What I Learned from Starbucks' Howard Schultz

March 23, 2012

Howard Schultz CEO Starbucks

I recently read Howard Schultz’ book “Onward” about the fantastic turnaround he made as the new CEO of Starbucks. As you may know, he semi-retired, but when the company got into trouble he returned as CEO and made a remarkable turnaround. 

It seems that Starbucks had expanded too fast.  It was having quality problems and was losing customers.  Howard actually closed all the stores for one day to retrain all his employees.  I found his coffee business is so similar to the hotel business.  It’s really all about people serving people.  I think that 90 percent of our associates in our hotels have at least one customer contact every day and some will have over 100 contacts each. 

In his book, Howard Schultz says, “Tell our associates what we need to do and why.”  Our core philosophy is to take care of our associates so they will take care of the guests.  A major part of caring for our people is training and teaching them how to do their job.  We’re sort of like a big university with many different courses and classes.

Starbucks is concerned about every detail and Howard says, “Every little act matters.”  I've always tried to focus on the details – no detail is really too small.  Executing even the smallest detail to perfection is the difference between a great guest experience and a failure.  Howard says, “A store manager’s job is not to oversee millions of transactions a week, but one transaction millions of times a week.” 

At Marriott, we simply say that we sweat the details. 

%22Onward%22 by Howard SchultzI really loved Howard’s quote, “Passion for the future, respect for the past.”  Likewise, at Marriott we are very proud of our humble roots as a root beer stand, but very passionate about the future as we just signed hotel number one hundred in China.

Incidentally, Starbucks has been a great partner for Marriott for many years.  We feature their coffees in hundreds and hundreds of our hotels around the world.

I learned a lot from Howard Schultz’ book “Onward.”  We would do well at Marriott by continuing to emulate his success. 

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move. 

Listen to blog on Starbucks' Howard Schultz



 

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Two great companies (Marriott & Starbucks) leading, not just by example, but also willing to share the how's and the why's...Thanks for all you do!!

Thank you for the inspiration and shot in the arm - I will share the message with our associates.

Thanks for your blog, Mr. Marriott. I look forward and read each one.

Thanks also for the book recommendation. I will download it to my Kindle and read it next!

Mr. Marriott you are so correct it is all about doing the same thing the same way and doing it correctly with passion for everyone. I am looking forward to reading this book. When I stayed at one of the Marriott properties in the DC area your book The Power to Serve was a great read that I found in the drawer of the desk. That was 18 years ago and I think about it all the time.
As a High School golf coach I also strive for my team members to approach and play each match with Courage, Determination, and Pride!
Make a good day!
peace be with you Debbie
Mr. Marriott while staying at the Marriott Marquis in NYC visiting our daughter who lives and works in the city. As a family we of course went to see a Broadway show . When exiting the show as I was going down the staircase another guest stepped on my left foot and as a result broke the small toe on my left foot and damaged my toe and made it very difficult to walk. The reason I share this with you is that we were not scheduled to fly out on Sunday until very late. My husband had more sightseeing to do with my daughter and I could not walk. The front desk was very understanding and offered me a late checkout in addition to that the housekeeping associate assigned to the room we were in saw me limping to the ice machine and asked what happened and I explained. She helped me get ice and gave me extra bags to put ice in. A few minutes later the associate took that "extra' step and came back to the room and said Mrs. Ahrns I am going to lunch and I will save the cleaning of your room until the last one of my day that way you can prop your feet up and keep ice on and rest until your husband and daughter return . I was so appreciative of her care and concern for me and my injury. Mr. Marriott my only regret is I did not get her name. I would very much like to send her a thank you card and let her know how much I appreciated her extra concern. She saved me from sitting in the lobby for several hours with an ice pack on my foot. I have called the Marquis to ask and they were not sure who it was. Do you think if I gave them the date and room they would be able to find out whom was assigned to that room and cared for me? I would also like to nominate her for your recognition program...... she cared enough to come back and offer to clean my room last so I could rest and care for my foot. We left that day before she returned and I did leave her a note but I think about her all the time and want to send a special card! If you have suggestions of whom I could contact to find that out I would appreciate it so much. Take care and have a wonderful blessed day. peace be with you Debbie

MR. MARROTT:

I WOULD RECOMMEND THE FIRST HALF HOUR OF THE STARBUCKS ANNUAL MEETING EARLIER THIS WEEK. THERE IS A VIDEO ON YOU TUBE, OR IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED, THE ENTIRE MEETING IS AVAILABLE IN THE INVESTOR RELATIONS SECTION OF STARBUCKS WEBSITE. THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER WAS A BAPTIST MINISTER FROM HARLEM.

I HAVE BEEN A MARRIOTT FREQUENT TRAVELER SINCE 1972 AND I AGREE THAT STARBUCKS HAS BEEN A GREAT PARTNER FOR MARRIOTT.

Bill,
I just had a great stay at the J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort. The setting, the golf courses, the building are all very nice. But just as memorable are the Marriott employees. I thought maybe it was because I was in Texas that everyone was so nice. It was really that their training has been so effective. Bravo!

I worked for a root beer stand at a young age and now work for Marriott and time and again I have witnessed the little details making such a big difference in the guest's stay. Thank you for being such a great example and leader for us. I am extremely proud and privledged to be a part of the Marriott family.