The Wrong Starbucks: How two leaders missed each other for a moment

One of the cool things about southern California is all the wonderful outdoor places to meet. One of these is Starbucks. I love meeting people on Starbucks patios, not a week goes by where I do not meet someone there. I love their coffee too but I gave that up 10 weeks ago.

A couple days back I had planned to meet a good friend I had attended school with. We had not seen for several months so I was looking forward to meeting him. I showed up early, not wanting to send the wrong message. I was very excited to reconnect with this guy. The only thing was he was sitting at a Starbucks 2 miles down the street (the same street!).

How is it that two leaders could mix this up and end up at different locations waiting for the other? Is it because there are too many Starbucks? Is this a simple coincidence or something more fundamental?

Well knowing that both my friend and I have high value for communication both of us simultaneously checked our phones to ensure we had not made a mistake. He checked his calendar, while I called him. We quickly determined the problem. To say Starbucks on foothill in La Verne is simply not descriptive enough. You need another point of reference since there are two that fit without it.

I am happy to report that while both of us found ourselves wondering if we had screwed this meeting up, both of us passed the communication test embedded in the event. Neither of us assumed that we had communicated effectively We did not conclude that the other person had screwed this deal up. No we both understood that the true point of communication is whether the message had been received and understood by the other party.

A leader knows that communication is a core competence. Communication is about conveying meaning to others not about hearing yourself talk or writing a killer email. Communication is an elegantly simple concept that can be remarkably difficult to get right. Leaders practice their effectiveness in communicating every day.

Lead and communicate well


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