Howard Schultz                 with Joanne Gordon                                                          FREEE          ...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulFor more than three decades, Starbucks had a history of bei...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul                                                       Plea...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulIntroduction“This date is very special to me,” I said to th...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulI grew up in the poor projects of Brooklyn, New York, paid ...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulToday, Starbucks has more than $10 billion in annual revenu...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulBy 2007 Starbucks had begun to fail itself. Obsessed with g...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAnd then there was the digital revolution and the sea chang...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulNothing is Confidential                             I was s...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulUnlike other brands, Starbucks was not built through market...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAt one point amid the chaos, a welcome face unexpectedly ap...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulEvery organization has a memory, a history of achievements,...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAs people at our Seattle support center – our name for Star...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulThe day after the memo was posted, the mainstream media pic...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulThat sentiment was, after all, the memo’s point. Balance ha...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulIt was clear: Starbucks did not have the tools to participa...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulOnly a week before I had handwritten the memo, Apple introd...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulThe memo’s content was never intended to be public, but onc...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAbout the AuthorHoward Schultz is chairman, president, and ...
OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul             Also available in store at Available from all ...
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Onward sampler chapter

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Sample chapter taken from Howard Schultz 'Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life without Losing Its Soul.'

"The single most important book on leadership and change for our time and for every generation of leaders." – Warren Bennis

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Onward sampler chapter

  1. 1. Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon FREEE FR e E eBABOOK S O PL SAMPOKR M E Onwards Onward LERHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul
  2. 2. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulFor more than three decades, Starbucks had a history of being a great placeto work, of ethically sourcing and roasting the highest-quality coffee beans,and of crafting beverages for millions of customers. But by 2008, after yearsof focusing on rapid expansion, the traits that made Starbucks successfulwere in jeopardy. Sales started to slide at a distressing rate.So Howard Schultz took the unprecedented decision to return as CEO eightyears after he stepped down from the day-to-day oversight of the companyand in the course of two years - even in the face of painful revelations aboutinternal troubles and a worsening economy - Starbucks astonishingly returnedto sustainable, profitable growth.Onward is the remarkable story of that transformation. Personally inspiringand unexpectedly candid, Onward brings a dramatic story to life with theemotional power and narrative suspense of a novel.Available at Starbucks, book stores and online at
  3. 3. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul Please feel free to post this Onward sampler on your blog or website, or email it to anyone you think would enjoy it! Thank you. Extracted from Onward - How Starbucks Fought For Its Life without Losing Its Soul published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Southern Gate, The Atrium, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ. UK. Phone +44(0)1243 779777 Copyright © 2011 Howard Schultz All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 4LP, UK, without the permission in writing of the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher should be 3 addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, England, or emailed to permreq@wiley.co.uk
  4. 4. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulIntroduction“This date is very special to me,” I said to the baristas and their store manager, who were seated around me in a smallrestaurant. “Exactly 28 years ago, on September 7, 1982, I began working at the first Starbucks store, your store, here in thePike Place Market.”I reached into my pocket and pulled out a key. “I still have mine to the front door.” It was not something they expectedStarbucks’ chief executive offcer to be carrying around, but I kept it on my key chain as a constant reminder of theresponsibility I have to honor the heritage of the company and all of the people who had come before me. Since it opened in1971, the Pike Place store’s front interior had remained unchanged, including the original logo.A few weeks earlier, the store’s manager, Chad Moore, had e-mailed me to praise his team for achieving eight straight weeksof record sales. Extremely impressed, I asked to take the entire team to dinner. So everyone could attend, baristas from otherlocations and several district managers offered to work at the Pike Place store while we celebrated. Now, on this warm Seattleevening, 27 of us had the restaurant to ourselves.Throughout the meal, I sat and visited with people at each table. The group ranged in age from 28 to 40, and theconversations were easy and lively. At one point someone asked me to talk a bit about my own history.I could not help but smile. 4
