I’ll echo the many leaders who have praised the grace under pressure Bill Hybels showed at The Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek. As many of you know, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks canceled his speaking appearance due to an online petition from the homosexual community threatening to boycott Starbucks should Shultz speak at the supposedly “anti-gay” church. Schultz decided to cancel, and the Summit let him out of his contract.
What was remarkable, then, is how well Bill handled the situation. I noticed a few things about his announcement that I’ll keep in my file the next time I’m forced to share bad news:
1. He explained the situation accurately, and without judgment for either Mr Schultz or the homosexual community.
2. He corrected the misunderstanding that led to the protest, while also acknowledging a difficult truth that led to the misunderstanding.
3. He showed Mr. Schultz grace and understood his position, even asking the audience for empathy for Mr. Shultz.
4. He invited the audience to “take action” by showing kindness to Starbucks and Mr. Schultz as a way of further dispelling the misunderstanding that led to the protest.
I thought he did a terrific job in a difficult situation. Here’s the clip: