibility myself, but we desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it’s time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience……the current state of affairs for the most part is self induced, ….

I have said for 20 years that our success is not an entitlement and now it’s proving to be a reality. Let’s be smarter about how we are spending our time, money and resources. Let’s get back to the core…..we have an enormous responsibility to both the people who have come before us and the 150,000 partners and their families who are relying on our stewardship….

One of the great challenges of life is to remain diligent and not compromise in life. It’s so easy that once life gets going and you experience some seasons of success to just put things on cruise control. Have you been there before? After 12 years of building Jerusalem’s commerce, culture and community, the leaders began to slowly drift from their vows and promises and their passionate pursuit of God. This is the way spiritual drift usually occurs: it’s usually not an intentional act or some large decision which is made but rather is just a small step in the opposite direction followed by another small step and then another. Compromise happens one degree at a time. And before we know it, we have compromised our faith and our values which then threatens everything of who we are.


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