  5. 5. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulI grew up in the poor projects of Brooklyn, New York, paid my way through college, and moved to Seattle, Washington, withmy wife, Sheri, to take a job as head of marketing for a small coffee company called Starbucks. I spent my first weeks workingat the Pike Place store, learning all about coffee, scooping fresh beans for customers and sealing them in small bags. But itwas on a business trip to Italy that I unexpectedly discovered my true passion.As I visited small espresso bars throughout Milan and Verona, I was taken by the power that savoring a simple cup of coffeecan have to connect people and create community among them, and from that moment on I was determined to bring world-class coffee and the romance of Italian espresso bars to the United States. It was an experience I fervently believed couldenrich people’s lives. But many people did not believe in my vision – back then Starbucks stores did not sell beverages, onlywhole-bean and ground coffee. So I left Starbucks and started my own coffee company, Il Giornale. We opened two espressobars in Seattle and one in Vancouver, Canada.Then, in 1987, I found myself in a position, but without enough money, to buy my former employers’ six stores and roastingplant. With the support of a few investors, I merged the two companies and chose to keep the name Starbucks CoffeeCompany. By the end of that year, we had 11 stores, 100 employees, and a dream to create a national brand.In the fall of 2010, Starbucks posted its best financial performance in its almost 40-year history – despite critics’ pastpredictions that our best days were behind us. Yet never has Starbucks’ business been so healthy, primed to profitablygrow not just by opening new stores around the world, but also through having deeper customer relationships,innovative offerings, and more places selling our products. 5
  6. 6. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulToday, Starbucks has more than $10 billion in annual revenue and serves nearly 60 million visitors a week in 16,000 stores in54 countries. More than 200,000 people, whom we call partners, represent Starbucks.While these numbers are one measure of our company’s success, they are not what make Starbucks truly successful, at leastnot by my definition.As a business leader, my quest has never been just about winning or making money; it has also been about building a great,enduring company, which has always meant trying to strike a balance between profit and social conscience. No business cando well for its shareholders without first doing well by all the people its business touches. For us, that means doing our bestto treat everyone with respect and dignity, from coffee farmers and baristas to customers and neighbors. I understand thatstriving to achieve profitability without sacrificing humanity sounds lofty. But I have always refused to abandon that purpose– even when Starbucks and I lost our way.For decades Starbucks’ shareholders and partners prospered. We were the first US company to offer both comprehensivehealth-care coverage as well as equity in the form of stock options to part-time workers, and we were routinely heralded asa great place to work. In 2000 I stepped down as ceo (since Starbucks’ earliest days, we have lowercased all job titles) andbecame chairman, moving away from day-to-day operations to focus on global strategy and expansion. In the years thatfollowed, we accelerated our store growth and our confidence, and our stock price soared as our sales and profits increasedquarter after quarter after quarter. Until the quarter they didn’t. 6
  7. 7. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulBy 2007 Starbucks had begun to fail itself. Obsessed with growth, we took our eye of operations and became distractedfrom the core of our business. No single bad decision or tactic or person was to blame. The damage was slow and quiet,incremental, like a single loose thread that unravels a sweater inch by inch. Decision by decision, store by store, customerby customer, Starbucks was losing some of the signature traits it had been founded on. Worse, our company’s self-inducedproblems were being compounded by external circumstances as the world went through unprecedented change on severalfronts.Most significantly, the economy was hurtling toward a cataclysmic financial crisis that would destroy trillions of dollars inpersonal wealth; spur a credit crunch, a housing bust, and high unemployment; and, eventually, topple into a full-blownglobal recession.At the same time, a seismic shift in consumer behavior was under way, and people became not just more cost conscious,but also more environmentally aware, health minded, and ethically driven. Customers were holding the companies they didbusiness with – including Starbucks – to higher standards. 7
