Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Howard Schultz

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 1609613821

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In 2008, Howard Schultz, the president and chairman of Starbucks, made the unprecedented decision to return as the CEO eight years after he stepped down from daily oversight of the company and became chairman. Concerned that Starbucks had lost its way, Schultz was determined to help it return to its core values and restore not only its financial health, but also its soul. In Onward, he shares the remarkable story of his return and the company?s ongoing transformation under his leadership, revealing how, during one of the most tumultuous economic times in history, Starbucks again achieved profitability and sustainability without sacrificing humanity.

Offering readers a snapshot of a moment in history that left no company unscathed, the book zooms in to show, in riveting detail, how one company struggled and recreated itself in the midst of it all. The fast paced narrative is driven by day–to–day tension as conflicts arise and lets readers into Schultz?s psyche as he comes to terms with his limitations and evolving leadership style. Onward is a compelling, candid narrative documenting the maturing of a brand as well as a businessman.

Onward represents Schultz?s central leadership philosophy: It?s not just about winning, but the right way to win. Ultimately, he gives readers what he strives to deliver every day– a sense of hope that, no matter how tough times get, the future can be just as or more successful than the past, whatever one defines success to be.

"Through the lens of his personal leadership journey, with all of its dizzying ups and agonizing downs, Howard Schultz has written, with aching honesty and passion, the single most important book on leadership and change for our time and for every generation of leaders. This book is not just recommended reading, it?s required."
Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California, and author of the recently published Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

"[This] sequel to the founding of Starbucks is grittier, more gripping, and dramatic, and [Schultz?s] voice is winning and authentic. This is a must–read for anyone interested in leadership, management, or the quest to connect a brand with the consumer."
Publishers Weekly


















a critical role in the company's expansion and branding. For Arthur—an architect with an MBA's perspective and a psychologist's sensitivity to how space resonates with people—a smart store-development strategy was about a combination of mutually dependent elements: negotiating leases for properties in high-traffic, highly visible locales near other desirable retailers; brand-reflective store design; premium yet cost-effective construction; and prudent asset management. For 10 years, Arthur

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complicit with the Street: For the past two years in particular, we—and I say “we” because no one person had led the charge—chased the pace of growth by building stores as fast as we could rather than investing in sustainable growth opportunities. The top line grew fast, but in a way that, for a variety of reasons, was impossible to sustain, especially when combined with the macrofactor of a tightening economy. In the conversation with the financial community, I had to be careful not to

the hits to partner morale and the brand's reputation in the marketplace, we did not want to do it twice. The board asked us to go back and take another, harder look at the number of stores that we should close to help support the overall business, and someone posed a hypothetical question: “If people who were not as emotionally attached to the stores ran the company, people who were not as concerned about how their actions would affect others, only the bottom line, how many stores would they

just a rallying cry or an attitude, “onward” seemed to connote the dual nature of how Starbucks had to do battle and do business in these increasingly complex, uncertain times. “Onward” implied optimism with eyes wide open, a never-ending journey that honored the past while reinventing the future. “Onward” meant fighting with not just heart and hope, but also intelligence and operational rigor, constantly striving to balance benevolence with accountability. “Onward” was about forging

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