A CEO Stands Up

Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz cancelled a speaking engagement that would have given him and Starbucks a lot of visibility - over 1000 in the live audience and 150,000 more across 40 nations, by way of live video broadcast.

Starbucks CEO - Howard Schultz

For What?

According to change.org, Willow Creek Church in Chicago, host of the Leadership Conference, has a “long anti-gay history” and has “practiced dangerous conversion therapy to ‘cure’ people of their sexual orientation.” (ToledoBlade.com)

What Would We Do?

Would I pass on such an opportunity based on a clash of values? Would I take a stand? Would you?

What if company CEOs had refused to make parts for gas chambers?

What if I only did business with companies that have women in executive leadership roles and on their boards?

Your Turn

What if ________________ .

What if ________________ .

What if ________________ .

Please add your “What ifs” to the comment section.

What’s Our Excuse?

Schultz and Starbucks are big enough already. They don’t need this or any other stage to be successful.

If I had what Schultz has I’d stand up too.

I’m just a little fish trying to stay alive in the pond.

One little person like me can’t make a difference.

The Bottom Line on What Leaders Do

Much is written about what leaders do and what attributes they display.

But let’s be clear - Leaders lead. They draw a line about what’s in and what’s out.

They take a stand - popular or not.

That is both the top and the bottom line on leading.

If you don’t do this YOU ARE NOT LEADING.

You may have followers. You may have an organization at your disposal. You may even have a stage upon which to speak.


Don’t mis-take being popular for being a Leader.

Don’t mis-take the fact that people are listening for the fact that you are leading.

Don’t mis-take compromising your values for leading.

Don’t mis-take sitting when called to stand for leading.

Who’s Leading?

Nelson Mandela - who needs no introduction.

Martin Luther King - who also needs no introduction and is still leading posthumously.

Nancy Wake - saved 100s during the holocaust and became one of the Gestapo’s Most Wanted.

Howard Schultz - Starbuck’s CEO

Your Turn

Please add you stand up leaders with a word or two about how they stand up to lead.

P.S. You can read Willow Creek’s response to Schultz’s cancellation here.

Anne Perschel
Anne Perschel
When she is not consulting; coaching; reading and writing about leadership; or enjoying her work in other ways; Anne can be found:

Listening to ocean waves receding over stones.
Enjoying the spontaneous expressions of young children who haven’t yet learned to hide their emotions.
Taking in the scent of freesias, lilacs or salt water.
Enjoying the great, or not so great, outdoors and all variations of nature’s gifts.
At the gym.

As Seen In:

Leaders Stand When It's Easier to Sit