Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review - Onward by Howard Schultz

How Starbucks Fought For Its Life – Without Losing Its Soul.

I gravitated towards this book because I was interested in the topic of authenticity in business.

Onward is a book about leadership and the value of people.

- 2000 Schultz steps down as ceo
- 2007 Starbucks stock begins to steadily decline
- 2008 Schultz returns to turn around a company whose stock declined to a record low of $7.17 a share by going back to the company’s core values and culture
- 2010 closes with Starbucks back on top after a tumultuous but inspiring two years.  Stock closes at over $39 a share.  

How did Schultz return his failing company to grandeur without “Losing Its Soul”?

He believed.  He believed in the power of his brand, his founding mission, and, most of all, in his people 

Rekindled in his partners (employees) the love and pride that had fueled the company for years.  Introduced initiatives that brought a return to their core- coffee, customers, innovation & values.
Moved “ONWARD”!
            - honours the past while re-inventing the future. 
            - fighting not with just heart and hope, but also with intelligence and operational rigor – striving for balance.
- forging ahead with steadfast belief in oneself while putting customers’ needs first and respecting the power of competition.

Created a team of people who could help implement the Transformational Agenda (a.k.a. strategic vision)  A team that had the combined skill set and the belief that it could be done.

Proceeded with courage, innovation, conviction, balance and conscience.

Words of Wisdom
Grow with discipline. Innovate around the core.  Don’t embrace the status quo.  Find new ways to see.  Never expect a silver bullet.  Get your hands dirty.  Listen with empathy and over communicate with transparency.  Tell your story, refusing to let others define you. Use authentic experiences to inspire.  Stick to your values, they are your foundation.  Hold people accountable but give them the tools to succeed.  Make the tough choices; it’s how you execute that counts.  Be decisive in times of crisis.  Be nimble.  Find truth in trials and lessons in mistakes.  Be responsible for what you see, hear, and do.  Believe.

Onward is a book about leadership AND the value of people.

Definitely worth the read – check it out.

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Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin