This is about, ‘Not Listening To The Experts’ or perhaps listening to the experts and doing what your heart and mind tell you to do.
The year is 1996, Starbucks is planning to open its first international store and the location happens to be Tokyo, Japan.
They’ve hired a big consulting firm, who’ve spent a lot of time, charged a lot of money, published a thick volume of.. their findings, made a nice presentation to the board,
which pretty much says, ‘DON’T DO IT! It’d be a disaster!’ You see, when experts give you advice, they have good solid reasons, why you shouldn’t do anything.
These consultants said that real estate is very expensive in Tokyo. So, the stores are gonna be really small, really cramped, not the usual Starbucks size.
That wouldn’t work! Starbucks had a no-smoking policy, that would harm their business, kill their business in Japan.
80% of Starbucks ’ existing sales, in the US, were coming from take away, to go.
Now eating on the move was not part of the Japanese culture, so the experts suggested that this wouldn’t work in Japan.
And the volume of sales would not be the same in Japan as in the United States.
And finally, August happens to be the month that they picked for their launch, is a very humid month in Japan, and not the right time for coffee!
So everything according to expert advice suggested, Howard Schultz the CEO and founder.. do not go ahead with his plans of international expansion in Tokyo, Japan.
Howard writes in his book, POUR YOUR HEART INTO IT, which I suggest every business leader… every entrepreneur, every professional, everyone,
who loves coffee, should read that book. It’s sort of his memoir about how he built this Empire and he recalls paying the money to the consultants…
listening to what they had to say, reading their report, and asking them to get lost!
He was nervous, he was afraid that the next day when CNN was going to cover up…
the opening of the new store in Tokyo, only perhaps three or four people would turn out outside the store.
But he was pleasantly surprised to see it a queue of hundreds, just like some of their recent store openings in Mumbai and Delhi.
But this was 1996, and this was their first store. He was asking his partner if they’d hide extras to stand in the queue.
And the interesting moment, that he narrates in the book is, when the first customer walks inside the store, is a young Japanese student…
speaks very little English, and asks for a double tall latte. And that’s when Howard and his team realized that they had something potentially really big at hand.
And that was the turning point for the company to go into a major aggressive international expansion board.
Perhaps Starbucks wouldn’t be in every major country across the world today if Howard Schultz wouldn’t have listened to his inner voice.. his own conviction,
his own gut instinct and it wouldn’t have gone against the expert advice at that point in time.
Perhaps, the course of history for this company would have been vastly different. Friends, what I am really trying to say to you here is this…
The biggest risk that you can ever take in your personal and professional lives, is not to take any risks at all.
Is to play it safe! You see, experts are paid to give safety advice. They’ve built their credibility on giving safe advice.
When they ask you to do something risky, Inherent In Risk Are Chances Of Failure.
Now, they wouldn’t want to compromise their own credibility, by giving you suggestions wherein you can fail!
And the experts are experts at what is gone by! Their expertise is based on historical facts, projections, things that have already happened.
We need leaders, visionaries, entrepreneurs because they are the experts of the future.
They can see what no one else can see because these are the folks who are actually going to shape the future.
In the end, I’d like to leave you with these two beautiful quotations.
The first one is by Dr. Steven Covey who said, ‘Live your life out of YOUR imagination, not out of YOUR (or someone else’s) history.’
And the second is by American science fiction writer Robert Heinlein who said.. ‘Always listen to the experts because they are very good at telling you,
what you cannot do.’ ‘And they’ll give you the reasons, why you can’t do it and then you must go and do it anyway.’
And I would add, use those reasons why they think you cannot do it, as your motivation to make it happen.
I am sure, there are experts across the world right now, who must be telling Elon Musk that Hyper-loop is not practically possible.
That establishing a colony on Mars is practically impossible. I don’t think that will stop Elon Musk from doing what he wants to achieve.
And pushing himself, and his team, and his organizations beyond the limits that have been set by so-called experts of their fields.
Therefore, listen to what the experts, the naysayers, have to say. And then follow what your heart and your mind tell you.
Because no one else can see what you can see! Be true to yourself and follow your dream!