Starbucks Management and Leadership
Tonya T. Moore
August 22, 2010
Starbucks Management and Leadership
Starbucks Coffee Company came from humble beginnings when it started out as a simple café in Seattle, Washington, in 1971. Originally founded by Howard Schultz and located in the historic Pike Place Market, that single store has since multiplied to more than 15,000 stores located in 50 countries. Starbucks Coffee Company has realized a success which is admired by companies industry wide, with their main source of success being the people they hire to manage within the organization. The management team is charged with a vital responsibility: to pass along the vision of founder Howard Schultz to every employee and customer which is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time” (Our Heritage, para. 6). In addition to that top priority, the management of Starbucks Coffee Company is charged with several complex tasks such as being strong leaders and managers, and knowing the difference; creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture through the development of their employees and each store experience; and achieving global success.
In the current business climate, it is often considered that the term “leader” is synonymous with the term “manager,” but the two could not be more different. “Outstanding leaders combine good strategic substance and effective interpersonal processes to formulate and implement strategies that produce results and sustainable competitive advantage. They may launch enterprises, build organization cultures, win wars, or otherwise change the course of events. They are strategists who seize opportunities others overlook, but they are also passionately concerned with detail-all the small, fundamental realities that can make or mar the grandest of plans” (Bateman & Snell, 2009, p. 434). Leaders, some say, are born. However, in business today, leaders, with the right direction, can be created. There are certain traits that true leaders possess, such as drive, motivation, integrity, confidence, and knowledge of the business. With enough determination and even mentorship, individuals can learn to hone these skills and become superior leaders. Managers, on the other hand, are often concerned with the day-to-day dealings of business and can be effective without being true leaders. They are often thought to effect change in more short-term scenarios than leaders. “Management requires structuring the organization, staffing it with capable people, and monitoring activities; leadership goes beyond these functions by inspiring people to attain the vision” (Bateman & Snell, 2009, p. 437).
At Starbucks Coffee Company, the management team must be both effective managers and capable leaders. Without individuals who embody both of these attributes, Starbucks would not have seen the success it has realized. The company takes great pride in hiring diverse individuals and giving them all the tools they need to be both great managers and great leaders. Starbucks Coffee Company understands the difference between hiring effective managers and hiring true leaders, and how those decisions can shape the entire organization and the success of the company. “Fresh-brewed, piping-hot leadership strategies have made Starbucks a robust company. Forty millions customers visit each week. The employee turnover rate is 250 percent lower than the industry average” (Michelli, 2006, p. 10). The Starbucks management team has built a strong organizational culture through both supervisory leadership and strategic leadership; the former providing guidance and support for day-to-day activities, and the latter giving purpose and meaning to the whole organization. The supervisory leadership implemented at Starbucks Coffee Company provides that “everything matters; paying attention to every detail gives Starbucks a competitive advantage because it builds...
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