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

Joseph Michelli

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Book Description

1 Sep 2013

Lead Your Business the Starbucks Way

Foreword by Herve Humler, President and COO, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

One of the best-recognized and admired brands in the world, Starbucks singlehandedly transformed the ordinary delivery of coffee into a cultural phenomenon--a result of the company’s exemplary leadership practices.

Joseph Michelli, author of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BusinessWeek bestseller The Starbucks Experience, explains that the international success of Starbucks begins with a promise: To inspire and nurture the human spirit--one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. Michelli offers a perspective on the leadership principles that drove the iconic coffee company’s resurgence from serious setbacks during the economic downturn--one of the few true turnaround stories of this time. And the company continues to grow dramatically, entering new markets and channels with fresh products and technologies.

In Leading the Starbucks Way, Michelli establishes five actionable principles that fuel long-term global sustainability at Starbucks and that can be used in any company, in any industry:

  • Savor and Elevate
  • Love to Be Loved
  • Reach for Common Ground
  • Mobilize the Connection
  • Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy

Leading the Starbucks Way is a penetrating look at the inner workings of one of today’s most successful brands. The company gave Michelli one-on-one access to a variety of employees (called partners) to write this book--from baristas to senior leaders, including Howard Schultz, chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

In short, success is all about loving your product, loving your customers, and loving your employees. Sincerely. Without fail. Even in the face of business challenges.

Praise for Leading the Starbucks Way

“Michelli shows us how a small Seattle-based chain of coffee shops became one of the most beloved brands on the planet. So grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and read this book!”
Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level

“Culture is everything! This fast-moving, fascinating book gives you countless practical ideas you can use immediately to create a company climate of inspiration and loyalty.”
Brian Tracy, author of Full Engagement

“Michelli identifies the principles by which Howard Schultz and his team passionately perform in a culture that loves, respects, and rewards suppliers, employees, customers, shareholders, and the community.”
Robert Spector, author of The Nordstrom Way

Leading the Starbucks Way provides the key success factors of a lifestyle brand that is globally scaled, locally relevant, and powered by the passion of the Starbucks culture.”
John Timmerman, PhD, Senior Strategist of Customer Experience and Innovation, Gallup

"Organizational consultant Michelli serves up a new helping of the recipe for business success he offered in The Starbucks Experience."
Kirkus Reviews


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Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products and Your People + Pour Your Heart into it: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time + Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul
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Review

“An accessible and practical guide to corporate success.” (Publisher's Weekly 2013-08-28)

About the Author

Joseph A. Michelli is an organizational consultant who focuses on intersections of business, leadership, and workplace productivity. He is the bestselling author of The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, Prescription for Excellence, and The Zappos Experience. One of today’s leading thinkers on the topic of customer experience, Michelli also speaks to corporate audiences approximately 60 times a year.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How one coffee shop in Seattle became 20,891 in 62 countries 26 Aug 2013
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the second book in which Joseph Michelli focuses on lessons to be learned from the Starbucks organization. It should also be noted that the first Starbucks was located in a unique retail environment in Seattle, one that John Yokoyama and Michelli discuss in When Fish Fly: Lessons For Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market (2004). Whereas the focus in the earlier book, The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary (2006), is on how to create an extraordinary customer experience, the focus in Leading the Starbucks Way is on how managers can establish and then strengthen relationships with customers, products, and associates.

As indicated in both Starbucks books, many of the lessons to be learned from its organization bear striking resemblance to those to be learned from another of Michelli's books, The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company (2008). Both César Ritz and Howard Schultz built organizations based on essentially the same principles, stated somewhat differently:

RC: Define everything and refine constantly
S: Savor and elevate
RC: Empower your people through trust
S: Love to be loved
RC: It's not about you
S: Reach for common ground
RC: Deliver "Wow!"
Note: Ritz observed long ago that "people like to be served, but invisibly."
S: Mobilize the connection
RC: Leave a lasting footprint
S: Cherish and challenge your legacy

All great organizations have outstanding leadership at all levels and in all areas. That is certainly true of Starbucks but there was a widely publicized deterioration of structural integrity after Howard Schultz's first tenure as CEO (1987-2000) and before his resumption of CEO duties in 2008. He recounts all this -- sustained periods of meteoric growth, economic downturn, recovery, and transformation -- in Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul (2012).

As is also true of Michelli 's previously published books, he makes skillful use of several reader-friendly devices such as "Reflection on Connection" and "Connecting Points" sections inserted strategically throughout the narrative. He is also the master of bullet-point checklists as well as relevant quotations from primary and secondary sources that illustrate key points. These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of material later.

Although Joseph Michelli tends to write about large organizations, he correctly asserts that the most valuable lessons to be learned from them are relevant to almost any other organization, whatever its size and nature may be. How else to explain why one hotel became 81 in 26 countries and how one coffee shop became 20,891 in 62 countries. Those who read this book will be well-prepared to adapt the five principles in ways and to an extent that are most appropriate to the given enterprise.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Only about Business 16 Oct 2013
By Leanne Hadley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is not only a book for people who want to grow or strengthen a business. As I read it, I was reminded me that one of the factors that makes Starbucks such a remarkable company is that they know one important thing about human nature ... we all want someone to know our name and treat us as if we matter. While this book gave me many insights into how to improve my company, it also reminded me that relationships are missing in so many arenas of life. Call me crazy, but I have started to greet people that I pass on the street more intentionally and smile more at strangers ... because the baristas at Starbucks do! Thanks Joseph!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid book 10 Oct 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I work as director for online education in a higher education institution in Chile. One of the key aspects of being an online student or teacher is the experience they have with the distance education. Providing a solid, powerful, consistent and robust experience is a challenge. You must have a complete customer-oriented culture. I have applied and adapted several practices from other industries. From Apple Store policies to the Golden Standards of Ritz-Carlton, including several ideas from Virgin Airlines to our recruitment processes. Having a customer, student, or teacher-oriented culture, a service culture is a real but good challenge, and this is where a good ans inspiring leadership become important and critical. Leaders must connect your company products or services with its own people, and customers by building bridges. This book is an in-depth view on how Starbucks creates all of their bridges, and while Starbucks is a mainly a coffee store, the book is full of example, practices you can apply to your team, regardless of your company size. I think Joseph Michelli has written a very good 2nd part of "The Starbucks Experience". A book that must be in every manager's shelf.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starbucks: Where Engaging and Compassionate Leadership Practices Anchor a Successful and Purposeful Business 30 Oct 2013
By Robert Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A man sits alone at lunch in his favorite Starbucks store and tells a green apron-clad Starbucks barista that the store is his midday refuge, noting, "At Starbucks, you are nice to me, you remember me, and you seem genuinely grateful that I am here." - from Leading the Starbucks Way

Stories like this exemplify a company whose leaders establish a compelling vision and manifest behaviors that culminate not only in product sales but also in powerful, loyalty-rich human connections.

Organizational consultant and author Joseph Michelli returns to the world of Starbucks in his latest book "Leading the Starbucks Way."

One of the best-recognized and admired brands in the world, Starbucks singlehandedly transformed the ordinary delivery of coffee into a cultural phenomenon - a result of the company's exemplary leadership practices.

Michelli, also author of the bestseller "The Starbucks Experience", explains that the international success of Starbucks begins with a promise: to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Michelli appropriately begins "Leading the Starbucks Way" with a perspective on the leadership principles that drove the iconic coffee company's resurgence from serious setbacks during the economic downturn - one of the few turnaround stories of this time. The foundation of the turnaround was the following Transformation Agenda:

1. Be the undisputed coffee authority
2. Engage and inspire our partner
3. Ignite the emotional attachment with our customers
4. Expand our global presence - while making each store the heart of the local neighborhood
5. Be the leader in ethical sourcing and environmental impact
6. Create innovative growth platforms worthy of our coffee
7. Deliver a sustainable economic model

Those seven moves resulted in 13 consecutive quarters of global comparable store sales growth greater than 5%. Today, there are over 200,000 people serving more than 60 million weekly customers who frequent more than 18,000 stores in more than 60 countries worldwide.

For his latest book Michelli conducted over two years of research, with uninhibited access to leaders and partners at all levels of the company. More than 500 hours of interviews and research produced the following five leadership principles:

1. Savor and elevate
2. Love to be loved
3. Reach for common ground
4. Mobilize the connection
5. Cherish and challenge your legacy

The remainder of the book focuses on these five principles, illustrating them with stories and interviews of Starbucks partners around the world. While these stories are great in and of themselves, the questions Michelli scatters throughout the book are pure gold.

