Reviews and Testimonials

"Culture is everything! This fast-moving, fascinating book gives you countless practical ideas you can use immediately to create a company climate of inspiration and loyalty."
Brian Tracy
Author of Full Engagement

"In Leading the Starbucks Way, Joseph Michelli shows us how a small, Seattle-based chain of coffee shops became one of the most beloved brands on the planet. Charming, real-life examples of true service culture blend with behind-the-scenes corporate training strategies to create a pleasant and interesting read. So grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and read this book!"
Ken Blanchard
Coauthor of The One Minute ManagerŪ and Leading at a Higher Level

"As a Seattleite who remembers when there was just one Starbucks store on the planet, I continue to be fascinated by the company's evolutionary journey to corporate icon. Michelli identifies the principles by which Howard Schultz and his team passionately perform in a culture that loves, respects, and rewards suppliers, employees, customers, shareholders, and the community."
Robert Spector
Author of The Nordstrom Way
Co-Author of The Forthcoming, What's Love Got to Do With It?: Courting, Catching and Caring for the Ideal Customer

"Leading the Starbucks Way provides the key success factors of a lifestyle brand that is globally scaled, locally relevant, and powered by the passion of the Starbucks culture."
John Timmerman
Ph.D., Senior Strategist of Customer Experience and Innovation, Gallup

"Starbucks Coffee and Tea Company began just a few blocks from my business, the Pike Place Fish Market. Joseph Michelli helped me tell the story of how we create engaging and powerful experiences at Pike Place Fish. He has also been trusted to work with and share business principles used at companies like Starbucks, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Zappos. In Leading the Starbucks Way, Joseph takes an incisive look at the leadership excellence of Starbucks. Unlike his prior book about the coffee leader, Leading the Starbucks Way helps you leverage the connection you build at the person-to-person level while expanding your customer bond globally, through technology, and even onto your products and goods. What are you waiting for? Buy the book, dive-in, gain practical tools, and be transformed!"
John Yokoyama
Owner of the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market
Co-Author of When Fish Fly

"Joseph Michelli offers interesting insights into the fundamentals involved in creating the world's biggest coffee chain. As a business person, you will learn how Starbucks leaders drive success as well as how they learn from setbacks. By reading "Leading the Starbucks Way," you will be able to bypass many business pitfalls and streamline your pursuit of desired business objectives."
Martin Lindstrom
Bestselling author of Buyology and Brandwashed

TIME Business and Money

Starbucks: A Model of Success

by Lauren Simonds

A new book offers a glimpse behind Starbucks’ massive success. Pour yourself a cup of inspired leadership, and maybe you can caffeinate your business.

If you’re an entrepreneur in need of an energy jolt, odds are that you head straight to Starbucks. And if you’re looking for a jolt of business inspiration, you’d be hard pressed to beat Starbucks as a model of success. The company earned $3.6 billion in revenues during its fiscal second quarter this year-that’s a lot of beans.

However, it takes more than capitalizing on a national love affair with caffeine to build a successful empire. In his book, “Leading the Starbucks Way,” author Joseph A. Michelli looks at different strategies Starbucks uses to create its success, and he shows how businesses of any size can adapt the those tactics to fit their business. Michelli recently shared some of those findings in an article on Small Business Computing.

Personal Passion

Michelli’s first piece of advice is to “focus on fueling passion.” You can't build customer loyalty without it. Of course, true passion isn't something you can fake; customers will pick up on that immediately. You-and your employees-really need to love your products and services in order to help customers fall in love with them.

The company also excels at creating great rituals, which furthers customer loyalty and mindshare. Reexamine your business in this light: what rituals can you incorporate to recapture the passion and excitement you felt when you first started your business?

An Emotional Connection

Starbucks offers more than a high-priced cuppa joe. It provides an emotional experience: a retreat from a busy day, a place to meet and share with friends, a comfortable, daily destination. It’s welcoming and homey. That uplifting experience forms strong emotional connections, which in turn drives repeat business.

