Drucker Biz Forum: Howard Schultz 4.5.11

In early April, I attended the Drucker Business Forum speaker series with guest speaker Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. It was held at the Colburn School, where there is zero parking (my pet peeve). Sharon Waxman (The New York Times) moderated.

I went to this expecting to be graced by some valuable information. I found Schultz’s journey to getting Starbucks back on track pretty interesting. The other stuff – social media, Q&A – was ok. This event made me want to read his book. Definitely a borrow on my list.

Pretty great seats - thanks, Roberta!

Some notes that I jotted down in my notebook (and/or tweeted):

  • The 2007 memo he wrote was leaked. He felt the company was measuring the wrong things (growth).
  • When he came back on as CEO, there were two things he put into action immediately:
    • Closed down all stores for re-training with staff; this was the beginning of figuring out how deep problems at Starbucks had become.
    • Set up a meeting with 11,000 store managers of the North American business unit. This was in the tune of $32.5M – it cost that much to have a 3-day meeting, aka. an “investment of people.” They headed to New Orleans, after Katrina, and also provided 50,000 volunteer hours during their Community Service Day.
  • 2008 quote: “We cannot exceed expectations of our customers unless we exceed expectations of our people.”
  • Some of the things they look at now:
    • A cultural audit every year
    • Measure how leaders and managers are developing people
    • Measuring attrition rates

I jotted down this nugget from the talk: “Every company must invest in how to build a relations through social and digital media.” Schultz went on to say what a lot of us social media folks have said before… (Go ahead, social media peers – smirk or grimace. You know you want to.)  The train has left the station and you need to catch up.

They were trying to figure out how to use social media with brick & mortar stores. So they started asking customers how to make Starbucks better. Do you remember the My Starbucks Idea website? You could jot down your idea and send it in. Surprisingly they listened and some of the suggestions were put into play. The espresso machines were set so high that customers couldn’t see the baristas making their drinks.

Howard Schultz and Sharon Waxman - Drucker Biz Forum

Another nugget: “Build a company through a lens of humanity.”<< That is so Net Impact!

One more: “The conscience of a company must be inter-related with human behavior.” How often do you hear that from a CEO? Or any executive?

There was a short Q&A session where the audience asked questions:

Q: How will you prevent what happened previously from happening again?

A: We have to do the work every day. Success is not an entitlement. We have to earn it every day.

Q: [summarized] How are you addressing the census numbers and diversity hiring, especially the Hispanic population?

A: 3 women are on the board; 6 women are on the senior team. They had recently ran a Hispanic TV advertisement for the first time during the holiday season 2010.

If you’re interested in attending any future Drucker Business Forum events, go here and sign up. The next one is May 26th with Nobel Laureate, Michael Spence. It’ll be held at the KPCC studios in Pasadena, CA.

6/24/10 Zappos’ Tony Hsieh

Last month my alma mater, The Drucker School, sent an invitation to alums to a their last spring Drucker Business Forum q&a. The guest? Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh! KPCC (my favorite NPR station in LA) hosted the event.

It was my first time at the new building in Pasadena. I ran into Arun, a fellow classmate, who was networking like a pro! Tony Hsieh walked us through his success during college and then on to Zappos.

I’ve screenshot my tweets/notes, if you’re interested. Enjoy!

Twitterfeed - thechrislam - Zappos

twitter - the chrislam - zappos page 2