Own Your Mistakes -- Howard Behar's Presentation at #SHRM19



Own you mistakes. Howard Behar, former President at Starbucks, shared how the travesty of discrimination rocked the values of Starbucks at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition. It took less than 48 hours, according to Behar, for the events that occurred in Philadelphia to make it to the national stage and to the hearts of the team at Starbucks. Who are we?

Values are important. Living values is more important. Organizations should look to breathe those values into all that’s done at work. Behar spent almost 30 years at Starbucks forming and challenging staff to subscribe and adopt. Behar spoke about affecting the hearts of people. He listened to the challenges of staff and then filtered those issues through the values of Starbucks. Decisions were made consistently and confidently.

In our work, do we look at people as capable of being values oriented? Not merely measured by memorizing those values, but rather living them. That’s a cultural investment.  In a world where HR professionals talk about affecting culture, values are not to be minimized. Howard Behar had a crisis of values a couple of times in his life and each time he faced that crisis head on. He grounded himself in what he knew to be true about himself and about the work he was doing. 

For our profession to make a continued difference, we should be conscious as to how the values conversation is delivered and how it is measured. Hold people accountable to the impact of living out company values. The culture will protect itself so be sure it’s aligned to mission and values intentionally. Even giants like Starbucks are affected by a crisis of values.  Address and redefine values. And then, live them. 



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