Starbucks has not only revolutionized the way we think about coffee, but they have literally transformed the English language.
Starbucks has introduced terms like barista, chai, latte, venti, and Frappuccino into everyday vocabulary.
The “third place,” as many of us refer to it as, has had a global impact on the way coffee is purchased, sold, and ultimately consumed by millions of people each day. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks has no plan of scaling back his efforts either.
Starbucks continues to open 5 stores daily, 365 days a year. With that type of continual rapid growth, there are many key insights that have attributed to this success. There have been many books written about this story, however I am a stickler for empirical evidence.
Joseph Michelli, author of the Starbucks Experience, spent countless hours, days, and months working alongside Starbucks senior management figuring out what the key success principles are that have allowed this company to have such rapid growth, while staying vigilantly consistent across the board. I have deduced what I believe to be the top 5 insights that we, as business managers and owners can use to help scale our businesses and create raving fans.
Before we dive in to the insights, I would like to set the stage by sharing with you a quote from Jim Alling, President of Starbucks U.S.
“Sure, one of our principles is to recognize that profitability is essential to our future success. But it’s not the first item on the list; it’s the last one. And when you live and work according to those kinds of principles, good things seem to come your way.”
Key Insight #1: Create strategic alliances with your employees
Starbucks links their partner’s efforts directly to the success of the whole business enterprise: if the partners win, Starbucks wins. This eliminates the normal zero-sum game and creates a win-win scenario because the more profitable Starbucks is, the more profitable the individual partner at the store level is as well. Not every company can reward employees in the same fashion or scale as Starbuck’s. What we can do is treat our teams with enough care and concern to inspire passion and creativity.
Many companies have shied away from talking with their employees about profit, however, Starbucks takes a completely different approach. “Starbucks leadership has done an exceptional job of both linking a partner’s financial gain to Starbuck’s profit and helping partners understand that profit is the lifeblood of a business.” Michelli
Starbucks consistently spends more on training than it does on advertising which results in 120% less turnover than the industry average.
“The way we have built our company by including the success of the company with everyone in it and not leaving our people behind is a great example of building a business the right way.” – Howard Schultz
Key Insight #2: Living the mission statement
It was said best by Paul Williams: “The mission statement and the intentions – they’re not just on paper. They truly are meant to be the way things get done.”
Leaders walk the walk, so they don’t have to talk the talk. The company is aligned on their vision across all levels of the business. This creates a culture of living the mission statement which in turn encourages the partners to offer the same vision to their customers.
Leading by example – Michelli noted a perfect quote for this point: “For any organization, it’s difficult, albeit not impossible, to soar with the eagles if you are led by a flock of turkeys.”
Key Insight #3: Starbucks 5 ways of being
Every partner is coached on embodying the Starbucks 5 ways of being, which creates a consistently fresh and delightful experience for patrons.
- Be Welcoming – make it your own – leaders encourage partners to use their own unique style to produce inviting encounters. Different means to the same end goal – each person is different and should champion their own strengths to create a lasting relationship with the customer
- Be genuine – Starbucks definition – “to connect, discover, and respond.” This requires listening followed by action. Do not get stuck in paralysis by analysis
- Be considerate – consider the needs of others, how can you invest more of yourself and encourage your teammates to increase their investment to be more considerate?
- Be knowledgeable – Starbucks definition – “love what they do and share it with others.” In today’s information age, we add value to our efforts when we gain work related knowledge. Sharing knowledge with customers makes for more sophisticated consumers – AKA the “ideal customer.” When we add value/knowledge to our customers, they offer our business their loyalty and come to see us as trusted advisors rather than just transaction handlers!
- Be involved – community, and in the store with customers.
Key Insight #4: Everything matters
This is referring to solid processes and procedures in daily operations – “retail is detail.” Starbucks puts an emphasis on consistency, even in the minute details. They take the mentality of nothing is trivial and our customers notice everything.
Starbucks focuses on finding ways to deliver existing products and services in ways that make the brand more significant to the customer – more than just a transaction, they focus on the whole buying experience. Starbucks focuses on creating a “felt sense” about the business
Dr. Eugene Gendlin defined this term as the result of a myriad of tiny details that lurk below our conscious awareness. How can we make our customers “felt sense” align with our businesses brand/vision? Focus on all the details.
“The Starbucks sensation is driven not just by the quality of its products but by the entire atmosphere surrounding the purchase of coffee.” – Corporate Design Foundation
Key Insight #5: Embrace resistance
This requires leaders to distinguish between customers who want their concerns to be resolved and those who will never stop complaining or be satisfied.
When faced with customer complaints, there is an opportunity to actually turn that perceived negative into a head over heels positive. You gain a rare perspective into the customers mind. This is an opportunity to learn more about what you can do, how to become better, how to approach processes differently, and ultimately become closer to creating a great experience for the customer.
Just listening is not enough, you must take action which shows the customers that their voices are heard and that leadership cares, thus creating brand loyalty.
Starbucks example – when entering new markets, in some cases Starbucks receives a lot of resistance. The way they have combated this is to keep their core products and services the same, but tailored other aspects such as food offerings to the local cuisines. This creates a sense of caring, and turns many “haters” into long lasting patrons.
“Embracing resistance involves a complex set of skills that can enable business and individuals to create business and relationship opportunities when they are confronted with skepticism, irritation, or wariness.” – Michelli
My advice to us as business leaders and owners is to understand these insights at a granular level, and start to implement them one at a time in our respective businesses. In the next strategic planning meeting, brainstorm on how these insights relate to your industry, and create an implementation plan. Remember; it is all about the customer.
I want to end with a quote that Michelli ended his book with – “Starbucks excellence emerges from visionary management, a passionate entrepreneurial spirit, a social conscience, and guiding principles that are inculcated into the fabric of the business.”
Go forth, and create your “third place.”
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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners
Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up.
In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.
Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
Learn In a Group
It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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