Howard Schultz Starbucks Leadership Style

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For eight consecutive years, Howard Schultz was Starbucks’ Chairman and Chief Global Strategist, but in 2008 he returned to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Schultz had the responsibility to grow Starbucks to the successful enterprise it is today with such positive leadership. In 2006, Schultz attended a legacy event for his mentor, Warren Bennis, sponsored by Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership, where Schultz reflected on Starbucks’ impressive growth since Schultz and a team of investors purchased the company in 1987. Schultz endured a rough and troubled childhood, but he credits his leadership style to his experiences and to what he learned from his father’s career failures and struggles. He stated, “I wanted to build the kind of company my father never had a chance to work for, where you would be valued and respected no matter where you came from, the color of your skin, or your level of education… We wanted to build a company that linked shareholder value to the cultural values we create with our people” (CASE).

Schultz’s openness to new ideas, his positive attitude, and his communication are what make him such a great leader. He stated, “By being curious, asking questions, and not ignoring difficult situations, you become smarter” (Case). Other than
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Schultz wanted this structure to be part of the foundation for the values starbucks holds for its employees and customers. Schultz stated, “The first key has been to hire people with like-minded values. Second, we reinforce the values and culture of the company, making sure to correct any behavior that is inconsistent. Finally, we are decentralizing the company in such a way that the leaders of the company in any part of the world are authors of the expansion” (CASE). Additionally, part of his structure is to work alongside people and not just be a leader, but a partner as well. Schultz believes that success is best when

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