Refocusing on Your Keys to Success Part ll
Strategy, Vision and the Future
A few weeks ago I posted an article, Refocusing on Your Keys to Success I discussed the first half of a March 7th WSJ article with Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. The article made many excellent points that I apply in executive coaching. I highlighted the specific elements of a good management process that Mr. Schultz reinstated (focusing on the customer and holding employees accountable for results) within Starbucks to correct errors in their operational execution.
This second post focuses on Mr. Schultz’ future plans for the company. From an executive coaching perspective, the first thing to note is Schultz sets a very high bar for Starbucks. He wants the company to become a transcendental organization by becoming in his view the first to be a major force in retail and as a traditional consumer brand.
Here are his comments, “If you look at the world of consumer brands today you have two types in terms of channels. You’ve got brick and mortar businesses like Gap or J Crew or Wal-Mart that have built their brands and business through a national footprint of retail stores, and on the other side you have classic consumer brands like Coke, Pepsi and Kellogg whose business has been developing multiple channels of distribution. There isn’t a consumer brand that has been able to integrate their business into both channels of distribution and what we’re about to do is exactly that and we’re uniquely positioned to do it. We are building and investing in resources and people to build a significant consumer products business that over time will rival the size and scale or our retail company…“
You may view these comments as overly bold or aggressive, but they are the words of a man that believes in what he is doing and what he is contributing to individual consumers. When the entire article is taken as a whole it is a perfect case study in management and leadership. Here are the core messages
- Make sure all employees know why we are in business (meaning to service the customer and deliver quality products). It is key to understand that when the “why” is clear the “what” and “how” of the business are so much easier. The why is where the buy-in comes from. Effective teams know why they are working so hard which makes it easier for the individual team members to sacrifice for the greater good. Understand that the greater good is not to make money but to deliver something special to the customer. Great companies understand and communicate their why and it differentiates them from everyone else.
- Hold everyone (including yourself) accountable for their responsibilities across the company
- Integrate a commitment to continuous improvement into the culture of your company, and
- Be proactive in developing the next great opportunity to take your organization to the next level. The next level is necessary, as frequently the next level becomes the norm as competition continues to evolve.
These concepts are not complicated but as always it is the execution of them that proves to be the challenge. Managers must have a clear vision, strategy, and plan. They must be able to communicate it in a way that gains buy-in from employees, customers, and suppliers and the manager must be committed to seeing it through.
Starbucks is of a multi-billion company, but I can promise you that when Starbucks was just a small organization the vision and the plans of management were consistent with what I have laid out here. I know this because these are the core elements to growing any organization, including yours!
Now, lets think about your challenges as an executive or business owner. Are you focused on your current operations and the future? If you answered NO to either question take some time and listen to the video Strategic Assessment Analysis – the 4 Questions Every Manager Needs to Answer. It provides you with the process needed to make a realistic assessment of what you need to do. Also, in order to improve your prospects, you need the perspective of seasoned professionals that have been there before. Coaching is an extremely effective way to jump start or accelerated your personal and business’ growth prospects. Contact us and we will develop a cost effective coaching strategy for you.
Here is the reality, it is difficult to run an organization and have sufficient perspective on its performance to make needed adjustments. Coaching provides you with that experienced set of eyes and candid insight to speed your decision-making. The most successful companies use executive coaches and consultants. You have a coach when you play sports or an instructor when you take music or dance. Why run a business without one?