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Servant Leadership Brought to Life for Starbucks Coffee Company

Creative Leaps International broke new ground this spring, working with its largest set of corporate audiences to date. Unveiling a new Concert of Ideas, The Leader’s Challenge, the Creative Leaps team performed for more than 5,000 store managers and personnel partners of the Starbucks Coffee Company at recent conferences in Orlando, Florida and Anaheim, California.
The Leader’s Challenge addresses Servant Leadership and the ‘Five Ways of Being’ identified by author and consultant James Autrey as its building blocks. According to Autrey, being authentic, vulnerable, present, accepting, and useful in the workplace is the first step in becoming a successful servant leader, and speaks not only to a person’s professional development but also to his or her personal values, perceptions, and beliefs.


The Leader’s Challenge acknowledges the connection between the public role we assume as leaders and the more personal nature of our authentic selves. What is the relationship between vulnerability and success? How can we handle negativity with grace and integrity? What does full acceptance of others in the workplace require of us? What does it mean to be fully present with our employees and peers…and how can that enhance workplace relationships and leadership skills? The Leader’s Challenge is also rich in the key insights that Creative Leaps has brought to life over the years. What do you do in the face of insurmountable obstacles? How do we envision success? …And how can we effectively turn vision into action?


Concerts of Ideas are most often utilized by corporations as catalysts for a learning process. But for Starbucks, The Leader’s Challenge was the learning process. The Leader’s Challenge was positioned as the principal learning tool of the Starbucks conferences. As such, Creative Leaps was more responsible than ever before in engaging its audiences not only in active participation but, ultimately, in fully comprehensive thinking and learning. Without a doubt, Creative Leaps has reaffirmed its ability to provide both creative insight and practical content to its corporate clientele.

After experiencing The Leader’s Challenge and various follow-up activities on Servant Leadership, a select group of attendees at each conference collaborated with the Creative Leaps team to build a culminating performance based on their individual learning and insights from the conference. (Creative Leaps calls these concluding events “Harvests of Ideas,” and considers them a vital part of the learning process). The resulting performances included full participation by the conference attendees and focused on such areas as team development, identifying personal values, and accepting diversity in the workplace. These culminating events celebrated shared values of leadership and personal development; and they were full of lively and heartfelt affirmations of commitment, dedication, and personal growth.


The Leader’s Challenge was developed with the generous guidance and support of Richard Smith, senior educator and consultant on the subject of Servant Leadership.

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