business news in context, analysis with attitude

…where the Content Guy reconsiders previously stated positions…

A few weeks ago, when Starbucks announced that its general counsel, Lucy Helm, had been named Chief Partner Officer, I opined, in part:

If I were an employee and the company informed me that the new liaison/advocate was someone who until recently was the firm's lawyer ... well, let's just say that this wouldn't necessarily be the most reassuring news I'd ever gotten. That's not to make any sort of judgement about Lucy Helm ... for all I know, she indeed could be the perfect person for the job.

That may not have been intended as a judgement, but it certainly sounded like one.

Which is why I read with great interest a piece in the Seattle Times yesterday about Helm in which she comes across as friendly, warm and entirely accessible ... in short, perhaps the perfect person for the role at a time when “the company faces major challenges including slowing sales growth that has disappointed some Wall Street investors.”

The story makes the point that CEO Kevin Johnson “has reportedly made a push for baristas to form better emotional connections with customers — a move that angered some who say it puts a greater burden on already overworked baristas.”

What really impressed me about the piece is that Helm seems not particularly entranced with the idea of being a lawyer; she’s more interested in being a leader, and seems to understand that the company can only be as good as its people.

I may have gotten this wrong, and you can read the story yourself to see what you think of Helm and her philosophy.
KC's View: