Onward by Howard Schultz Summary

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Onward Book Cover

Onward by Howard Schultz

My Thoughts

Onward is written in a narrative format from a pro-Starbucks perspective, which should be expected from the title. The story is enjoyable and follows Howard’s story of founding his own coffee company Il Giornale, his purchasing of Starbucks, and covers much of the Starbucks story from the time of his purchase in 1988 to 2011.

The book reminds me of American Icon and how Alan Mulally led the turn around of Ford Motor Company after becoming the CEO, you can read my summary here.

Starbucks new mission statement as part of the transformation agenda:

Our aspiration is to become an enduring great company with one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world, known for inspiring and nurturing the human spirit.

Seven Big Moves of Starbucks’ Transformation Agenda

  1. Be the undisputed coffee authority.
  2. Engage and inspire our partners.
  3. Ignite the emotional attachment with our customers.
  4. Expand our global presence while making each store the heart of the local neighborhood.
  5. Be a leader in ethical sourcing and environmental impact.
  6. Create innovative growth platforms worthy of our coffee.
  7. Deliver a sustainable economic model.

Six Transformation Initiatives of Starbucks

  1. Mostretto (coffee maker)
  2. Conservation International
  3. Rewards Card
  4. My Starbucks Idea.com
  5. Pike Place Roast
  6. Clover (coffee maker)

Poison Traits of Partners (Employees)

These traits can pollute the integrity of the company.

  1. Political agendas
  2. Managing upward but not downward
  3. Inability to earn respect or to be a trusted team player

Lessons Learned from the Transformation

  1. Grow with discipline
  2. Balance intuition with rigor
  3. Innovate around the core
  4. Don’t embrace the status quo
  5. Find new ways to see
  6. Never expect a silver bullet
  7. Get your hands dirty
  8. Listen with empathy
  9. Over-communicate with transparency
  10. Tell your story, refusing to let others define you
  11. Use authentic experiences to inspire
  12. Stick to your values, they are your foundation
  13. Hold people accountable but give them the tools to succeed
  14. Make the tough choices
  15. It’s how you execute that counts
  16. Be decisive in times of crisis
  17. Be nimble
  18. Find truth in trials and lessons in mistakes
  19. Be responsible for what you see, hear and do
  20. Believe

Areas Starbucks must Maintain Balance

  1. Between the emotional and the disciplined
  2. Between instinct and information
  3. Between global and local
  4. Between personal and professional
  5. Between profit and humanity

Additional Reading

Transformation Agenda Communications from Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz recommended the book That Shop in Via Montenapoleone by Aldo Lorenzi and gained inspiration from both the book and meeting Aldo Lorenzi.

Related Book Summaries

Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
Onward is the 80th book read in my 2018 reading list.
📚Here is my complete list of book summaries.

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