Starbucks Leadership

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The mark of an effective leader is his ability to foresee the business trends and stay ahead of his rivals (Luthans, 1998, p.422). Howard Schultz wasn't the first person to be carried away by the aroma of a well-roasted coffee bean. But the Starbucks Coffee Co. leader was undoubtedly the first to turn that reverie into a billion dollar retail operation. "It took Schultz a year to convince the Starbucks owners to hire him. When they finally made him director of marketing and operations in 1982, he had another epiphany. This one occurred in Italy, when Schultz took note of the coffee bars that existed on practically every block" (Myprimetime, 2008, ¶6) He learned that they not only served excellent espresso, they also served as meeting places or public squares. But back in Seattle, the Starbucks owners resisted Schultz's plans to serve coffee in the stores, saying they didn't want to get into the restaurant business. Frustrated, Schultz quit and started his own coffee-bar business, called Il Giornale. It was successful, and a year later Schultz bought Starbucks for $3.8 million (Myprimetime, 2008, ¶9). As the company began to expand rapidly in the '90s, Schultz always said that the main goal was "to serve a great cup of coffee." But attached to this goal was a principle: Schultz said he wanted "to build a company with soul" (BCC, 2008, ¶4) Under Schultz's leadership, the company has achieved a number of milestones. Starbucks was one of the first privately held companies in North America to offer two unique benefits to its partners (employees): Beginning in 1987, part-time partners became eligible for full health benefits; and in 1991, eligible full- and part-time partners began to share ownership in the company in the form of stock options, called Bean Stock (BCC, 2008, ¶5) These moves boosted loyalty and led to extremely low worker turnover. Widely known as the architect of the company's brand image, Schultz continues to provide strategic direction, serves as the...
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