How to Change and Stay the Same

The management consultant and author Jim Collins loves to tell about the moment he realized that Peter Drucker was the living embodiment of this important principle: The things that an organization stands for should remain firm and fixed, but how it does things should be adjusted constantly.
This dawned on Collins when he went to lunch with Drucker one day and watched his mentor order the usual: a nice glass of red wine—and, at the same time, a double espresso. Collins laughed to himself and thought, “There you go: Preserve the core and stimulate progress.”
I had a similar reaction this week when Starbucks announced that it would expand its sales of beer and wine, alongside its core coffee drinks, in a move to boost customer traffic in the evening hours.
So far, the effort is modest. Six Starbucks stores in the Pacific Northwest currently serve wine, beer, and what the company calls “premium food.” Late last year, Starbucks announced plans to bring the concept to a handful of locations in the Chicago area by the end of 2012. Four to six stores in both Atlanta and Southern California will also test the idea.
Judging from the comments I’ve seen in various news stories and on Facebook, consumer reaction is mixed. But I admire what Starbucks is attempting, for it’s a wonderful reminder of how all enterprises must strive to find the right blend of continuity and change.

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