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An Open Letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

“This spirit of connectedness and humanity is powerful; so powerful that if we unleash it, we can make a difference on a much grander scale.” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Dear Mr. Schultz,

We don’t understand why you are focused on the fiscal cliff issue. Why you keep trying to make an impact on American politics as if it will really change something.

As a person with a great desire to change things for the better, and as the CEO of a company with 17,000 coffee shops in about 40 countries, we feel that all the power is in your hands. A wonderful example is how you are getting employees in D.C.-area stores to write ‘Come Together’ on coffee cups when serving customers. Why not make these unifying messages a permanent thing? Why not make them the foundation of the Starbucks corporate image?

The crisis is all about nature trying to get a message through our thick heads that we need to realize how connected we are. That we need to fix human relations at every level for our systems to be able to function properly again.

As the head of a major corporation it is completely in your power to get new messages out to the public; on your coffee cups, in your stores, through your advertising and marketing, and any time you get up to speak. These unifying messages are what the world really needs right now. The forces operating on our world at the moment are pushing us to unite but since we are not trying to understand these forces we are still experiencing this pressure as negative in every realm of our lives.

Society needs to rewire itself for sustainability, meaning that we need to start operating according to a completely different set of values. Today it is clearer than ever that this path of self-interest is not leading us to a good place. We created this competitive world where we need people beneath us to feel good, but the time has come to sit up and realize that it’s killing us.

Beyond featuring new messages, ideally you will want to provide your employees with special training about how to interact in today’s global world. It would also be highly beneficial for your entire operation to offer brief information right in your stores about the challenges ahead and how they can be solved using integral methods.

While people are standing in line waiting for their daily Starbucks fix – you can provide a brief course for them to enjoy right there. Five minutes a day would make a world of difference and also be highly entertaining since the “course” mainly involves enhancing social relations through role-playing, roundtable discussions and games. Imagine Starbucks customers all over the world experiencing this new step together and imagine what an impact that would have on our world.

If I still haven’t convinced you that the ball is entirely in your court let us compare the Starbucks enterprise to the US Government.

Right now, the US Government is like a high-tech company that  has burnt through millions of dollars from investors, but is still producing the exact same product it did ten or even twenty years ago. As a solution to our escalating issues it is offering outdated methods, solutions and services that no longer apply to the current conditions. There is no genuine innovation or adapting to the new reality taking place there. Which is really a pity because President Obama is very dynamic and innovative but he is the head of an organization that has been stuck in its ways for hundreds of years, and has zero motivation to renew itself. Why should it? The salaries and benefits are great, and no one on board wants to rock the boat in any way that’s for sure.

You on the other hand Mr. Schultz are at the helm of one of the world’s most successful global corporations. This was not handed to you on a silver platter, it is the result of a lot of hard work. One of the benefits is that Starbucks comes into direct contact with tens of millions of people all over the world on a daily basis, and it is safe to say that these are pleasant interactions for the most part.  Do you know how much power that gives you? More than any single government or political leader in the world. You can get a global message out to people in over 40 countries at the same time, and generate a change of perception in a matter of weeks. These are truly God-like powers that only a handful of people in the world have.

The winds of change are upon us Mr. Schultz and the time has come to set sail for a completely new direction. Our destination? A better society than the one we have today where we are rewarded for our contribution to society, rather than how much money we have in our bank account. We are respected for how we treat our fellow man. A place where we can realize the tremendous potential of all the unique parts making up the whole – imagine unlocking that power and imagine how different our world will look.

The bottom line is that we need to create a completely different environment for us all to grow and thrive in, where we are all focused on forging a better way of life here on earth together. That is our future and the sooner we realize it, the better off we will all be.