Success Brings Unintended Consequences

During a recent Auxano All-Staff call, founder Will Mancini brought up a conversation that he, Auxano Managing Officer Jim Randall, and noted church consultant George Bullard had that revolved around a book by Jim Collins – How the Mighty Falland its relevance to church and denominational settings today. This post from 2011 came to mind, so I’m reposting it.


Starbucks’ battle back from mediocrity is well documented in CEO Howard Schultz’s 2011 book Onward. Pairing it with Jim Collins’ 2009 book How the Mighty Fall gives ChurchWorld leaders a sobering lesson in how to handle success.

Collins’ 5 Stages of Decline begin with “Hubris Born of Success.” He describes it in a short paragraph:

Great enterprises can become insulated by success; accumulated momentum can carry an enterprise forward, for a while, even if its leaders make poor decisions or lose discipline. Stage 1 kicks in when people become arrogant, regarding success virtually as an entitlement, and they lose sight of the true underlying factors that created success in the first place. When the rhetoric of success (“We’re successful because we do the specific things”) replaces penetrating understanding and insight (“We’re successful because we understand why we do the specific things and under what condition they would no longer work”), decline will likely follow.

Here’s what Starbucks’ Schultz had to say in looking back to early 2008:

If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures, and when many of us at Starbucks became swept up in the company’s success, it had unintended effects. We ignored, or maybe we just failed to notice, shortcomings.

We were so intent upon building more stores fast to meet each quarter’s projected sales growth that, too often, we picked bad locations or didn’t adequately train newly hired baristas. Sometimes we transferred a good store manager to oversee a new store, but filled the old post by promoting a barista before he or she was properly trained.

courtesy sodahead.com

courtesy sodahead.com

As the years passed, enthusiasm morphed into a sense of entitlement, at least from my perspective. Confidence became arrogance and, as some point, confusion as some of our people stepped back and began to scratch their heads, wondering what Starbucks stood for.

In the early years at Starbucks, I liked to say that a partner’s job at Starbucks was to “deliver on the unexpected” for customers. Now, many partners’ energies seemed to be focused on trying to deliver the expected – mostly for Wall Street.

Great organizations foster a productive tension between continuity and change. On the one hand, they adhere to the principles that produce success in the first place, yet on the other hand, they continually evolve, modifying their approach with creative improvements and intelligent adaptation.

When organizations fail to distinguish between current practices and the enduring principles of their success, and mistakenly fossilize around their practices, they’ve set themselves up for decline.

By confusing what and why, Starbucks found itself at a dangerous crossroads. Which direction would they go?

Questions for ChurchWorld Leaders:

  • Is your organization locked in on your vision, core values, purpose, and culture?
  • Or do you move in first this direction, then that, just to have “success”?

Beware the unintended consequences of success.

an updated post on a series reviewing Onward, by Howard Shultz

Onward

preparation for a new series coming soon on Leading the Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

Starbucks: A Significant & Purposeful Business Anchored in Engaging & Compassionate Leadership Practices

It is important to remember that Starbucks started as a single store and that anything is possible if we take the lessons learned from Starbucks as a nudge to think about how we can innovate and expand our products, services, social media tools, technologies, and channels. The leaders at Starbucks also demonstrate what is possible when you foster product passion, teach your people the importance of human connections, seek operational excellence and efficiency, and engage in a never-ending pursuit of relevance.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

The first session of the Fall Term of the 2013 GsD is wrapping up with today’s post. Organizational consultant Joseph Michelli’s latest book Leading the Starbucks Way has been the primary resource for this session.

Michelli uses over two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.” Here are the five principles:

  1. Savor and elevate
  2. Love to be loved
  3. Reach for common ground
  4. Mobilize the connection
  5. Cherish and challenge your legacy

In order to help you evaluate mastery of the material as well as apply independent thinking skills to your own setting, here are a few summary thoughts based on the five principles above.

