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  • Writer's pictureAditya Bhujbal

Houston, we have a problem!

They say that everything is relative; death is the only reality, the ultimate truth. The presence of problems is not the root cause of suffering in the world; it's the absence of their solutions that hurts.

When such a situation arises, it's time to think outside the box. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) start failing, processes become inefficient, and hierarchy creates a sense of fear rather than confidence. These signs are enough to show that the solution lies somewhere else. We will have to travel by the road untraveled to get out of the situation we are in. If we keep searching for a solution within the inefficient system, the organization is destined to be doomed. It is wise to cut losses and search for solutions outside the routine. One such example that I came across is the case of Starbucks.

After a brief patch of initial success, Starbucks struggled to attract customers. Lesser-known competitors were catching up and surpassing the standards set by Starbucks. Shareholders and employees tried every possible trick to attract customers, but to their surprise, it didn't work out. Then Howard Schultz (Mr. CEO) delved deep into the problem and tried to reach the root cause, not by sitting in the boardroom, but by going on a vacation! There, he observed that Starbucks had to return to the original premise that made them successful: "Give your customers the best coffee and experience." He made a bold move by shutting down all the stores, essentially halting the business altogether to retrain all employees. Can you imagine a company halting its operations and revenue in the middle of peak hours for employee training? SOPs and policies wouldn't have allowed it, but it took an out-of-the-box approach to revive the company. On the flip side, if the attempt hadn't produced the expected results, this would have been a case study of an HR training disaster.

It takes colossal courage to trust your decision and stick to it when the world is against you. The world works on uncertainties, and it's hope and optimism for landing on the favorable side that keep the wheel of life turning. Easier said than done!

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