I’ve talked to several customers lately who have cited a “cultural shift” as a major area of focus. These nonprofits are undergoing an overhaul to the way they hire, train, and motivate staff and volunteers.
I also recently started reading “Onward” by Starbucks founder Harry Schultz. The book covers the Schultz’s cultural overhaul that saved Starbucks. While I am not all the way through the book yet, I couldn’t help share how the “Seven Big Moves Schultz” made to transform Starbucks would also apply to every nonprofit undertaking a cultural change.
Schultz was ultra-clear with his 7 directives, that every staff member had to embody:
(my additional comments in parentheses)
1. Be the undisputed [area of expertise] authority. (In Starbucks’ case the expertise is coffee)
2. Engage and inspire staff. (Staff have to believe the vision to live it)
3. Ignite the emotional attachment to customers. (Use members’ first names, listen to their stories)
4. Make your [center] the heart of the local neighborhood. (Your Y, your J, your center can be the heart of the community)
5. Be the leader in ethical sourcing and environmental impact. (There may be other higher priorities for nonprofits, like “be the leader in life-long engagement in our community.”)
6. Create innovative growth platforms worthy of your [products/programs and services.] (If current programs and services don’t do justice to your brand, change them)
7. Deliver a sustainable economic model. (As important for a nonprofit as it is for retail establishments like Starbucks)
Cultural transformation doesn’t happen in a day—it’s a major commitment. Schultz shows us that strong leadership, clear directives, staff buy-in, passion, and pride are all critical to making the shift.