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“What leadership means is the courage it takes to talk about things that, in the past, perhaps we wouldn’t have, because I’m not right all the time.”  — Howard D. Schultz, Starbucks CEO in the NY Times

If you read Pour Your Heart Into It, as I did, you came away believing that Howard Schultz was one of the great entrepreneurs of the new millenium.  And he was.  Starbucks was his dream, even if he almost named it after the Pequod (the ship in Melville’s Moby Dick) rather than the first mate, Starbuck.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Schultz retired from Starbucks to live the life that he had worked so hard to enjoy.  The only problem was, Starbucks took a nose-dive.  They opened too many stores, stocked too much merchandise, lost their appeal to trendsetters, and became another mass-market retailer.  Schultz returned to turn around the company only to find it a much different company than when he left.

But Schultz learned to listen.  And he learned to listen even when his instinct told him differently.  The company’s recovery now appears to be on solid ground, and Howard Schultz is now more “humble” and collaborative than before.

While I realize that not all business leadership principles can be translated to church, this one can.  I’m talking to pastors here, because I’ve learned this lesson the hard way myself.  Learn to listen.  Because, as Howard Schultz says, you’re not right all the time.  Good advice.