Starbucks Misstep: Hurdle or Golden Opportunity?

Starbucks shot into the headlines this past week following a Philadelphia store manager’s phone call to the police that led to the arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson for trespassing. The two African American men were waiting to order until the colleague they were meeting arrived. The video of their removal by the officers went viral on social media (as of this week it had been viewed 11 million times) and prompted near-immediate demonstrations and boycotts.

Today, mission and values are integral to the culture and brand of many organizations. Many companies rely on this as a differentiator – a reason customers should come to them instead of competitors. This inevitably opens the door to higher expectations and increased scrutiny. Starbucks is definitely one of these companies.

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Collective Social Impact:  Why CEOs Can and Must Lead Change in Their Communities

In 2017 trust in America’s four key institutions: NGOs, business, government, and the media declined by 37%, the greatest collapse in the history of the Edelman Trust Index. Francis Fukuyama, in his seminal book, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, demonstrates that social capital in any community or business is fueled by cultivating trust. When trust is in the room, people collaborate, give each other grace to make mistakes, and innovation springs forward.

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