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Evan Schuman: Starbucks and the art of persuasion

Evan Schuman | Jan. 15, 2014
The coffee chain was smart enough to push mobile by not initially pushing mobile. It's an approach that can work for your business too, internally and externally.

Slow rollouts take far more corporate support, since they delay the promised ROI dollars. But any initiative that's launched "because we need the revenue to hit by the end of this quarter" is misguided at best. Your need for immediate ROI is not motivating for your customers or your rank-and-file employees.

"The realities of quarterly demands cramp how companies function. Corporate attempts at innovation are literally suffocated by it," Ablowitz says. "Few companies can adequately combat that, and Starbucks is one of them."

If you think this only applies to customers and partners, think again. Employees are not slaves. The employer's ability to dictate technology choices for employees has its limits, especially among knowledge workers. Anyone who thinks IT people will do what they're told because they are told to do it — well, they probably haven't been in IT very long.

So the next time you plan to roll out new technology, to customers, partners or employees, take a cue from Starbucks: baby steps.


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