  • When frontline team members are passionate about your Guest Experience, they build interest and excitement on the part of your Guests.
  • Evaluate every strategy to ensure that it aligns with your core values, reinforces your purpose, and stimulates continued progress toward your aspirations.
  • Well-designed experiences involve a willingness to see the environment and process from your Guests’ perspective.
  • If your Guests view your organization as being competent and having integrity, you have created the environment for trust. Trust is a gateway emotion on a journey to greater levels of emotional engagement.
  • Listening is not a passive pursuit; listening is synonymous with connecting discovering, understanding, empathizing, and responding.
  • Good leaders provide uplifting moments for those who uplift Guests.
  •  One of the most powerful opportunities for building a relationship occurs after your Guests’ visit, with your team members offering a warm farewell, and inviting Guests into future opportunities to connect.
  • Observe your Guests, then adopt, adapt, and extrapolate new ideas that will connect both locally and globally.
  • Technology should support the mission, not the reverse.
  • Complacency and inertia are challenges to innovation for your organization.
  • There is typically a strong interdependence among a organization’s performance, its values, and the impact it has on the communities it serves.
  • Passionate team members have a magnetically positive impact when it comes to turning Guests into attenders and future team members.

It is important to remember that, at its heart, Starbucks is in the people business serving coffee. Place, Process, and Product are all important, but the foundation and core of Starbucks success is its People.

Take a look at this brief video and you will have a better understanding of what I mean:

SBPartner1

The M.U.G. Award referred to in the video allows partners to recognize co-workers for “Moves of Uncommon Greatness” that help them achieve their goals. It’s a way of saying, “Thanks for helping me out. I couldn’t have done it without you!”

Can your team members say the same thing?

Part 9 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

Leaders Honor the Past – But Aren’t Trapped There

In late 2007, Starbucks was not doing well, and the future looked bleak. To address the emerging problems, former CEO Howard Schultz, who had stepped aside almost eight years earlier to become chairman of the board, did something unexpected: he returned as CEO to oversee day-to-day operations.

Schultz came back to Starbucks with a passion and a plan, and over the next two years, Starbucks returned to sustainable, profitable growth.

Here’s what Schultz had to say in looking back to early 2008: 

If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures, and when many of us at Starbucks became swept up in the company’s success, it had unintended effects. We ignored, or maybe we just failed to notice, shortcomings.

We were so intent upon building more stores fast to meet each quarter’s projected sales growth that, too often, we picked bad locations or didn’t adequately train newly hired baristas. Sometimes we transferred a good store manager to oversee a new store, but filled the old post by promoting a barista before he or she was properly trained. 

courtesy nbcnews.com

courtesy nbcnews.com

As the years passed, enthusiasm morphed into a sense of entitlement, at least from my perspective. Confidence became arrogance and, at some point, confusion as some of our people stepped back and began to scratch their heads, wondering what Starbucks stood for. 

In the early years at Starbucks, I liked to say that a partner’s job at Starbucks was to “deliver on the unexpected” for customers. Now, many partners’ energies seemed to be focused on trying to deliver the expected – mostly for Wall Street. 

Great organizations foster a productive tension between continuity and change. On the one hand, they adhere to the principles that produce success in the first place, yet on the other hand, they continually evolve, modifying their approach with creative improvements and intelligent adaptation.

When organizations fail to distinguish between current practices and the enduring principles of their success, and mistakenly fossilize around their practices, they’ve set themselves up for decline.

By confusing what and why, Starbucks found itself at a dangerous crossroads. Which direction would they go?

In Leading the Starbucks Way, organizational consultant Joseph Michelli uses two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Leadership Principle #5: Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy

“Cherish and challenge your legacy” is all about encouraging you to define the legacy you wish to leave and evaluate your leadership performance, in part, based on your progress toward that legacy.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

A key element in the success of the Starbucks transformation results from an alignment between leaders who are charged with driving change and those who are responsible for ensuring consistent operations.