Ultimately, your customers want to feel that you care about them. Find and tap into the emotional value proposition of your business.

Stand for Something

Often companies avoid taking any kind of stand on issues of the day for fear of losing customers. But by doing that, says Michelli, they “create very little passion.” Case in point, through the strong leadership of its CEO, Howard Schultz-who was a driving force for the Create Jobs for USA program-Starbuck’s is known as a pro-jobs company.

Neither did the outspoken Shultz mince words with a stock holder who expressed dismay over the company’s support of marriage equality.

“We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds," said Schultz. “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."

It’s not about jumping on the hottest issue of the day or being controversial merely for the sake of controversy. It’s about incorporating your principles into your business, communicating authentically and ensuring that your actions mirror your principles.

One of the reasons customers continue to patronize Starbucks is that they feel as though they belong somewhere. How can you give your customers that sense of belonging?

Adapted from Leadership Lessons from Starbucks by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.

How will Starbucks maintain its competitive advantage?

by Catherine Huggins

More than a decade ago, Jeff (my husband) and I lived in Seattle and we couldn't walk down the street without seeing a Starbucks on nearly every corner. For Jeff, who savors a flavorful cup of coffee each morning, it was heaven on earth. For me, a non-coffee drinker, I was intrigued by the brand's skyrocketing popularity and its ardent fans.

Little did I know that my path would eventually cross with Dr. Joseph A. Michelli, a leading expert on Starbucks. Michelli also is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, international speaker and organizational consultant.

Michelli is best known for developing joyful and productive workplaces with a focus on the total customer experience. His past books have featured Zappos, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, and Starbucks.

Last week, I was honored to be invited by Michelli to hear him discuss advance insights from his newest book, "Leading the Starbucks Way: Five Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People." His book will be published in September 2013.

Starbucks is an incredible success story. With 18,000 stores in 62 countries, the company continues to achieve record profits and sales. In fact, Starbucks' market cap is around $43 billion. It was founded in 1971 as a goods provider that also sold products business-to-business.

Now, Starbucks is a service provider that sells directly to the consumer. It is from the consumer's perspective that Michelli shares the inside story on Starbucks' next evolution.

"Today's customers value relationships. We can make business complicated. But, customers want to feel that they matter. After that, people are fairly forgiving. They want to have ongoing relationships with companies and to know that you care about them," explained Michelli.

He went on to say, "In Starbucks' case, in order to move to the next level, they are focusing on five principles from the customer's perspective. These principles include: Savor and elevate; love to be loved; reach for common ground; mobilize the connection; and cherish and challenge your legacy."

According to Michelli, "Savor and Elevate" is keeping the focus on your product passion. In Starbucks' case, their product passion is coffee. They provide immersive experiences to their employees. That's why, their employees have a passion for what they're selling and then connect customers to that passion.

The second principle is: "Love to be loved," is being a beloved brand. Michelli says that trust among your customers comes before love. Customers expect you to be competent (which equals satisfaction). They want you to have integrity. Customers want to be proud of their choice to do business with you. They want a passionate relationships and for you to know what impact your business is having on humanity.

"Reach for Common Ground" is to serve the unifying truths of humanity. Michelli emphasized that customers want attention and customers want to be appreciated. Customers want to go to a place that is communal and has a sense of comfort. They want variety which is really the "surprise and delight" aspect of customer service.

"Mobilize the Connection" is maximizing all of the technologies so customer relationships can be extended into the mobile space along with a company's products. Michelli wants you to think about ways to use digital networks to create experiences for customers.

"Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy" is understanding why you are doing your business. What do you want people to say when you're dead? How do you want to leave the world? If you could remember your life and write it in one sentence, what would it be?

Yes - I admire Michelli. We stay in touch via email and Twitter. He continues to inspire me with his unique ability to cut through the complexity of corporate life and help companies authentically connect with customers. To me, that talent is priceless.

