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CREATIVE LEAPS - Journal of the Arts in Leadership and Organizational Learning

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Starbucks Brews Culture Change Toward Servant Leadership with Creative Leaps

What’s the relationship between acknowledging vulnerability and achieving success? How can we handle negativity with grace and integrity? What does it mean to be fully present and in the moment with our peers…and how can that enhance workplace relationships and leadership skills?

The performing artists and change agents of Creative Leaps International recently unveiled a new Concert of Ideas, THE LEADER’S CHALLENGE, for more than 5,000 store managers and personnel partners of the Starbucks Coffee Company at national conferences in Florida and California. Based on the company’s desire to introduce Servant Leadership values into its culture from the ground up, THE LEADER’S CHALLENGE is a unique performance event, made up of virtuosic musical and theatrical interludes, developed by Creative Leaps International to address Servant Leadership (and the ‘Five Ways of Being’ identified as its building blocks by author and consultant James Autrey) through the power of the arts. 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 professional development but also to a person’s values, perceptions, and beliefs.

THE LEADER’S CHALLENGE was positioned as the principal learning tool for the Starbucks conferences, and acknowledges the connection between the public role we assume as leaders and the more personal nature of our authentic selves. What’s the relationship between acknowledging vulnerability and achieving success? How can we handle negativity with grace and integrity? What does it mean to be fully present and in the moment with our peers…and how can that enhance workplace relationships and leadership skills? 

After experiencing THE LEADER’S CHALLENGE and subsequent workshops 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.

 

In the next issue of NEW HARMONIES: Interview with Servant Leadership Senior Educator Richard Smith

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