Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Starbuck's: More than a cup of Joe?

By Tiffany Young

If "It's Not About the Coffee," then Starbucks is about the people according to this book by Howard Behar. Behar, a one-time executive at Starbuck's tells about how the coffee empire's focus is not just about serving the best coffee, but about serving its customers and employers.

While this book is not as good as "How Starbucks Saved My Life," it's a decent book that tells corporate leaders how they should conduct business. It was no competition really, so it's unfair to compare, but the similarity in names makes me compelled to do so anyway. In one, you've got a likable guy fired from his big corporate job slogging coffees at customers all day in a place only slightly more upscale than McD's. In the other, you've got someone who doesn't give away much of his personality. You get the idea Behar has character, but you're not really sure if that's just his view of himself—in other words, you don't get to know him very well.

All that being said, Behar does give 10 principles, which if followed, would make an impact in companies all over:

1. Know Who You Are: Wear One Hat
This chapter has the reader clarify what really matters to them. Behar found out furniture wasn't his true love, but building relationships was.

2. Know Why You’re Here: Do It Because It’s Right, Not Because It’s Right for Your Resume
In this chapter, the reader is encouraged to find a job that they want and will work for them rather than trying to figure out how to move up the ladder.

3. Think Independently: The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom
Here managers are encouraged to let those who are doing the work make some decisions in how it's done.

4. Build Trust: Care, like You Really Mean It
This one is obvious, but often ignored. People expect you to actually care, not just say you do.

5. Listen for the Truth: The Walls Talk
This chapter deals a bit with what might be called intuition—listening to that gut feeling when you're all alone and things aren't busy.

6. Be Accountable: Only the Truth Sounds like the Truth
Here the reader is encouraged to acknowledge when they have done something wrong and not sweep problems under the rug.

7. Take Action: Think Like a Person of Action, and Act like a Person of Thought
Sometimes it's just time to act—when it's time to try something even though every single detail may not be worked out yet.

8. Face Challenge: We Are Human Beings First
Everything doesn't come down to money and laws—sometimes it's better to think and act like a person who has feelings.

9. Practice Leadership: The Big Noise and the Still, Small Voice
When success comes it's harder to listen to that underlying voice, but it's a necessity to continuing success.

10. Dare to Dream: Say "Yes," the Most Powerful Word in the World
It's easier to say no than yes, but saying yes can make dreams come true. Try saying yes to great opportunities.

From Michael Gates Gill's story, you do get the idea that Starbucks follows these principles or his work there would never have inspired to write his story telling of how working at Starbucks changed his life.
If you have time, why not read both?

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