Growing Connections Through Technology

I’m writing this post sitting in an airport, waiting on my flight. I drove to the airport from my client’s location, navigating via my smart phone. Along the way, I was updated by the airline with a flight time change. Arriving at the airport, I checked in with a boarding pass on my phone. Waiting for the flight, I checked email, websites, and participated in a conference call – all on my mobile phone.

Mobile technology has changed the world, and that includes ChurchWorld.



In Leading the Starbucks Way, organizational consultant Joseph Michelli uses two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Leadership Principle #4: Mobilize the Connection

This principle looks at how Starbucks strengthens the relationships formed in Starbucks stores and extends them into the home, office, and supermarket experiences of customers. It also examines how Starbucks leaders leverage technology to integrate a multichannel relationship with their customer base.

Great leaders continually seek to leverage the options that are emerging through technology and to position their businesses on social platforms more effectively and strategically.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

ChurchWorld Application

  1. How would you assess your success in forging a digital connection of trust and relevance?
  2. Do you have a multi-pronged and integrated strategy concerning digital and mobile solutions?

Two key elements in the Starbucks social media strategy are authenticity and interesting content. Starbucks is committed to making friends, not offers. They feel that Twitter and Facebook are about connecting – there are more appropriate settings for selling and closing.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. How strategic are your decisions concerning the social media platforms through which your brand will engage?
  2. Have you dedicated resources to commit time to thinking about the platform that fits your organization and guest and member interfaces?

Technology will serve our mission, and we will deploy our strategies to engage our partners and customers wherever they spend their time. We will seek to stay relevant to them and uplift them through human connection.     – Alex Wheeler, vice president, Starbucks Global Digital Marketing


A few of the highlights of this principle:

  • Twitter and Facebook approaches should focus on consistent but not overwhelming levels of communication, delivered for the purpose of connecting.
  • No matter the size of the organization, its leaders should designate someone to be in charge of social media strategy.
  • Technology is powerful when you view it as a way to enhance the human connection rather than seeing it as inevitably leading to impersonalization.
  • Technology should not be provided for “users,” but instead should be seen as a tool for serving and connecting with your “people” and your “Guests.”


Part 7 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli




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