Questions like the following are readily transferable to any size and type organization:
1. How do leaders at Starbucks strategically and tactically steward the company's products and people to build customer engagement, loyalty, advocacy, and even brand love?
2. How to these leaders model and inspire excellence in product delivery, the creation of moments of authentic service, and enterprise-wide appreciation for the importance of shareholder value, and a contagious demonstration of social conscience?
3. How do Starbucks partners expand relationships beyond the café environment?
4. How does Starbucks leverage technology to enhance customer experiences?
5. What does Starbucks do to customize offerings to address local desires around the globe?

"Leading the Starbucks Way" is an excellent tool for any leader's continuing education process. I highly recommend adding it to your collection - and begin reading and implementing its principles immediately.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable to Starbuck fans. Helpful for businessmen who strive to thrive on customer services 17 July 2014
By ServantofGod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
On page 6, the author claimed that he had taken 500 hours of interviews and researches to build his book and its five leadership principles: 1. Savor and elevate 2. Love to be loved 3. Reach for common ground 4. Mobilize the connection 5. Cherish and challenge you legacy. Honestly, I have little appreciation of the above, but love very much those stories he used to exemplify how leaders at Starbucks strategically and tactically steward its products and people to build customer engagement, loyalty, advocacy and even brand love. The last three pages about "How Starbucks barista Daniel Rowe started his virtual connection with Gini Dietrich by figuring out that Gini might need a little motivation after her husband Kelly Dietrich upsized her Tall Latte to a Grande is really amazing. In short, enjoyable to Starbuck fans and businessmen who strive to thrive on customer services. Recommended!

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.
Great brands always make an emotional connection with the intended audience. They reach beyond the purely rational and purely economic level to spark feelings of closeness, affection and trust. Consumers live in an emotional world; their emotions influence their decisions. Great brands transcend specific product features and benefits and penetrate people's emotions....Employees do so as well. Starbucks demonstrates high levels of partner (employee) engagement, retention, and productivity when supervisors positively penetrate the emotions of those they lead. Pg6
Despite running Zappos that has an inventory of more than 50k varieties of shoes, Tony Hsieh has reported he owns three pair. He acknowledges that he is passionate about customer service and company culture, which may be why Zappos has reached a level of success that most other stores that just sell shoes have not. Pg12
While passion for the product may not be necessary for sales success, it certainly differentiate sales leaders from most of their competitors. Additionally, employee passion for the product fuels the emotional engagement of customers and facilitates sustainability. ...Passions is the indefinable something that creates and builds interest and excitement on the part of the customer....... Customers excitement emerges when your people have a need to make buyers feel the same excitement that they do. To achieve that level of customer enthusiasm, you have to first sell yourself your products or services. If you were in the position of a target customer, would you buy?....All else is meaningless. onPg12
How do you help your staff fully experience your products or services? What are your parallels to a Starbucks Origin Experience? Are you incorporating mastery and social recognition into your training programs? If so, how? How aligned are your strategies and your sated values concerning product excellence? In the words of author Jim Collins, if "a visitor could drop into your organization from another planet," would that visitor be able to know your vision for product excellence "without having to read it on paper"? pg22
People can copy your products and services, but seldom can another business effectively or consistently execute a differential experiential offering - this is equally as true for a visit to an Apple Store as it is for a visit to Starbucks. Pg37
People are not a company's most important asset. People are the company. Everything else is an asset. - Adrian Levy Pg72
What we learned was that the inconsistencies came from our partners not knowing how to shake the beverage...It sounds kind of silly, but 10 seconds allows for considerable variability, as some partners were shaking it for closer to 20 seconds and others for 5 seconds....So we changed the protocol so that partners are to shake the tea 10 times. Pg76
Treat employees like partners, and they act like partners. - Fred Allen pg85
One of the most powerful opportunities for building loyalty occurs after the sale, with your employees saying thank you, offering a warm farewell, and inviting customers into future opportunities to connect. Pg131
Human beings want their comforts to remain stable, and yet to have sufficient variety to avert boredom. Pg132
The company's real value and growth potential lies in its brand...They sell water, milk and coffee beans at boiling temperature. Warren Buffet says the best companies buy a commodity and sell a brand. Pg203
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