Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy | How to Deliver World-Class Customer Experiences – Leading the Starbucks Way

This is the final post in a 5-post series about my book Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles to Connect with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People.

In the context of Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy, I asked, then CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz what he wanted his legacy to be. He responded, “I want to build a lasting brand that elevates lives one cup at a time.” Upon his retirement a few years ago, it was clear to me that Howard’s legacy was intact. But that outcome wasn’t always certain. In fact, Howard had to return to the CEO position from his role as Chief Global Strategist to execute a bold transformational agenda that I chronicle in Leading the Starbucks Way. Howard and his leadership team had to also make difficult choices and invest wisely to ensure they stewarded a “lasting brand that elevates lives one cup at a time.”

Howard shared, “The future of our company is based on having the kind of curiosity that is linked to the DNA of the entrepreneurial endeavors that we have had through our first 40 years. And that curiosity must anticipate and understand what is coming and what will be relevant. Then you must make a big bet – for me, those bets come in developing products that widen relevance to the people we serve.”

Brand innovation at Starbucks is a byproduct of listening to the voice of the shareholder, carefully evaluating new ideas, deploying a timely development cycle, and carefully testing promising marketing concepts. As such, Starbucks is constantly considering new products, services, delivery methods, and technologies. Ideas that create value are iterated to a point where “big bets” can roll them out to all relevant Starbucks markets. It is through the tireless pursuit of relevance, human connection, and innovation that Howard and Starbucks have cherished and challenged a lasting legacy.

Given Starbucks innovation processes and a commitment to enduring success, here are this week’s challenge questions:

  • What do you want your leadership legacy to be?
  • Is curiosity a component of your brand DNA? If so, how does that curiosity support relevance and sustained success for your brand?
  • How agile and nimble is your innovation process? Where have you effectively iterated customer solutions?
  • Do you make “big bets” on solutions which have iteratively improved to a point where they warrant the investment?

I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of Leading the Starbucks Way or if you’ve already purchased it, I would appreciate you taking the time to write a review on Amazon. You can also schedule a time to talk about cherishing and challenging your legacy. Here’s to your journey toward world-class customer experiences – inspired in part by Leading the Starbucks Way.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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