Publishers Weekly

Starbucks Philippines launches loyalty card

IN HIS recently released book, Leading the Starbucks Way (McGraw Hill, 2013), organizational consultant Joseph Michelli explains why the global coffeehouse chain remains successful after all these years.

Buisness World Online

Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People

In this follow-up to The Starbucks Experience, organizational consultant Michelli returns to the ubiquitous chain for a side order of business lessons. First, he presents the key principles that allowed Starbucks to grow from a single coffee shop to a chain with more than 18,000 locations: "Savor and Elevate"; "Love to be Loved"; "Reach for Common Ground"; "Mobilize the Connection"; and "Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy." Next, he explains how to apply those principles to any type of business, using a series of leading questions, as well as "Connecting Points," which guide the reader to implement those principles in his or her own organization. Though Starbucks is widely seen as a corporate giant, the chain makes an effort to be a good neighbor in each community in which it operates, according to Michelli. In addition, the company adapts to global markets, resulting in specialty beverages such as Azuki Matcha Frappucino with matcha green tea and sweet red beans in Japan and Murg Tikka, a chicken dish sold at stores in India. An accessible and practical guide to corporate success. (Sept.)

Smart Company

The power of ritual: How Starbucks uses coffee tastings to anchor its staff


The religious understand the power of ritual.

Sometimes, the mere act of carrying out a familiar action in a familiar place can conjure up the required mindset. It can anchor, forcing one to push aside the cares and concerns of the present to focus on some higher purpose.

The best businesses also use rituals, writes bestselling author Joseph Michelli in his new book, Leading the Starbucks Way.

Michelli is the author of bestseller The Starbucks Experience, which looked at the business model of the company. Leading the Starbucks Way is his companion to the earlier book: a practical, question-based guide for business owners about what they can learn from the coffee company with a global footprint.

To write the book, Michelli spent a lot of time interviewing Starbucks employees at all levels of the company. One of the things that struck him, he wrote, is how much even the lowliest barista seemed to get what Starbucks was about. In many large companies, it's hard to get the senior management and the frontline staff on the same page. But at Starbucks, he wrote, everyone seemed to 'get it'.

Michelli argues that this is in no small part because of the rituals Starbucks' employees take part in, which help communicate and reinforce the company's desired values and actions.

These rituals have been driven by the experiences of Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who while travelling in the 1980s was struck by how baristas working for small Italian coffee houses in Milan were clearly passionate about their product.

The coffee artisans, Schultz wrote in his book Onward, "seemed to be doing a delicate dance as [they] ground coffee beans, steamed milk, poured shots of espresso, made cappuccinos and chatted with customers side-by-side at the coffee bar".

Seeing how coffee was being served in Italy convinced Schultz that making a good coffee required passion. And he set about looking for a way to instil a love of coffee in his staff.

This isn't easy, because most of the people employed by Starbucks do not necessarily come to the company with a love of coffee.

The first thing a new hire at Starbucks does is undertake a coffee tasting of the store manager's favourite coffee. This is teaching by example, Michelli writes. It demonstrates the store manager's passion for coffee, and thus displays the desired behaviour to the new recruit.

These values are driven home by the company's training modules. Over several weeks, the new hire is required to taste and document their reactions to all the coffee blends on offer at Starbucks. They are also taken through the economics of coffee: the challenges faced by coffee-growing communities; coffee's place as one of the world's most traded commodities; and how Starbucks' fair trade practices make a difference to those communities.

Even executives at the company regularly undertake rituals to remind themselves of the centrality of coffee to their business, Michelli writes. He interviews Dub Hay, a senior vice president at Starbucks who started the October 2012 Leadership Conference with a huge coffee tasting of the company's new Thanksgiving Blend. Together, 10,000 store managers and 200 partners and executives tried the coffee, shouting out their impressions.

While this was a larger coffee tasting than most, it wasn't unusual, Michelli adds.

Coffee tastings are how Starbucks people meet each other - a ritual to remind them of the passion they try to convey to their customers.

© The Michelli Experience . All Rights Reserved.