I’m slowly making my way thru “Onward” by Howard Shultz, ceo of Starbucks. So far, pretty incredible story and incredible insights into leadership nuggets. I thought I’d share some of my favorites (there’s a lot):
No business can do well for it’s shareholders without first doing well by all the people its business touches. For us that means doing our best to treat everyone with respect and dignity, from coffee farmers and baristas to customers and neighbors.
By 2007 Starbucks had begun to fail itself. Obsessed with growth, we took our eye off operations and became distracted from the core of our business.
[Starbucks delivers] a superior product and experience. (my emphasis on and).
[Merchants] take the ordinary – a shoe, a knife – and give it new life, believing that what we create has the potential to touch other’s lives because it touched ours.
Starbucks has always been about so much more than coffee. But without great coffee, we have no reason to exist.
How could it be wrong to invest in our people? (after Starbucks closed its doors for a day to retrain baristas, losing approximately 6 million dollars).
There are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, against common sense and the wise council of people we trust. Be we lean forward nonetheless because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing is the right and best thing to do. We refuse to be bystanders, even if we do not know exactly where our actions will lead.
We take something ordinary and infuse it with emotion and meaning, and then we tell its story over and over and over again, often without saying a word.
Our intent to create a unique community inside the company as well as in our stores has, I think, separated us from most other retailers. Starbucks has always cared about what the customer can and cannot see.
If home is the primary or “first” place where a person connects with others, and if work is a person’s “second place”, then a public space such as a coffeehouse – such as Starbucks – is what I have always referred to as the “third place”.
Work should be personal. For all of us. Not just the artist and the entrepreneur. Work should have meaning for the accountant, the construction worker, the technologist, the manager, and the clerk.
Infusing work with purpose and meaning, however, is a two-way street. Yes, love what you do, but your company should love you back.
…like crafting the perfect cup of coffee, creating an engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing. It’s a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned.
…at the end of the day I want each person to go home feeling that he or she made a difference.
Going about our business in ways that were good for people as well as good for the planet is something Starbucks has always strived to do.
A well-built brand is the culmination of intangibles that do not directly flow to the revenue or profitability of a company, but contribute to its texture. Forsaking them can take a subtle, collective toll.
The merchant’s success depends on his or her ability to tell a story.
Our strategy was to do more of what had worked in the past. But we were not pushing ourselves to do things better or differently. We were not innovating in lasting ways.
If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures.
Enthusiasm morphed into a sense of entitlement. Confidence became arrogance.
This is why, I think so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside.
It is very unusual for a founder to be able to manage his or her company through all phases of its evolution, especially in a turnaround situation.
Well, “onwards” to Chapter 7…