Each of the days following Hurricane Irene was the same for us. We would come home from work to find no power. We would BBQ dinner outside and once it got dark we would walk downtown where some street lights and stores had electricity. Starbucks was one of those with power and the first night there were about 10 folks there getting a charge and internet fix. By day two, there were about 25 people at Starbucks getting a charge and the nightly internet fix. Day 3 saw the crowd grow to over 50 and then even more the next. People brought power strips, shared open outlets and we all sat around together. It was the night time community social area.
I’m not the biggest Starbucks fan, but I just finished reading Howard Schultz book “Onward”. It is the CEO’s story of Starbucks since the beginning, but with special focus on the turn around since 2008. Schultz says he was not trying to create a coffee place for people, but a people place that served coffee. The Starbucks Experience has many elements and free internet and power are a part of the formula. I hate to give Schultz too much credit, but our local Starbucks met his goal in the days after Irene and I suspect he would have been proud. Very seldom do vision and results ever match as closely as this.
Have you ever seen a leadership vision and results align this closely? What was the situation?
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Where has LiaV been? It has been four weeks since we last heard.
Simple enough, a week vacation and week in China and a week in India and a week in Irene! Just got power and internet back a little while ago. We got hit pretty hard, but much less than many on the coast line and in Vermont so I’m not going to tell you it was really bad. It was an event and there were few lessons.
First – we do not need much of the stuff that we have. I lived out of a suitcase for 3 weeks and then in the post-Irene world for a week. It is not a big deal. Being without power for five days made the house a quiet and dark place, but totally livable. The BBQ was going each night and everyone was helping each other. We should have started a multi-day Monopoly game.
Second – Web 2.0 technology has morphed from something for kids and shopping to a basic communication tool for those needing to get and give information. The city of New Canaan had one-way communication on their web site but their Office of Emergency Management established a Facebook page early. This allowed for two way communication and created an environment for people to communicate with each other. It made a big difference in causing everyone to work together and be part of the solution. What was the single technology that allowed this leap – the smart-phone. It does not require connected power or internet access.
There are lessons here for leaders of all types. What do you think we can do with these lessons?