This is the third in a 5-post series, How to Deliver World-Class Customer Experiences – Leading the Starbucks Way, as we continue through the business concepts in my book Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles to Connect with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People.

In the context of my principle, Reach for Common Ground, I highlight two competing perspectives held by cultural anthropologists - universalism and cultural relativism. While the words are daunting, the concepts are straightforward. Universalism suggests that the underlying similarities of all people are greater than cultural differences. By contrast, cultural relativism asserts that cultural differences have the most profound effect on people making it difficult for “outsiders” to fully understand a relevant context of behavior. While anthropologists may argue about universalism or cultural relativism, most business owners and leaders are not interested in winning a debate. Instead, we need to scale our business to maximize commonalities while making local adjustments to ensure market acceptance.

How do you determine if you should vary your offering or drive consistency across locations?

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