Second Cup ex-CEO leaves a bitter taste

Posted December 27, 2010 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

Coffee... you can sleep when you're deadOkay, I know I’m supposed to be on a self-imposed ban from blogging for a week, but a story in today’s Globe and Mail couldn’t go by without a comment.  It’s a great reminder for leaders who’ve moved on to realize that shooting off your mouth can make you look like a real jerk.  Here’s the story…

Canadian coffee giant Second Cup is in the process of trying to get the upper hand on Starbucks, so the new CEO – Stacey Mowbray – is in the process of leading the charge against the Seattle juggernaut.  Mowbray’s planned her strategy and is starting to see a bit of return on the efforts.  There’s no doubt she’s got an uphill climb though, so it’s got to be a little disheartening (I’m being polite) that the former CEO – Michael Bregman – is shooting off his mouth with quotes like this one…

“Now when I walk into a brand new or renovated Second Cup store, I want to take a nap, I’m so bored.” In his day, he tried to make his shops look quirky by customizing neighborhood locations, partly with an artist’s original creations.

I think this kind of commentary makes Mr. Bregman look like a twit (Harvard educated or not).  Even though his points may be valid, it comes off looking like he’s either a) really insecure or b) so egotistical that he needs to toot his own horn to remind people how great things were when he was at the helm.  Who cares what you used to do?  It was nearly 10 years ago… move on!  And frankly, it’s easy to throw rocks from the sidelines.

I can’t believe I’m actually about to write this but Bregman should consider taking a page from George W. Bush’s book.  On the numerous times I’ve seen Bush needled to talk about his views on Obama’s presidency, he’s kept his mouth firmly shut.  His only comment has been to say that the office of President is a tough role and that the last thing Obama needs is him shoving his opinions out there.  I second that motion!

Once you’re out of the leadership seat, that’s it… you’re done.  Who cares what you think about your successor’s decisions?  It’s their game to play.  Don’t be like Michael Bregman.  Show a little class.  Keep your big mouth shut (even though your ego maybe jumping up and down wanting to trot out how successful you were… nobody else wants to hear it).

Happy leading!


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