  8. 8. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAnd then there was the digital revolution and the sea change in how information flows – the proliferation of online media andsocial networks, as well as the rise of the blogosphere. Too often, the real-time, worldwide exchange of opinions and newsseemed to follow Starbucks’ every move.Finally, an onslaught of new coffee and espresso competitors – from multinational corporations to independent coffeehouses– swept into the marketplace and targeted Starbucks, often with unapologetic vitriol.These would be daunting challenges for any company. And when it comes to Starbucks, I take every threat very personally.Starbucks is in my blood. It is such a part of me that letting it unravel simply was not an option. Too many people had workedtoo hard to create a company that rewarded its employees and investors and that, for years, had delivered a superior productand experience.As chairman, I held myself responsible for the problems we ourselves had created. And although I did not know exactly howto address the variety of external pressures bearing down on us, I knew that, without daily control of the business, I wasessentially powerless to stop Starbucks from sinking.So in January 2008, I surprised many people by returning as ceo.Onward is the story of what happened next. 8
  9. 9. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulNothing is Confidential I was sitting at my desk on Friday, February 23, when a colleague stepped into my office and looked at me incredulously. “Someone leaked the memo.” My jaw dropped. My forehead crinkled in confusion. “What?” I was not sure I had heard correctly. “It’s on the Internet.”I swirled my chair around to face the three computer screens that streamed world news, market data, and e-mails to my deskthroughout the day. A quick Google search and there it was: “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience” on a gossipwebsite, for anyone to see. Investors. Competitors. Journalists. Starbucks’ partners. Staring at the screen, I was speechless.Not because my criticisms were now public. What upset me, what felt like a blow to my gut, was the leak. I could not imaginewho would do such a thing.It was nothing less than a betrayal.In my life I place enormous value on loyalty and trust. It is intrinsic to my personal relationships and to the integrity of ourcompany’s culture, essential to how we conduct business with one another and with our customers. And while Starbucks isnot perfect, nor am I, and people may disagree with some of our choices, we make it our business to uphold that trust,and we make amends if we fail. 9
  10. 10. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulUnlike other brands, Starbucks was not built through marketing and traditional advertising. We succeed by creating anexperience that comes to life, in large part, because of how we treat our people, how we treat our farmers, our customers,and how we give back to communities. Inside the company, there had always been an unspoken level of trust that, for morethan two decades, had allowed us to empower partners and to communicate openly, always assuming that the informationwould be used to benefit the company.Disloyalty was not part of our moral fabric. So for me to sit in my own office and discover that someone close to me, someoneinside Starbucks, had acted with such blatant, premeditated disregard for me, Jim, and the rest of the leadership team was atremendous disappointment. It took me a while to digest it.But I had no choice. The deed was done.News of the memo had already spread, and phones on our media hotline werelighting up with calls from reporters. Was the memo real? Yes. Can we interview Howard? No. I could not do a singleinterview. It would have been too emotional. Instead, I helped Valerie O’Neil, then our director of corporate and issuesmanagement, craft a statement that accurately expressed my thoughts: The memo is legitimate. It is a reflection of the passion and commitment Starbucks has to maintaining the authenticity of the Starbucks Experience while we continue to grow. We believe that success is not an entitlement and that it has to be earned every day. We do not embrace the status quo and constantly push for reinvention. This is a consistent, long-standing business philosophy to ensure we provide our customers the uplifiing experience they have come to expect. 10
  11. 11. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAt one point amid the chaos, a welcome face unexpectedly appeared at my office door. Wanda Herndon is a straight-talking,fun-loving, wise woman who headed Starbucks’ global communications from 1995 until 2006, when she left us to launch herown consulting firm, W Communications. As many ex-partners do, Wanda often returned to visit. She and I had our own richhistory of honest conversations, and when she popped in to say hello I was relieved to see her. I asked her to close the door.“Did you hear about the memo?” I said, still emanating disbelief. Wanda said yes, she knew about it, and as she sat down infront of my desk, I shook my head and spoke about how hurt I was about the breach of trust.“Howard,” she said in the matter-of-fact tone I’d come to expect, and appreciate. “Nothing is confidential. This is the newreality.”It was not the first time Wanda had spoken these words to me. In the past she had even suggested I refrain from puttingcertain thoughts in writing. Yet Wanda also understood two things about me. First, that it is my nature to speak from theheart, usually unedited. Second, that I conduct my life with an expectation that people will do the right thing. Yet even withall my experience, I am still surprised when they do not.“This too shall pass,” Wanda told me. “Just hang in there.”She was a calming influence that day and helped me put the situation in perspective. With time, my hunger to find theperson who leaked the memo – and fire him or her – faded as the source of the breach paled in comparison to itsconsequences, inside and outside Starbucks. Moving forward became more important than laying blame. 11
