Building Ei : Entrepreneurship IntelligenceTM

Is the name Howard Schultz familiar to you? If yes, great! If not, here’s a hint. Have you ever been to Starbucks? Now, that is bound to be a ‘yes’. Schultz is the executive chairman of this globally renowned coffee chain that is committed to deliver something ‘special’ to its customers.

Quite ironically, Schultz did not like the first taste of coffee. He first tasted it at the age of 10. It was made at his home at their household percolator which made “terrible coffee’”.

The ‘coffee-culture’ made a strong impression on Schultz when he went to Milan. In the city, he encountered plenty of coffee shops that greeted every customer by their names and thus, added an up close and personal touch when serving their orders. It appealed to him, for the art of growing, blending, brewing and serving fine coffee was no less than a romantic ritual.

In his book, ‘Pour Your Heart Into It’, Schultz narrated the story of his journey from rag to riches. He was born in a working-class family in Canarsie, Brooklyn. When Schultz was seven, his father broke his ankle while on duty. Their family could not afford health insurance, neither any worker’s compensation was offered. Schultz finished graduation with the aid of his athletic scholarship and strived hard to achieve such highs that people did not even dare to dream of.

He put emphasis on his values and had faith unmoved in his dream. Today when Starbucks is considered as one of the world’s most valuable brands, the credits should be bestowed to the company’s culture that is inherited from Schultz’s philosophy.

Starbucks has been ‘committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest-quality Arabica coffee in the world’. Schultz believes that Starbucks is the “third place” in the American society for its people to spend time, while the first two places are the home and the office.

Along with that, Starbucks offers complete healthcare coverage to both its full-time and part-time employees. In 2014, the company announced it would pay for its employee’s college tuitions. As Schultz paved his own way to success, he went on to create a work environment that his father could never get. Starbucks provides its employees not only with work and wages, but also with an environment where they are respected.

Schultz’s top ten rules of success are-

  1. Dream big dreams. Believe you can succeed. Believe you can achieve the supposedly impossible.
  2. Change your mindset. Think about what you can achieve, rather than what people tell you, you cannot.
  3. Have a heart. Integrate social consciousness into your company.
  4. Celebrate mistakes. Learn from the mistakes you make, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
  5. Don’t advertise. Starbucks spends very little on traditional advertising. Establish powerful relationships with your customers.
  6. Care for your people. Create long term value for employees. Share success with workers.
  7. Have strong values. Consumers perform cultural audits of brands to see what they should support. Give back to the communities which support you.
  8. Do what you love. Do the things that you are passionate about. Fight to the death for values.
  9. Exceed expectations. Everyone wants the same things; respect, appreciation, dignity as workers and paying customers, and the ability to purchase things of value for the money spent.
  10. Stand for something important. Not every decision is an economic one. Invest in people. Embrace diversity and embrace people of all kinds.

In Schultz’s own words, “Anybody can make money, but it takes something special to make a difference at the same time”.

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