We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we've often heard that nice guys finish last.
Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the Starbucks organization most definitely proves that nice guys finish first. In The Magic Cup, Behar spins an engaging corporate tale to teach us exactly how we can do the same thing.
The story revolves around Vince Steadfast, the newly named CEO of imaginary manufacturer Verity Glassworks, which has fallen on difficult times. Vince is hired to help the once iconic company return to its glory days, and he brings with him a parting gift from his mentor and former boss: a stunning crystal coffee cup from Verity's halcyon days. The cup turns out to be magic - truly - and helps him come to understand and reinvigorate the values that Verity has misplaced along the way.
As Vince and his new team make their way to (and through) many challenges, including the aptly named Worthy Way, Perilous Passage, and Arduous Stair, the cup fills with a gold elixir, and the universal truths that they learn to embrace - such as responsibility, forgiveness, and courage - magically become engraved in the glass.
In the tradition of great parable writers throughout history, Behar quickly involves us in an engrossing fantasy, continually challenging us to compare each situation with our own real-life experiences. The story of The Magic Cup helps each of us discover that only by acting on sound moral principles can we fill our own cups with the personal and professional success and satisfaction we seek.
The story is silly, makes little sense and teaches nothing but basic concepts of leadership.
Tip of the hat to Howard Behar for this corporate fable I relate with. The story and characters are the makings of a film. May this message serve millions!