“If leaders expect staff to meet and exceed the expectations of their customers, those same leaders must respond to concerns and exceed expectations on behalf of their staff.”
Joseph Michelli dives into the nuts and bolts of Starbucks and the leadership principles that have catapulted the organization to nearly 20,000 locations in 60+ countries. There is so much great information within this book (I can tell by the number of dog-eared pages), but I’ve decided to summarize everything as Mr. Michelli has into just five principles. On a personal note, I have always enjoyed Starbucks, the consistent product, exceptional service, and energizing atmosphere…and now I know none of this is by accident, but rather an ever-evolving design.
Principle 1. Make It Your Own
“What’s the value to customers if a service business offers only bland, sterile service? And why would employees want to participate in such empty exchanges? Ultimately, by connecting on a personal level, both customers and employees find enhanced meaning in ordinary moments.”
How does an organization with 150,000 employees offer consistently exceptional service throughout the world? Freedom to ‘Make it Your Own’ is the answer. Any business, regardless of what service or widget you provide should take this to heart – give your employees the freedom to make customer interactions/exchanges/transactions their own. To often, leadership is concerned with providing a consistent ‘customer service experience’; so much so, the interaction between customer and employee becomes robotic, or empty as the author describes it. Leadership should look to provide employees w/ a framework with which to work, allowing personalization to add value to even the simplest of interactions. Below are the “five ways of being” Starbucks uses to guide partners (employees) through customer interactions.
Principle 2. Everything Matters
This chapter was by far my favorite, yet one statement/quote did not stand out from the rest. Rather, the principle of Everything (everyone) Matters is an overarching philosophy that I think applies across this book, the Starbucks organization, and frankly in every exceptional organization I’ve seen. Organizations that recognize ‘everything matters’, from the pay bean pickers receive to the music playing within stores, ultimately provide a level of service that produces uncanny loyalty from everyone involved. Starbucks doesn’t look to focus solely on the product, customer, employee, environment, partners, etc., but on everything and everyone.
Principle 3. Surprise & Delight
“It’s not the calculated marketing strategy; it’s just the little things people do when they take the time to care.”
Gary Vaynerchuk has a chapter in his book ‘Crush It’ that is only one word, and that lone word is “care.” Too often organizations, particularly large ones, throw money and other resources at campaigns, marketing materials, and incentives attempting to create a great culture. Unfortunately, many fail to realize the simple truth that happy/satisfied employees = happy/satisfied customers and vice versa. Spend resources on personal interaction and education for your employees and never miss a chance to surprise your staff with an act of kindness or a humbling level of servant leadership.
“When leaders care enough to surprise their staff, employee morale soars, and important modeling takes place. Not only do employees engage themselves more passionately in their work, but they also become more energized.”
Principle 4. Embrace Resistance
“It is the rare business leader that knows how to leverage setbacks and losses into future gains.”
Become a Learning Institution.
Every individual and business that has ever achieved any level of success has experienced failure. What separates a good organization from an exceptional one is whether anything was learned in the process.
Principle 5. Leave Your Mark
“…banking on the idea that if you improve the future of those who support you, your future will be secured.”
Socially conscience organizations are becoming increasingly prevalent…if you’re not on this train, you’re eventually going to be left behind. Customers, employees, suppliers, managers and leaders would all rather support an organization that is committed to improving the lives of everyone they touch. Whether it’s supporting local community efforts, or insuring environmentally sustainable business practices, those who care enough to invest the time and resources will be around for a long and prosperous time.
husband + father + pilot + director of talent development + leadership coach + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books