Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products and Your People

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Why we chose this book?
Beloved by customers, celebrated by investors, recommended by employees, Starbucks appears in many ways to be the model business of the early 21st Century. And yet, few books analyze in detail the foundations of this company’s incredible success. In Leading the Starbucks Way, Joseph Michelli fills this gap, plunging us into a fascinating world. Our one reproach is the author’s tendency to be overly lenient in regards to the scandals that marred this giant’s rise to the top.

How did Howard Schultz transform a sleepy little cafe in Seattle into a chain with more than 20,000 locations and 2012 revenue of $13 billion? Joseph Michelli, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BusinessWeek explains that Starbucks’ success is based on the ability of the company (leaders, managers, and employees) to transform the simple act of drinking a cup of coffee into a veritable cultural phenomenon. This change was only possible thanks to the convergence of three factors:  love of the product, customer loyalty, and the wellbeing of employees. According to Kris Engskov, a Starbucks senior VP, “We ask employees to use their intelligence and creativity, rather than telling them, ‘take the coffee out of its box, put the cup here, follow this rule.’ Because everyone wants to keep their autonomy.”

Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products and Your People by Joseph Michelli (McGraw-Hill, September 2013)

Read our dossier:
USBD23502Change your habits for greater effectiveness

Based on The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg (Random House, February 2012), a case study on Starbucks and How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life) by Dov Seidman (Wiley, July 2007).
Business Digest nº 235, April 2013.