Some would argue that how a person starts the day is a critical process for overall productivity. Whether it’s a gym routine or roasting your favorite coffee blend, the morning typically sets the tone for how people kick off their day.
Starbucks’ new CEO Laxman Narasimhan begins his busy days by delaying his morning brew and opting instead to start with a moment of reflection through meditation.
Narasimhan’s future plans for the global coffee brand include more than his approach to each day. He intends to fully immerse himself in the organization’s inner workings to “earn his green apron.”
During a conversation at AfroTech Executive in Seattle, WA, Narasimhan detailed his commitment to Starbucks through learning and discovery.
“I think it’s very important to come in with vulnerability. You don’t really have all the answers,” Narasimhan said. “You need to come in vulnerable. You need to be open-minded. You need to have a learning orientation. You need to check your ego at the door and come in and say, ‘I’m here to learn.'”
The 55-year-old doubled down on this concept when he joined Starbucks. Six months before his official start date, Narasimhan worked and trained inside a Starbucks as a barista, learning how to prepare drinks and interact with customers.
The global CEO admitted that making the drinks was not as easy as it seemed, and while he enjoyed being immersed in the culture, he also got valuable feedback that helped as he approached his work.
“It’s been very humbling to be the CEO of a company where someone says they won’t give me their drive-through order because I’m not Vida [a Starbucks barista],” Narasimhan noted. “That’s kind of a little tough. Yeah, but it’s been a great experience.”
The six-month stint exploring the company’s ins and outs led to a new personal business process Narasimhan plans to implement. Based on a CNN report, Narasimhan wrote a letter to the company saying he would like to work inside a Starbucks store once a month as a barista.
“With you, I’ve experienced every aspect of the business to learn what it truly means to wear the green apron,” Narasimhan wrote in the statement. “You’ve welcomed me into our stores, trained me in how to be a barista … all to help me deeply understand what we do, how we do it, and the challenges and opportunities facing us.”
He continued, “To keep us close to the culture and our customers, as well as to our challenges and opportunities, I intend to continue working in stores for a half day each month.”
Narasimhan is excited about his work as CEO at Starbucks, noting its position and growth as a tech company and his intentional work to build an inclusive and equitable culture that continues to impact communities globally.
Although the company’s first minority leader has big goals for his future as CEO, he still plans to stay grounded with the things that keep him centered amidst his busy schedule.
Meditation may be how Narasimhan begins his day. However, he also makes time for what matters, including daily exercise and family time, which are a part of the key ingredients to a recipe for happiness and success.