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From The Starbucks Story

Updated on August 18, 2015
Julian Tulliver
Julian Tulliver | Source

Starbucks, the name so familiar to everybody. This is the place where people love to go to get their coffee before going to work in the morning; this is the place where people love to go to when the outside weather is hot, or cold; and certainly is the place among teenagers' favorite hang out place. But the path Starbucks has come from to this day is intriguing, it is a story of love, a story of a dream of a visionary, a story to change the way people living their lives.

"Onward" is a story about love, passion, dream, and perseverance. It is about one person's love affection to coffee, and a dream to change the way people drink their coffee. It is about one person's passion about the company, the business, and the perseverance to stay on to it no matter how tough times was, in order to save the essence from fading from the company. "Onward" is a journey of one person's life, the life of a merchant.

It's very inspiring to look into the path that Starbucks has come to till this day. 28 years of hot and cold, Starbucks has gone through a lot; more specifically Howard Schultz has gone through more than ever. Why 28 years, not 44 years? Well, Starbucks first opened its first and only store in 1971 as a company that supply premium roasted whole bean coffee, no brew. It was not until 1987 when Howard Schultz came to bought this company over had it appear to be the Starbucks we known to this day. The journey seems to be very smooth, but it isn't. Howard Schultz had joined Starbucks in 1982, and left in 1986 because the founders of Starbucks don't share the same vision as Howard to transform the coffee world. But he did't give up, he left Starbucks to run his own coffee house named Il Giornale. Destiny came in 1987 when the founders of Starbucks decided to sell the company to Howard Schultz, and the rest is history. From this plot, I learned that passion and love for what you do is very important. It will becomes one of the strongest energy that push through every major blockades, giving up will no longer be a option, and that I think, is one of the most important element to be able to be successful.

"The merchant's success depends on his or her ability to tell a story." Everything has got its own story. And in business I think, the way the story is being told is important, because it is marketing at its grandest. People love story, no matter what their age are, and having the ability to communicate with customer through story will be a winner. At Starbucks, the story lies in the coffee, and the Starbucks store, and the people. The coffee, are of the highest quality they can possibly provide. The Starbucks stores, provided a convenient, comfortable places where people love to hang out, gather, meeting, and even study. The people, baristas are friendly, and they do their best to provide the best cup of joe to customers, although they always misspelled their names. People are the most important factor of the company. It was the baristas who make contact with the customers, it was the baristas who make his or her a cup of joe, it was the people who create the customer experience. The whole environment from the moment a customer walked in until when the customer spend his or her entire day at Starbucks, tell the story of love of the company towards coffee, the story of passion of their people in creating the best possible experience for customers. Story is unique, it somehow has a magnetic field, that will drag people towards it, making people attached to it. Story can changed the way people live.

"There are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, against common sense and the wise counsel of people we trust. But we lean forward nonetheless because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing is the right and best thing to do. We refuse to be bystanders, even if we do not know exactly where our actions will lead."

In 2008, 7,100 Starbucks store across the United States would be closed for a day, and all baristas were being retrained to pour the perfect shot of espresso. This is a drastic move, and certainly an unordinary one that a typical business people would never take, as it would results in a huge loss for the company. Yet, in order to get Starbucks back to its core, CEO Howard Schultz decisively take that move, even though the directors go against the idea, even though it would results in a plunged in Starbucks already declining shares, and a huge loss to the company's financial statement. I think we have met this kind of similar situation countless of time throughout our life, but a lot of time we stop before we lean forward nonetheless, because we're not confidence enough, we're not sure of ourself, and sometimes we don't have the courage, to accept that if it doesn't work. So believe in what you're doing, had confidence that it'd be done, and stick to the gut, when you go through it, you will be on top of everything else.

In the midst of getting Starbucks to its core, Howard Schultz's leadership play the most important role of all. As the captain of the ship, great leaders are the ones that get their hands dirty, to keep things moving on; great leaders are the ones that are willing to set up precedent, a role model for followers; great leaders innovate, bringing new things to the table; great leaders will do whatever to prevent the ship from going down, and are willing to go down with it when it does; and great leaders protect their comrades. We are the leaders of ourselves, everybody is. Leadership skill comprised of more than the ones above, yet those above are the basics, and it applies to ourselves and in life.

"Onward" implied optimism with eyes wide open, a never ending journey that honored the past while reinventing the future.

"Onward" meant fighting with not just heart and hope, but also intelligence and operational rigor, striving to balance benevolence with accountability.

"Onward" was about forging ahead with steadfast belief in ourselves while putting customers' needs first and respecting the power of competition.

"Onward" was about getting dirty but coming out clean; balancing our responsibility to shareholders with social conscience; juggling research and finances with instinct and humanity.

The Starbucks transformation story shows the desire to stay on the course, hard on the ground. A lot of companies will love to diversified, or expand from their main business so as to get more market share and profit. Yet a lot of time this move will unsoundly lead the business away from its core, and will later kill the essence of the business. For example, when Starbucks was in the hands of Jim Donald, a CEO successor to both Howard Schultz and Orin C. Smith, Starbucks actually served sandwich, and it's fresh baked, in the store. The sandwich was a hit, and it bring in additional income to the company. But Howard Schultz think that it's going to kill Starbucks, because now they have the aroma of fresh baked ham and cheese that will covered the aroma of the coffee. Along with this and other several reasons, Howard Schultz decided to return as CEO, because he need to bring Starbucks back on track, back to where it suppose to be. Although the road is rough, for example, shutting down all the stores in the United States, which results in huge losses, bringing in new espresso machines, killing off the sandwich, reinventing the instant coffee, as well as retraining all the staff by bringing in outside consultant, all of this require a lot of sacrifices both in time and money. Not only that, during the transformation, in order to keep cost down, Howard Schultz need to close a lot of stores, which put a lot of people out of jobs. It takes a lot of hard work, EQ, decisiveness, along with passion, love, and most importantly the people, to make the transformation a success.

I think in life, there's time when we choose what we don't like to do, because it is easy or because it is a trend that's everybody been following. When it happens, take a deep thought about it, and take time to ask ourselves whether we wanna stick with it. Make a decisive decision, and make the transition as soon as possible. Although it's hard, and although the road became rough, though it will be the best choices in life, because of passion, because of love, and that's enough to make everything else second.

"Onward" I think means finding back the truth identity and constantly reinventing for a better future. It implies for both companies and people.


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