Monday, 14 September 2015

Green Apron Behaviour - something to learn from Starbucks

I was listening to my favorite AM Christian radio station from the Phillippines when I heard this. The sharing was timely as I am contemplating on what's important in building relationships.  Everything was falling into place -I've learned about different personalities and how to deal with each, the different parts of the PIE of life and their portion, how to apply Planning, Leading, Organizing and Control management principles and how to balance knowledge, faith, love to live a God-fearing, purpose-driven life and become the outcome of all these inputs.  Yesterday, in church we learned about our inner calling, our gifts, our influence and how to respond to the "calling" and apply it to our daily fishing for God. Yes, it is too big to handle but with the right formula and willingness to obey, one cannot miss this opportunity.

The Green Apron Behaviour that the Starbucks employees were trained to deliver shows why the coffee store stands out.  It's not only the coffee but the "People" factor that contributes to the increasing and retaining customer base that Starbucks is known for.  The Christians who are also called Fishers of men can learn from the Green Apron Behaviour to fulfill the task. Here is list of the attitude that those who work with green apron are expected to show / deliver:

1. Welcoming - you know when you are truly welcome - you are greeted, there is a genuine smile or the talk is more personal.  Remember, they ask your name to put in the cup, that's you, it's personal. When we want to bring someone close to God, we welcome the person regardless of race, color, size and age into our homes, into our circles, into our lives. Hindi porke ibang religion or beliefs, ayaw na natin makipagusap sa Kanila.  Hindi porke inis ang pamilya mo dun na wala ka naman kinalaman dahil away ng pamilya yun, Iiwas ka na rin sa tao na yun. Paano na ang channel of blessings through you? Alam mo yun feeling na welcome ka di ba? no walls, no pretentions, warm and open. Someone  who is willing to accept anyone including the person you just met and who will connect with you right away. Break that wall, welcome one another.

2. Knowledgeable of product - how can we say or promote something if we ourselves don't know anything about it.  Build our relationship with God first. Learn about God, read the bible, pray, have an intimate relationship with our Saviour,  know about Jesus and the gift of salvation, memorize those verses, learn them and store them in your heart so that when the time comes that you need to "share" or answer questions, the Holy Spirit will retrieve the knowledge and reveal it. Like the Barista, he will give you the right coffee flavour suited to you.

3.  Genuine - you build relationships with others, not just your family or close friends. There is true friendship in every fellowship. Did you know that each time you interact or react to someone, you are making an effort to connect to that person? The outcome of the conversation makes or breaks the interaction. Most of the time you will receive kind words, good comments from a barista because they want to connect more with you. Sales strategy? Maybe, but at the end of a stressful day, having someone to vent out our frustrations to makes up a barista-customer relationship. Naalala ko dati sa ATC, ask ni barista, how's your day mam? I will say, bad trip, init ulo, alam na niya ang oorderin ko - ahh Mocha Frapp ma'am? So how are you with a friend who is in need, do you reach out or just even listen to them? Or do we stay away from him because we don't want to get involved. Where is the relationship-building there?

4. Considerate - when I was pregnant or I brought my kids to Starbucks when they were little, the barista asked me if I will have coffee? He would offer non-caffeine smoothies to my children and less caffeine or fat to a preggy like me.   Are you the same with whatever situation your friend is in? Can you easily adapt to a situation?   Would you consider someone else's feelings or agenda, or only your own? What about God's plan? Sometimes and I admit I am guilty of this too, we tend to focus only of ourselves that we miss out on  the opportunity. selfie ika nga.  Let us be considerate of others even if we are annoyed at that person, there is still something good in that person that we are expected to bring up if we show the love, kindness and consideration that we as Christians are supposed to be full of. Kahit nakakainis na siya, or di niya deserved yun, let us give him the benefit of the doubt and bring out the goodness in another. Anak din siya ng Diyos.

5. Involved - this is related to item number 2, how can we be genuine if we are not involved? How can we lend a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear if we are not available? Tucked away in our"comfort zone" with an alibi," problema niya yun, I don't want to get involved." How can that person know that there is hope in God if we are shutting our doors and windows to that person? God will use us if only we allow him to. We need to admit that we are not created to live in isolation and be willing to be used for another person's encouragement or building up.  "It is not good for a man to live alone, I will create a companion for him." "Walang sinoman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang. Tayong lahat ay may pananagutan sa isat isa."

What makes you go or come back to Starbucks? It's not only the coffee, but it's the total "experience" that makes it more attractive. The traits mentioned are not only for Starbucks barista but for all the people, for Christians who are called to bring others to Christ and make him enjoy the experience. Like the barista who stands behind those counter, we can do the same, share the total experience so that others will know and come or return to Christ. We can be Welcoming, Knowledgeable, Genuine, Considerate and Involved and we can show it in so many ways. Not only lip service, I have to do the same and I ask God for guidance, more love, forgiveness, kindness and willingness in my heart to live the kind of life He wants us to live. May God guide us, in Jesus name.

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