There are hundreds of articles everyday that encourage us to explore our passions, live boldly and shy away from the ordinary. I am learning that being a passionate person isn’t easy. What’s missing is the point that oftentimes being passionate can be tough. There will be those who will fight you every step of the way, ridicule you and try their best to stop you. In essence, there will be haters.
Howard Schultz has a lot of haters. Starbuck’s market value is about $72 billion at present. Additionally, Schultz is passionate about the company being one with values. He makes sure part-time employees get company-sponsored health care, the company’s early stance in giving benefits to same-sex partners and grants stock options to baristas. In recent years, he has tried to use his voice — and Starbucks’ footprint, as he likes to call it — to help not just his employees but the country. All the while, people have hated and criticized.
Last month, Schultz started something he called Starbucks’ Race Together campaign, suggesting that baristas write #RaceTogether on coffee cups, and see where that led. It backfired. He was mocked for, being a well-off white guy who was tackling a subject that was above his head and was inappropriate for a corporation.
Props needs to be given. The fact is, he is willing to stand for more than quarterly profits. So far, he has held 10 forums for employees to speak their mind on race relations. He has promised that Starbucks will hire 10,000 youths who are neither in school nor in the work force. He is going to open stores in disadvantaged neighborhoods, including in Ferguson, Mo. All of his initiatives are geared toward one ultimate goal: to re-establish the American dream. He wants future generations to have the same chances he had.
There are lessons for corporate America in what Howard Schultz is doing. More than that, there are lessons for us all in how to fearlessly take a stand for what you believe in.