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books - business 2008

Pour Your Heart Into It

Pour Your Heart Into It
How STARBUCKS Built a Company One Cup at a Time

by Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of STARBUCKS
and Dori Jones Yang

from the back cover… In Pour Your Heart Into It, CEO Howard Schultz illustrates the principles that have shaped the Starbucks phenomenon, sharing the wisdom he has gained from his quest to make great coffee part of the American experience. Marketers, managers, and aspiring entrepreneurs will discover how to turn passion into profit in this definitive chronicle of the company that “has changed everything…from our tastes to the language to the face of Main Street.” (Fortune)

I didn’t have millions of flags, not because the book wasn’t worthy, but much of the tidbits were already in my awareness thanks to a colleague, who placed this in her top five books of 2007. Even though it was published in 1997, over ten years later it is still on many ‘must read’ lists.

my flags…

pg 54 Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who broke the color barrier by signing on Jackie Robinson, often remarked: “Luck is the residue of design.” …Whenever a company, or a person, emerges from the crowd and shines, others are quick to attribute that prominence to good fortune. The achiever, of course, counters that it’s the product of talent and hard work. I agree with Branch Rickey. While bad luck, it’s true, may come out of the blue, good luck, it seems, comes to those who plan for it.

pg 58 Finally, Jerry agreed to test an espresso bar when Starbucks opened its sixth store, at the corner of Fourth and Spring in downtown Seattle, in April of 1984. This was the first Starbucks location designed to sell coffee as a beverage as well as coffee beans by the heart of Seattle’s business district. I was certain Seattle’s office workers would fall in love with espresso bars the same way I had in Milan in 1983.

I asked for half the 1,500 square-foot space to set up a full Italian-style espresso bar, but I got only 300 square feet. … From the minute we opened, this much was clear to me: Starbucks had entered a different business. There could be no turning back. By closing time, about 400 customers had passed through the door – a much higher tally than the average customer count of 250 at Starbucks’ best performing bean stores. More important, I could feel the first ripples of that same warm social interaction and engaging artistry that had captivated me in Italy. I went home that day as high as I’ve ever been. … Within two months, the store was serving 800 customers a day.

pg 103 This realization was a great lesson to me. A business plan is only a piece of paper, and even the greatest business plan of all will prove worthless unless the people of a company buy into it. It can not be sustainable, or even implemented properly, unless the people are committed to it with the same heartfelt urgency as their leader. And they will not accept it unless they both trust the leader’s judgement and understand that their efforts will be recognized and valued.

I had seen, with the small Il Giornale team, how much a few people can accomplish if they believe in what they’re doing, with fervor. Starbucks could be so much more, I knew, if its people were motivated with the same zeal. The only way to win the confidence of Starbucks’ employees was to be honest with them, to share my plans and excitement with them, and then to follow through and keep my word, delivering exactly what I promised – if not more. No one would follow me unless I showed them with my own actions that my promises were not empty. It would take time. (Amanda’s note: this is important for me in my new design world.)

pg 110 Whatever you can do, or dream you can, … begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. – Goethe

pg 120 Oldenburg’s thesis is that people need informal public places where they can gather, put aside the concerns of work and home, relax, and talk. Germany’s beer gardens, England’s pubs, and French and Viennese cafes created this outlet in people’s lives, providing a neutral ground where all are created equal and conversation is the main activity. America once had such spots, in its taverns, barber shops, and beauty parlors. But with suburbanization, they are vanishing, replace by the self-containment of suburban homes. As Oldenburg observes:

Without such places, the urban area fails to nourish the kinds of relationships and the diversity of human contact that are the essence of the city. Deprived of these settings, people remain lonely within their crowds.

(Amanda’s note: how can we learn from this at the U? How can we create our third place?)

pg 124 I finally came to terms with my bitterness and learned to respect the memory of what my dad was, instead of regretting what he was not. He did the best he could. He passed away before I was able to tell him I understood that. That’s one of the great losses of my life. It was wrong of me to blame him for failing to overcome circumstances beyond his control. But it was also wrong that in America, land of dreams, a hard-working man like him couldn’t find a niche where he would be treated with dignity.

pg 170 As long as we remain respectful of our core product, as long as our customers can come into any Starbucks and buy the greatest coffee in the world, as long as we bring the same pursuit of quality to our new products, then we can feel comfortable offering customers different ways of enjoying our coffee. Options like these help introduce a far wider range of people to Starbucks coffee. And that, after all, is our abiding mission.
(Amanda’s note: there is a learning design application here, and perhaps insight into a mission: of introducing to learning to a wider range of people both within and connected to the organization.)

pg Blue Note Records loved the idea of allowing Starbucks to compile a selection of its jazz greats and offer them on an exclusive compact disk. For them a Starbucks CD was a way of reviving interest in some old Blue Notes titles. The entire record industry was looking for alternative venues to showcase music, since the old sales formula, radio stations and record stores, was failing to reach a lot of listeners. (Amanda’s note: parallels here to the idea of how to distribute learning, as the old formula – ‘in class’ and people’s mental models of learning – isn’t working anymore.)

pg 250 Romancing the customer. Dave Olsen has a saying: “Coffee without people is a theoretical construct. People without coffee are somewhat diminished as well.” And Howard Behar has another: “We’re not in the coffee business serving people. We’re in the people business serving coffee.”

… Because we entrust the Starbucks brand to the hands of the baristas, it’s vitally important that we hire great people and imbue them with our passion for coffee. We do that through a training program whose sophistication and depth are rare in retail.

For years, Starbucks spend more on training our people than on advertising our product. We’ve continually refined the twenty-four hours of training we offer to each hire. Every new barista has to take some basic courses in Coffee Knowledge (four hours), Brewing the Perfect Cup (four hours), and Customer Service (four hours), as well as classes in basic orientation and retail skills. From their first day, we try to immerse them in our values-centered culture, showing them the importance of treating customers and one another with respect and dignity. Our trainers are all store managers or district managers themselves, with on-site experience. … Eight to ten weeks before opening, we place ads to hire baristas and start their training. We send a Star Team of experienced managers and baristas from existing stores and use a buddy system for one-on-one training.

pg 323 When the chips are down, it’s wrong to give a rah-rah Knute Rockne speech. People want guidance, not rhetoric. They need to know what the plan of action is, and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.

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