Our challenge has been to produce innovations that improve operations, drive growth, enhance the partner and customer experience, and increase profitability. That’s a tall order, but it often occurs in the most subtle ways.     – Craig Russell, Starbucks senior vice president, Global Coffee

Ultimate success in driving innovation hinges on the alignment of those who foster change and those who maintain stability.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. What are the strengths of your organization that have been most instrumental to the success you have achieved?
  2. How might those success drivers inadvertently become traps that could constrain future growth?
  3. How aligned are the “operators” and the “innovators” in your organization? Would you say that both groups share an “operational innovation” mindset?

Any organization, small or large, consumer or otherwise, that is going to embrace the status quo as an operating principle is just going to be dead…The need for constant innovation and pushing forward has never been greater than it is today.    – Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks

Leaders must honor the past but not be trapped in it.

 

Part 8 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

 

Growing Connections Through Technology

I’m writing this post sitting in an airport, waiting on my flight. I drove to the airport from my client’s location, navigating via my smart phone. Along the way, I was updated by the airline with a flight time change. Arriving at the airport, I checked in with a boarding pass on my phone. Waiting for the flight, I checked email, websites, and participated in a conference call – all on my mobile phone.

Mobile technology has changed the world, and that includes ChurchWorld.

courtesy mobilecommercedaily.com

courtesy mobilecommercedaily.com

In Leading the Starbucks Way, organizational consultant Joseph Michelli uses two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Leadership Principle #4: Mobilize the Connection

This principle looks at how Starbucks strengthens the relationships formed in Starbucks stores and extends them into the home, office, and supermarket experiences of customers. It also examines how Starbucks leaders leverage technology to integrate a multichannel relationship with their customer base.

Great leaders continually seek to leverage the options that are emerging through technology and to position their businesses on social platforms more effectively and strategically.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

ChurchWorld Application

  1. How would you assess your success in forging a digital connection of trust and relevance?
  2. Do you have a multi-pronged and integrated strategy concerning digital and mobile solutions?

Two key elements in the Starbucks social media strategy are authenticity and interesting content. Starbucks is committed to making friends, not offers. They feel that Twitter and Facebook are about connecting – there are more appropriate settings for selling and closing.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. How strategic are your decisions concerning the social media platforms through which your brand will engage?
  2. Have you dedicated resources to commit time to thinking about the platform that fits your organization and guest and member interfaces?

Technology will serve our mission, and we will deploy our strategies to engage our partners and customers wherever they spend their time. We will seek to stay relevant to them and uplift them through human connection.     – Alex Wheeler, vice president, Starbucks Global Digital Marketing

SBFacebookpage

A few of the highlights of this principle:

  • Twitter and Facebook approaches should focus on consistent but not overwhelming levels of communication, delivered for the purpose of connecting.
  • No matter the size of the organization, its leaders should designate someone to be in charge of social media strategy.
  • Technology is powerful when you view it as a way to enhance the human connection rather than seeing it as inevitably leading to impersonalization.
  • Technology should not be provided for “users,” but instead should be seen as a tool for serving and connecting with your “people” and your “Guests.”

 

Part 7 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

 

Applying the Power of AND: Understanding the Universal Needs of the People You Serve AND Innovating to Meet the Unique Needs of Your Local Environment

There is an ongoing debate among cultural anthropologists between the two conflicting perspectives of universalism and cultural relativism. Universalism suggests that the underlying similarities among all people are greater than their cultural differences, while cultural relativism asserts that cultural differences have a profound effect on people, making it difficult for “outsiders” to fully understand the relevant context of behavior.

As a church leader, you may not consider yourself a cultural anthropologist, but go back and read that last phrase and you will probably change your mind.

To put it a different way, how easy is it for “outsiders” to become connected to your organization?

In Leading the Starbucks Way, organizational consultant Joseph Michelli uses two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Leadership Principle #3: Reach for Common Ground

Starbucks leaders have made their share of mistakes in attempting to strike a balance between the universal and the cultural. In the process of their setbacks and victories, Starbucks serves as a helpful guide on how to make powerful and respectful connections in new opportunities.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

The goal of leadership is to create the right environment for human connections to occur and to help staff members manage the inevitable issues that surface.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Are you paying attention to your Guests’ needs to be seen and heard?
  2. Would you go so far as to say your Guests feel understood and known?
  3. Do your team members say thank you, offer a fond farewell, and invite guests into future opportunities to connect?
  4. When it comes to seeing, hearing, and knowing your Guests, what are the strengths and opportunities for your organization?
  5. Are you connecting with each Guest verbally and nonverbally upon first contact?
  6. Do you go from listening to Guests to Guest knowledge on which you can act?

