This is a book I enjoyed from start to finish. Probably because I am so intrigued by Howard holding on to his values and never deviating from them, even when going through rough times. Cost cutting is crucial at times like this, and they did, by focusing on the right, relevant things for their partners, for their customers, for their shareholders, and for their brand. What’s so beautiful is that he never cut costs by compromising the healthcare he provided to his partners and their families. He continuously ignored the advice to cut back on healthcare expenses and he never gave in because he knew how important it is to take care of your people. You grow businesses together with your people, or “partners” as he calls them. He understands that the care, talent, and commitment of his partners towards their work and customers is what is needed to create the daily Starbucks experience. But all the cost cuts meant nothing unless all partners understood their personal responsibility to connect with customers and unless store managers felt personally accountable for operating profitable stores. What they created in-store is what carries the brand!
Engaging customer relationships is at the core of the business; therefore, customers need to be put at the center of the business. Their needs need to be addressed, value needs to be provided in a way that upholds the brand, and programs need to be developed to recognize and reward the most loyal customers.
Howard has shown an interest in trying new ways of looking at/improving the business; he has shown the positive impact of innovation. It’s truly inspiring to read! It makes you realize that we always need to keep dreaming big and then dreaming even bigger.
Also inspiring is Starbucks’ aim to be a leader in ethical coffee sourcing and sustainability. Reading about the Starbucks’ leadership conference in 2008, held in New Orleans, there was no way back for me from seeing Howard as a top leader. The reason behind choosing New Orleans and all the activities that were planned to support this city and its people is truly heartwarming and very touching. What an incredible man!
I so stand behind his beliefs: ‘’Great companies will be the ones that find a way to have and hold on to their values while chasing their profits.’’
Onward describes the fragile act of balancing, with heads held high and feet firmly planted in reality. That’s how they believed they would win. And did they win!