Let Go & Lead
Howard Schultz Founder & CEO
Starbucks

The day of my interview with Howard started as any other – with my morning run to Starbucks to get a Grande Bold. I asked the barista whether she had read Howard’s latest book, Onward. She replied, “Of course. My partner, Howard, gave it to me. He gave the book to all of us. And he’s not keeping a penny because that’s the kind of man he is.” I left the store that morning smiling, even more excited to meet him.

After spending some time with Howard, for me the word that best describes him is fearless. Not just because of the guts it takes to dream big, or the fortitude it takes to build an iconic brand, or even the courage it takes to come back and help revive that brand after years of its losing relevance. No, more than any of that, it’s his openness to love. Howard runs Starbucks with a deep and authentic love—for its purpose, partners and products. His idea of bringing the Italian espresso bar experience to the world captured our collective imagination. And his commitment to build a company that does well by doing good in the world has made us fall in love with Starbucks.

Community Building through Social Media (3:56)

The days of “tell ‘em and sell ‘em” are fading. Emboldened by social media, communities are engaging with companies and brands in new and meaningful ways.

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Irresistible Ideas (2:25)

Irresistibility lies in addressing a market need through an emotional connection.

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On "Letting Go" to Lead (2:39)

Letting go does not mean “abdicating responsibility."

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On Connecting Employees to the Vision (4:51)

Embracing the status quo as an operating principle is going to be a collision course with time.

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Capturing the Imagination of Employees (3:26)

When I returned as CEO in January of '08, I think people were quite surprised that I came back. And a lot of people said, ‘Why did you come back? You don't have too. You didn't have to.’ And the truth of the matter is, it is because of love—my love for the company, which is so deeply rooted over many, many years, and the deep responsibility I feel to our people and their families to preserve the integrity of the company.

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