People are not just ‘assets,’ they are human beings who must be encouraged to think independently. Without people, a company has nothing. It should be “People first before profits.”

These are the words of Howard Behar, a recognized management mentor who worked as a senior executive at Starbucks and helped mold the coffee company’s corporate culture into a prosperous people-centered one.

Behar compels aspiring leaders in business, in government, in the corporate world or in the academe to show people care, build trust, hold accountability, and know one’s identity and keep to one’s convictions.

Behar believes that if leaders regard employees and customers as creative human beings, everything else about the business will take care of itself.

“If you think of your staff as people (not assets or labor costs), they will achieve results beyond what is thought possible. And if you think of your customers as people you serve (not sources of revenue), you’ll make a deep connection with them, and they’ll come back over and over,”


These days, it is becoming more and more about relationships and connecting, thus Behar prioritizes the importance of personal leadership.

“It is people—in the best of times, and especially in the hardest times—who will inspire you, sustain and grow your organization, and get you through.

It is people who have the creativity, energy and passion to move us forward.

Even if financial resources are at hand to ease your business (whether from investors, banks, the government, good internal management, or family), it’s not going to make any difference if everyone isn’t committed, creative and purposeful about where you’re going … we need people’s creativity, which means doubling down on taking care of people…”



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