The Problem With Taking Your Culture Too Seriously

Joshua A. Luna
November 12, 2021
The Problem With Taking Your Culture Too Seriously
Matthew Henry via Burst

The main story

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is facing backlash after using a metaphor comparing the experiences of Holocaust victims to how it runs its company culture and mission.

On Saturday, November 6th, Howard Schultz addressed a room of unionizing employees at a Buffalo Hyatt Regency Hotel, where he spent 45 minutes detailing the cultural advances the company made over the years.

Schultz shared how despite receiving one blanket for every six people, prisoners in rail cars headed to camps still decided to share theirs with others - a metaphor he used to explain how Starbucks has shared their blanket when it comes to its company culture.

Union elections at three Buffalo, NY store locations began on November 10th and will end voting on December 8th.

Teachable Moment

If you have to drag in historical tragedies to explain your company’s culture, you might have some work to do.

This is a clear example of how companies are getting out of hand with mission/culture statements often touted around.

While they’re used to rally employees towards a central goal, let’s not forget that (spoiler), not every company is changing the world.

And that’s perfectly okay.

Sometimes you can lead by treating people fairly and working on interesting things.

Other times, you can just sell coffee.