  12. 12. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulEvery organization has a memory, a history of achievements, mistakes, even unintended consequences that contribute toan ongoing dialogue as people mold an event’s meaning for themselves. The tapestry of interpretations informs, and oftendirects, the organization’s future. That February, my memo became part of Starbucks’ collective memory.Some partners strongly disagreed with my opinions. After all, the company was soaring. In 1992, when Starbucks went public,our market capitalization had been $250 million. Now it was approximately $24 billion. People who invested with us in 1992had experienced an almost 5,000 percent increase in the value of that investment. Every week, Starbucks’ stores had 45million visitors. We were the most frequented retailer in the world! Why complain? some murmured behind closed doors.Other partners, even those who shared my concerns, could not help but feel confused or insulted because they had workedso hard to make the company better and meet our growth goals – the very growth goals that I had championed. Weren’t wejust doing our jobs? They wanted to know. Then there were partners who saw the memo as nothing new, just another one ofHoward’s impassioned commentaries.But there was also a great deal of talk among partners that I was “right,” that a dirty family secret had finally been aired.A secret that could no longer be ignored. Topics that had been taboo, such as our myopic push for efficient, rapid growthat the expense of the Starbucks Experience, were suddenly open for discussion. It was as if a collective sigh of relief rippledthrough the corridors. 12
  13. 13. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAs people at our Seattle support center – our name for Starbucks’ headquarters – and in our stores interpreted my words,I had to reconcile my own emotions. I worried that Jim may have felt personally attacked, as if I had publicly reviewed his jobperformance. Assigning fault was never my intent, publicly or privately. I was as culpable as anyone for the direction we wereheaded in.Plus, I had tremendous affection for Jim. Despite our differences, I wanted him to win and succeed, and after the leakI apologized to him for any embarrassment the memo may have caused him. Unfortunately, maybe inevitably, the leakedmemo further complicated our relationship, widening the riff between us. In the months that followed, more partnerse-mailed me and approached me in confidence to share their own concerns about the company. Others purposely avoidedme, discounting me as little more than a cranky former chief executive who had lost touch with the business.Neither of these situations was good for Starbucks.Outside the company, the memo continued to take on a life of its own.It had first appeared on what was, in early 2007,a little-known blog called Starbucks Gossip. One of many third-party websites that focused on Starbucks, it posted newsreleases, articles, and mostly anonymous opinion pieces about the company. 13
  14. 14. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulThe day after the memo was posted, the mainstream media picked it up like a whirlwind. The Wall Street Journal. The NewYork Times. The Associated Press. Bloomberg, Reuters, the Financial Times. Online Financial news sites and independentblogs. Articles quoted the memo and parsed my words, usually under dour headlines that implied, or stated outright, thattrouble was brewing at Starbucks. Online, readers posted comments one after the other. Many of them stung.Stunned as I was that the memo had been leaked, I was also astonished by the depth of conversation it unleashed, as wellas the speed. It seemed that everyone – customers, partners, analysts, reporters, industry insiders, and business “experts”– had an opinion about the memo, its motive, what it meant for the future of the company as well as what it said about meas a leader.Reactions swung to extremes. Some praised the memo as an entrepreneur’s bold move to try to save his company. Othersused my criticisms to support their own critiques. Yes, they agreed, Starbucks had expanded too far outside its coffee rootsand was diluting the experience. Financial analysts acknowledged that our rapid expansion was necessary for growth, or theyinterpreted the memo as a strategic signal to Wall Street that we intended to slow our growth, which was not true at the time.Anonymous posts chastised me for not realizing that my words would get out; others insisted the leaked memo was a publicrelations stunt.Amid the circus of speculation, we captured the company’s quandary in an interview with The New York Times:“The question is always, How do you keep things in balance?” 14
  15. 15. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulThat sentiment was, after all, the memo’s point. Balance had always been Starbucks’ challenge. Fiscal responsibility andbenevolence. Share-holder value and social conscience. Profit and humanity. Local flavor on a global scale. Now our challengewas to restore proper balance between our desire for growth and the need to preserve our heritage.Although the rush of news coverage, opinions, and false rumors was very frustrating, in retrospect it served two veryimportant, and unexpected, purposes.First, the avalanche of press and punditry pushed me to accept another reality: Nothing that Starbucks or I do can bepresumed confidential. The Internet simply exacerbates that fact. Going forward, the company and I would have to be muchmore cognizant of what we said and where. While I would continue to strive to speak transparently, I would do it through amuch tighter lens.I also became more attuned to the true power of the virtual world. The heated online conversations about the memo werebeyond Starbucks’ influence, more so than any other controversy we had experienced in the past. We were not perfect, butthe good things about us, our values and the acts that distinguished us, these were getting lost in the public conversation.Our collaborative approach to working with farmers. The millions of dollars we invested in local communities. The health-care coverage and stock we extended to part-timers, at a considerable cost to the company. While we never put forth pressreleases about many of these initiatives – believing they were just the right things to do – we also were not getting creditfor them. 15
