I often searched for memories in my ‘calendar’, scrolling up & down, remembering ‘the’ year. Or dived deep into the folder called ‘photos’, yearning to relive ‘the’ moment.
Till I walked down this place yesterday, which immediately pumped flashes of nostalgia in my heart. I looked around in awe. Yes, it was the same place- wooden shaded artifacts, dreamy long ceilings, smiling draped curtains, passionately hissing coffee machine and the genuinely familiar ‘Welcome’, with a tinge of slightly higher enthusiasm. Yes, it was the grand celebration of the 7th anniversary of Tata Starbucks in India & I was at the historic Starbucks Fort store in Mumbai. I was smiling half drenched, as rains had also decided to join in, turning on the deafening sound cutting away the cacophony of the usual entangles. Inside there were all smiles and a big cake surrounded by kids, elderly, joggers, families and many more, all reminiscing on the memories crafted here. Nobody needed a calendar or a camera. It was all in their heart. They hugged the employees, congratulated them and chatted endlessly. Everybody spoke about the special moments- nothing magnificent or life defining but definitely curating life in times of happiness and challenges. One of them rightly said, “This place naturally enables to celebrate the ‘ordinary’ in us”. The people wearing the green and black aprons were feeling very proud. There was no script (there never is to happiness in life). The emotions were so pure.
The candles were blown, cake was cut, hugs were exchanged, the biting espresso poured over the dollop of fluffy whip cream and glazed by the drizzle of sweet caramel was presented to all! After all it was the 7th anniversary. 7th anniversaries are special! The number 7 is captivating as it has found its place across many themes & beliefs, with one of them being the fact that most people retain 7 special items in their short term memory. But when genuine moments of compassion & authenticity are created, I am sure the number 7 can quadruple to even 28. And this place had the exponential magical powers. The power of simplicity, which this place and the brand has been able to create.
All of this is certainly the reflection of the heaviest word in our professional landscape- ‘culture’. The concept which many claim to have mastered have only seen few being able to execute. For me, culture is not a collection of heavy words printed on a sheet of paper and stuck on an office board. It is simply creating the environment where each one in the team feels happy, respected, accountable & inspired to give their best. It is the key to unearthing the untapped potential of an individual. It is the most magical ingredient in any team’s vessel. It has exponential powers. And it needs the right ‘attitude’ by the leader who is at the helm of it. No over glorification! Often you find unfettered imagination & creativity tucked under the corner of the cupboard with books of logic heaped over. You just need to free them up. And yes both can coexist! For this place and this brand, the 7 years of success hinges on creating an environment where baristas walk inside their stores with absolute freedom & happiness to give in their best- every day, every moment.
And the coffee- I have tried the 7th experimental variant in the day with 2 ½ espresso shots poured upside down with a dash of almond milk and a shake of nut meg to spice it up. A sprinkle of creativity and discovery!