Your community has all kinds of specific challenges. Do you know what they are?

Understanding your local predicament is about having an intimate grasp of the soil where God has called you to minister. It’s about walking firsthand your contours of locality.

Starbucks leadership has deployed a series of key approaches and adjustments to maximize the local relevance of products, services, and physical environment. They include decentralization and revitalization of their corporate structure, developing relationships with local allies, and understanding the physical properties of history of the community they serve.

 Considering local cultural influences is an important layer of our design process to ensure market relevance. For us, it starts with listening and observing the needs of our partners and customers. It’s about communicating up front, talking to customers, listening to partners, and it’s seeing through the lens of that collective experience.     – Thom Breslin, Director, Design, Starbucks UK

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Are you seeking to provide the same thing to everyone, or do you understand the needs of unique needs of different people?
  2. How far can and do you go to achieve local relevance?
  3. Have you completed a “sense of place” in your new markets such that you can blend your brand with local needs?

Leaders understand that maximized choice is essential to today’s consumer, but with choice comes a responsibility to ensure that you can execute the new product offerings at a level commensurate with your existing levels of excellence.

 If you don’t innovate, renovate, and constantly seek relevance – you die.     – Thom Breslin

ChurchWorld Application

  1. What are the product rituals and daily use patterns of prospective customers in new markets?
  2. How are you positioning your product (define or give examples) to capture customers in the context of their lifestyles?
  3. What are you doing to stay alive and thrive in new opportunities?

Starbucks leaders actively seek local relevance and adjust their product and service offerings accordingly. When leaders find the right business partners and make conscious and concerted efforts to give customers what they love, their business achieve lasting connections and maximal success.

What are the unique needs and opportunities where God has placed your church?

Part 6 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Listening is an Active Verb

At Starbucks, listening is synonymous with connecting, discovering, understanding, empathizing, and responding.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

The benefits of this type of listening fuel the entrepreneurial and adaptive spirit of a brand that could have easily lost its nimbleness as a result of its growth and scale.

courtesy 360degreefeedback

courtesy 360degreefeedback

According to organizational consultant Joseph Michelli, many leaders are either too busy to listen or are more interested in speaking. As a result, listening intently, regularly, and respectfully to team members separates the great leader from the good one.

In the Starbucks organization, listening takes many forms. While leaders listen informally at an individual or team level, Starbucks also has a formalized department that consistently listens for the needs and engagement level of partners.

Virgil Jones, director, Partner Services at Starbucks, notes:

Our team conducts surveys, focus groups, and continuously takes a pulse on our partner population. Within that department, the most important thing I do on a daily basis is listen to our partners. The second most important thing I do is continue to touch base with our partners and adjust, because with the way technology is advancing, the things that are hot, interesting, and engaging with our partners today is going to be completely different 18 months from now.

Michelle Gass, president, Starbucks Europe, Middle East, and Africa, like many other Starbucks senior leaders, demonstrates a different kind of regular and personal listening that fuels partner engagement. Her approach comes in the form of “listening tours.” According to Michelle:

I travel across my region regularly and conduct listen tours and roundtable meetings. These are informal meetings where we spend about 90 minutes paying attention to the thoughts, needs, and ideas of those we serve. While listening is important, taking swift action to elevate experiences is essential. These tours are an ongoing process of connection and discovery, not an event.

Michelli adds:

In many ways, when leaders demonstrate formal and informal listening, they not only engage employees but also gain access to information that helps them stay relevant to the needs and observations of their team members.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Do you practice regular, scheduled “listening tours” with your front-line team members?
  2. What are your systematic approaches to other types of leadership listening?
  3. How do you complete the listening cycle (what actions do you take to inform your team members that they have been “heard”?)

