As merchants with a product to market, we take the ordinary – a shoe, a knife – and give it a new life, believing that what we create has the potential to touch others’ lives because it touched ours.
Without the product the company has no reason to exist. There is a word that comes to mind when thinking about the company and the people. That word is love, love of the product because everything is steeped in humanity. Respect and dignity. Passion and laughter. Compassion, community and responsibility. Authenticity.
When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives.
The entrepreneurial journey isn’t for everyone, yes, the highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling but the lows can break your heart. Entrepreneurs must love what they do to such an extent that it’s worth the sacrifice and sometimes the pain but doing anything else would be unimaginable.
Work should be personal for all of us, not just for the artist or entrepreneur. Work should have meaning for the accountant, the construction worker, the technologist, the manager and the administrator.
Infusing work with purpose and meaning, however, is a two-way street. Yes, love what you do but your company should love you back. As a merchant, the desire to inspire customers, exceed their expectations and establish and maintain their trust. As an employer, the duty has always been to do the same for people on the other side of the counter and for our partners. The latter responsibility has driven me for many, many years.
Chief Executive Officer, starbucks