“I’d be dead if it weren’t for Amway”
“Without Amway, my life would have no purpose.”
I’ve heard a few people say things like this. They either owe their very existence to Amway, or one of Amway’s Approved Providers, such as World Wide DreamBuilders, or a combination of the two.
To the Amway outsider, these statements must seem kooky at best, and downright scary at worst. It is a rather stunning amount of power and influence that someone would attribute to a corporation or organization. But it’s only stunning if you don’t have any experience of what such an entity provides to the individual.
This loyalty is not limited to Amway. I’m in the middle of reading a well-researched and well-written book called The Power of Habit. The author is Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times. (More on some of his fascinating findings in a later post, or two, or three).
In Part Two of the book, “The Habits of Successful Organizations,” Duhigg writes about Travis, a young man with a pretty rough upbringing that included drug-addicted parents and rampant neglect. He was fired from every job he tried to hold down. Travis lacked self-discipline–showing up late, being insubordinate, yelling at customers, bursting into tears or a fit of rage.
Then someone suggested he apply to Starbucks. Six years later, at 25 years old, Travis manages two Starbucks where he oversees 40 employees and is responsible for revenues exceeding $2 million per year.
What happened? As Duhigg writes, “Starbucks–like a handful of other companies–has succeeded in teaching the kind of life skills that schools, families, and communities have failed to provide.”
We, as Starbucks outsiders, might view this corporation as nothing more than a provider of coffee. But, Duhigg notes, Starbucks also is “in a sense, one of the nation’s largest educators” with more than one million past and present employees.
Starbucks’ training and mentoring is so much more than about serving coffee.
When an organization provides the environment and the tools to transform a person’s life, primarily by changing their thought process…which changes their behaviors…which changes their results and circumstances, then it’s no surprise when that individual develops an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
In Travis’ words: “Starbucks is the most important thing that has ever happened to me. I owe everything to this company.”