“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” William Pollard
I’ll admit. I’m a coffee drinker. And I’m lucky, because every morning my husband hand delivers me a steaming hot cup of coffee before I even get out of bed. And he’s not even a coffee drinker himself! He prefers tea.
That’s how I first discovered Capital Teas. We were downtown Annapolis when he spotted the cute store and wanted to walk through it. The shop stood at the edge of the downtown area along the Chesapeake Bay. It seemed a fitting store name given its location was based in the heart of Maryland’s capitol.
But even as a coffee drinker, I was immediately blown away by Capital Teas. Along their “sniffing wall” were rows and rows of all different teas. Roasted Almond, Organic Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Island Mango tea. We stood there sniffing the many varieties of samples trying to pick our favorites.
Again recently, we found ourselves in another one of their stores. This time it was their National Harbor location, much closer to our nation’s capitol of Washington, DC. Again, I was impressed by the store and how a product seemingly so simple – tea! – could offer such an eclectic blend of varieties. Even the tea kettles ranged from small to large and came in all shapes and sizes.
I learned that in just 10 short years of existence, Capital Teas has today expanded to nearly two dozen store locations around the country and even sells internationally through its online website. Plus, the company has plans to expand each year as well.
Given the company’s impressive growth and my own interest in why some companies succeed and others don’t, I decided to carefully examine Capital Teas’ corporate values. I’d recently been recommended a book called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek who says that the most successful and thriving companies don’t sell based on WHAT they do, but WHY they do what they do. Personally, I’d come to that same conclusion as well so I had been excited to see that there was a book that offered case studies that backed the theory that it’s more effective to start with WHY. Those case studies included success stories ranging from Steve Jobs with Apple to the Wright Brother’s invention of the airplane.
Although very few companies advertise on their website WHY – or their reason for existence, I’d found the majority do have a values statement that supports their corporate mission statement.
So I wanted to know…why is Capital Teas so successful and thriving? Why does the company exist? And does the company’s purpose play a role in its success?
I simply started with their website and soon discovered that one of Capital Teas’ corporate values was “innovation”. No surprise given I’d already seen first hand how they had innovated a wide variety of tea flavors I never would have thought of myself. How about Fountain of Youth Acai Tea? Or Madame Butterfly Jasmine? Maybe try one of the top sellers, Milk Oolong? So many options!
But I didn’t fully appreciate what Capital Teas means by incorporating the value of innovation until I dropped by another one of their stores on Capitol Hill to talk with their staff.
We want tea to be something everybody can enjoy, shared their spokesperson. So we even have a meeting called the creativity crockpot where we bring all our different ideas to the table – no matter how big or small they are. We really want to inspire each other and get our creative juices flowing!
in-no-va-tion: (noun) something new; significant positive change
In preparation for our interview, I’d also carefully examined the definition of innovation. While Webster defines innovation as something new, many business leaders have started using the definition significant positive change to more specifically challenge their teams to innovate with a positive outcome in mind.
As I listened to Capital Teas describe how they incorporate innovation into their successful business model, I realized that innovation didn’t occur at their stores with just a single person. Innovation required collaboration, listening, being open to new ideas and creating solutions together.
I left with a new appreciation for what it means to truly value and practice innovation, both personally and professionally. Want to bring significant positive change into your personal life or workplace? Collaborate. Listen. Be open to new ideas!
And yes, even this coffee drinker found a tea she loved. And its name definitely included the word ‘chocolate’!
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