During his many years as a senior executive at Starbucks, Howard Behar helped establish the Starbucks culture, which stresses people over profits. He coached hundreds of leaders at every level and helped the company grow into a world-renowned brand. Now he reveals the ten principles that guided his leadership-and not one of them is about coffee. Behar shows that if you think of your staff as people (not labor costs) they will achieve amazing results. He discusses the importance of building trust, telling hard truths, thinking independently, and more. And he shares inside stories of key turning points for Starbucks, as it fought to hang on to its culture while growing exponentially.
After a working life spent building Starbucks from a chain of 28 stores to an international coffee business through positions such as executive vice president of sales, founding president of Starbucks International and president of Starbucks North America, Howard Behar tells of the strategies he used to establish the business into the success it is today. Behar shares the soft skills that helped to construct the company from a regional outlet to a corporation with international reach. While the book occasionally brings in examples from other companies, sharing anecdotes from Starbucks itself is Behar's strong suit. The most interesting sections involve stories behind products readers may know from their own visits to the coffee retailer. Thoughts behind the bottled Frappuccino product's launch or the "have it the way you like it" approach to beverage making are revealed. While revolutionary ideas are outnumbered by more standard good business practices, the voice of experience and in-house examples from a popular company make for a decent read for those wanting to develop or refresh basic business leadership skills. CORRECTION A Q&A with Bob Delaney identified the coauthor of Covert as Bill Walton. The book's coauthor is Dave Scheiber; Walton wrote the foreword.
As a Starbucks Partner as well as a leader in various capacities I found myself repeatedly inspired and re-inspired by Howard Behar's philosophies on leadership. It can get easy to sit back and play monarch in the kingdom of our minds, but it takes true bravery and wisdom to reflect on others. Leadership without reflection on others is hollow. This book is approachable, easy to read, and easy to digest. It's application stretches far beyond the staff meeting at the beginning of the month; it transcends the office or store front; it challenges us to all become better at wearing our one hat with pride and joy!