Starbucks Leadership Lab

This morning while drinking my Starbucks coffee (supplied at work) in my cool Starbucks mug (supplied by me), I read a great article at Fast Company magazine about the leadership practices at Starbucks.

Late last year Starbucks held a conference in Houston for nearly 10,000 store managers and 5,000 live coffee plants (more on the plants later).  From what I read this is an annual conference and one that is quite different from other companies.

Here is a link to the article and the video that shows the conference in action (click here).  Starbucks works hard to send their message out through its employees or what they call, partners.  This conference is set up to energize and educate the store managers so they are ready to head back to their little corner of the Starbucks world and lead their store, sell coffee and so much more.

Yes, Starbucks is a business in search of profits, yet one has to admire their approach.  Their mission statement sets the right tone:

 To inspire and nurture the human spirit–one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

While struggling back in 2008 with sales and morale dropping, Starbucks still held a similar leadership conference including the large price tag.  They now say that conference was the beginning to the improved results at Starbucks.  A strong tenet of leadership is to know when it is time to galvanize the troops or as Starbucks calls the employees (oops, partners), Brand Evangelists. (note: just a thought, but maybe this is underway at Yahoo)

One partner at a time inspiring one customer at a time.  Hey from my corner of the world, it is working.  I do feel better when hanging out at a Starbucks.  From the staff to the community centered environment and of course, the coffee, it works.

Here is a link to a more in-depth article (click here) from Fast Company associated with the Leadership Lab conference.  I do admit, I wish I was there.  As an outsider one can learn much from this approach to leadership and the set of believes lived at Starbucks.

Back to those 5,000 coffee plants attending the conference.  Do watch the attached video to get the full effect, but here is the question for all of us … in how many companies does the leadership team in total understand the full process?  In other words the plants helped educate the Starbucks leaders to understand the full process, from bean to cup.

Does that exist in your organization?  Do all your leaders across a variety of departments, truly understand the process, from bean to cup?

Starbucks gets the WeMoveTogether Award (hey, just made that up) for the week.

Here is a short video of the conference in action.  If interested though, do check out the attached links for more information.

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