Written by Ben Cheek
| Wednesday, 24 March 2010 22:03
CNNMoney's Corner Office series talks with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz about how the company's focus on people -- both customers and employees -- has led the company back into profitability.
I've been a fan of Starbucks for a long time, and it's about more than just the coffee (which I rate about a 'B'). The treatment of employees and customer service has always impressed, and it's consistent from store to store (living in the NYC area, I frequent about 7).
Personal Responsibility: Schultz talks about a conference for 10,000 managers he called right after returning to the company in 2008. In that conference, he called this team to take personal responsibility for turning the company around. According to Schultz, that was the turning point, and it energized the entire company to re-invent itself.
This has been coming up quite a bit lately. There's a surprising connection between responsibility and ownership and performance. No duh, but why do leading CEO's talk about it like it's a corporate secret? I think the answer lies in how often such messages are undermined by the unspoken story of our companies.
Affirmation: When Schultz walks into a store, he always looks for something good an employee is doing that he can affirm. He understands Starbucks is selling some type of humanity (in fact, they are marketing "third space"), and that requires brining out the best humanity in workers. This is what I call the difference between pruning and growing.