Managing the Unexpected

Topics: Coffee, Decision making, Starbucks Pages: 17 (6234 words) Published: March 30, 2011

Organizations endeavour to prepare themselves to manage any twist that would unexpectedly crop up in their daily routines. However, organizations can never truly predict the magnitude of something unexpected or the impact such an event will have on them and the various stakeholders in the organizations. This paper examines the applicability of an organization's foundation (routines, culture, values and decisions) to act as a shield against unexpected events and/ or how an organization can use this foundation to better manage such twists. To address the above, we utilize New York Times and Business Week National Best-seller book ‘Pour Your Heart into It’ which serves as the main case study as it gives an insight of how Howard Schultz (CEO) of Starbucks Coffee Company was able to lay a foundation for his company that managed to see it even through the unexpected events although it had some hiccups. What were the loopholes of the company's foundation? What enabled it to manage the unexpected? Were they the routines or the culture and values under which it operated or was it how the decisions were made within the company? Other case studies will be used to further illustrate this analysis as well as a comparison with mindful management which is a management tool that has been cited to better manage unexpected events in organizations.

KEY WORDS: The Unexpected, Organization Foundation, Mindful Management.


'I have a dream,' were Martin Luther King Jr. famous words. He was a religious leader who had a dream to make a change in the United States as regards the civil rights for the black Americans. Many leaders too have had dreams; take for example Anita Roddick, founder of the famous cosmetic shop, The Body Shop. She had a dream to make social and environmental changes through her cosmetic shops around the world; the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who had a dream to be the first explorer to the South pole and Howard Schultz (CEO) of Starbucks Coffee Company, who had a dream to open up coffee stores around the world that would be considered as the next best place after the customers homes and their work places. All these leaders and many others have had dreams but do they ever dream that something unexpected would happen along the way of achieving their dreams?

Directing our focus to Starbucks, Howard Schultz joined the company in 1982 and later became the company's chairman and CEO in1987, a position he has served to date. Howard built Starbucks on a foundation primarily on three aspects i.e. the culture, routines/roles and how decisions were made within the company and these are also reflected in the company's mission statement. He instilled a culture within the organization which aimed at appreciating profits as they are essential for future growth, having satisfied customers in terms of providing premium quality coffee beans and the coffee served and the overall customer care as Starbucks is in the retail business and customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. In addition, the company was socially responsible to the community and the environment in which it operates. Most importantly however, is that Howard considered the employee as the most important asset of the company and hence accommodated diversity of the various employees and provided a working environment that treated every individual with respect and dignity. Howard ensured that every employee was given adequate hands on and theoretical training after being hired. In addition to the above, every employee in the company is referred to as a partner because they are given up to a certain amount of ownership through the company's stock option plan. Howard also believed in open and honest communication as well as consulting when it came to making decisions that concerned the company.

Like Starbucks, many organizations are often in pursuit of creating sound policies, strategies and plans which they believe...
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