  16. 16. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulIt was clear: Starbucks did not have the tools to participate in the online debates on a scale that would make much difference.Our website, with its beautifully designed pages that described our coffee and provided news and financial data, wasprimarily a one-way dialogue, inadequate in the digital age. Starbucks had no interactive presence online. No way to speakup quickly on our own behalf, to talk directly to customers, investors, as well as partners, or let them talk directly to us.To remind people of what we stood for. In short, we were losing control of our story, in the stores as well as in the world.I also began to reflect on new behaviors I was witnessing in our stores as well as in my own home, with my two teenage kids:the increasing number of young people on laptops and cell phones talking, texting, exchanging photos, downloading music,and watching videos, TV shows, and movies.Personally, I was no technophobe. Just tactile. I prefer to visit stores in person rather than read spreadsheets. I like the feelof a pen between my fingers rather than a keyboard beneath my hands. And I always try to meet people face-to-face, tosee their eyes instead of just hearing their voices. But other than using e-mail and reading the news, I was not as tied to acomputer or a BlackBerry as so many others were. But I could not ignore what was happening around me.The leaked memo helped me comprehend the enormous sea change occurring in how information was flowing as well aswhat was being communicated. Technology was redefining the nature of relationships and how people spend their time.This fundamental societal shift was affecting the psyche of our own people and our customers. But not until the memoleaked did it affect me, and none too soon. 16
  17. 17. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulOnly a week before I had handwritten the memo, Apple introduced its first iPhone.Four months earlier, in November 2006, Google bought YouTube for a reported $1.2 billion in stock.And five months earlier, a website called Facebook officially invited anyone over age 13—not just select groups—to join itssocial network.The times were changing, with or without Starbucks. I knew we could no longer tell our story only in our stores.I sensed a second challenge on the horizon. In addition to tackling mounting problems inside our company, we also had toinnovate in the digital domain, to discover new ways to reach out and be relevant to consumers. I was not sure exactly whereto begin, but we had to do something.Companies pay a price when their leaders ignore things that may be fracturing their foundation. Starbucks was no different. 17
  18. 18. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulThe memo’s content was never intended to be public, but once it was I did not view writing it as a mistake. Every thought Iexpressed came from a place of love. My critiques were honest expressions born of my passion for Starbucks and my deepdesire to push for reinvention and self-renewal, especially at a time when we were still winning and our shortcomings hadyet to become liabilities. I had written hundreds of memos during my 26 years at the company, and all had shared a commonthread. They were about self-examination in the pursuit of excellence, and a willingness not to embrace the status quo. This isa cornerstone of my leadership philosophy.Starbucks is in the business of exceeding expectations. That means we have to admit it when we are not as good as we thinkwe should be. My role, my duty, is to initiate that discussion, to challenge us, as well as myself, to be better, especially whenwe are knocking the cover off the ball.Our partners trust me to do so.Only by not speaking from my heart do I betray that trust. 18
  19. 19. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its SoulAbout the AuthorHoward Schultz is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company.Howard moved to Seattle from his native New York and joined the company in 1982 as director ofoperations and marketing when Starbucks had only four stores. He has been recognized extensivelyfor his passion, leadership, and efforts to strengthen communities, with honors including theHoratio Alger Award for those who have overcome adversity to achieve success; the Rev. TheodoreM. Hesburgh Award for Business Ethics given by Notre Dame University’s Mendoza College ofBusiness; the Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics from Columbia Business School; and the first everJohn Wooden Global Leadership Award from UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has alsobeen included in Time magazine’s “Time 100,” a list of the most influential people in the world.Howard and his wife, Sheri, live in Seattle and have two children.The Starbucks Foundation and the CUP FundAll of Howard Schultz’s proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the StarbucksFoundation, founded in 1997 to support the company’s commitment to community; and the CUPFund, founded by partners (employees) to provide financial relief to partners facing emergencysituations that have unexpectedly impacted their life.Joanne Gordon is a former Forbes writer who has spent more than a decade profiling companiesand business leaders for numerous publications. She has written five previous books. 19
  20. 20. OnwardHow starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul Also available in store at Available from all good bookshops and online at

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