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Critical Conversations

Although the folks at Starbucks sell coffee, other beverages, and food, they are really the most recent embodiment of a centuries-old tradition of coffeehouses that probably began in the Middle East, in cities like Bagdad and Tehran. These coffeehouses not only offer refreshment but also serve as hangouts for conversation, reading, writing, playing games, and now web-surfing. So though Starbucks’ business focuses on refreshments, the environment it has created and reproduced in thousands of coffeehouses around the globe was really about creating a comfortable place for conversation—in essence for maintaining a centuries-old tradition.1

Critical conversations take place when a manager and/or an HR professional have to: ...

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