Are you really listening to your teams? What are you hearing? Most importantly, what are you doing?

Part 5 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

How Are You Making Deposits in Your Customers’ “Reservoir of Trust”?

Leaders at companies like Starbucks have found ways to maintain strong emotional bonds with their customers and achieve their business objectives despite a landscape of heightened consumer empowerment and corporate cynicism. At the center of these sustained emotional bonds is a leadership principle that I refer to as “Love to Be Loved.”     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

Somewhere along your education journey, you were probably exposed to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs: physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization. According to Maslow, basic survival requirements take precedence over more evolved social and transformational needs.

According to organizational consultant Joseph Michelli, Maslow’s theory is also relevant to understanding the perceptions of customers of your organization. Theorists and researchers at the Gallup Corporation have defined a hierarchy of customer perceptions that escalate from low levels to full customer engagement.

In the Gallop model, the first hurdle a company must face is the question, “Are you competent?” If you are to ensure a more secure relationship with your customers, they must be able to address the second question, “Can I predict that this company will demonstrate fairness and consistency in the way it delivers products and experiences?” A positive answer to that question demonstrates the company operates with integrity. Being perceived as having integrity established the opportunity for customers to experience a heightened level of emotional engagement – “pride.” Customer pride comes when your organization is viewed as a positive force in your customers’ lives or in the lives of others they care about. The pinnacle of Gallup’s customer engagement hierarchy is passion. The customer feels your organization is perfect for him, and he can’t live without it.

Trust is the gateway emotion on a journey to greater levels of engagement.

Based on Michelli’s observations, Starbucks leaders strive to demonstrate morality in their actions by making deposits in their stakeholder’s reservoir of trust (a phrase coined by CEO Howard Shultz). This is accomplished by:

  1. Empathetically looking at business decisions through the lens of humanity
  2. Communicating straightforward intent, acknowledging shortcomings, and keeping promises
  3. Balancing the competing interests of stakeholders
  4. Creating operational systems and quality improvement processes to deliver a consistently reliable product
  5. Establishing training and empowering partners to deliver service recovery

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Based on the hierarchical stages of customer engagement discussed above, but transferred into the world of Guest Experiences at your church, how do most of your Guests, attenders, and team members perceive your organization? Are you “competent” at what you do? Do your team members display a sense of “pride” in serving in ministry? Does your organization have a sense of “integrity” as recognized by your community – even those who have no connection to your church? Finally, is a sense of “passion” displayed by constituents – even to a degree that their lives are enriched because of their connection to your organization?
  2. How well does your organization “make deposits in the reservoir of trust” for your stakeholders? How would you grade yourself in each of the areas listed above?

SB Barista group

How Starbucks Moves Forward with Greater Levels of Engagement

  • A team approach to product development and implementation, along with rigorous testing, leads to earning trust through consistency.
  • Partners are trained and developed to create inspired moments by defining those service behaviors that should “always” or “never” occur at Starbucks.
  • From the earliest training, partners are provided with the resources and autonomy to resolve customer complaints or concerns.
  • The only way to become beloved is to be loving.

Michelli makes this closing point:

Customers who make extremely strong emotional connections with a company actually perceive their preferred brands as extensions of their personality and integrate the brands into their rituals, lifestyle, and identity.

Part 4 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization 

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

What Kind of Experience Do You Want Your Guests to Have?

Unlike many other places that sell coffee, Starbucks builds the equity of our brand through the Starbucks Experience. It comes to life every day in the relationship our people have with our customers. By focusing again on the Starbucks Experience, we will create a renewed level of meaningful differentiation and separation in the market between us and others who are attempting to sell coffee.  – Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, speaking about the priority of the customer Experience as a part of Starbucks Transformation Agenda

3 Aspects of Starbucks Customer Experience Excellence

Starbucks leaders:

  • Define and communicate the desired and unique Starbucks Experience
  • Select individuals with the requisite talent to deliver that experience consistently
  • Train partners on the key pillars necessary to engage customers regularly

The worthy customer experience ideals at Starbucks are expressed in the company’s mission statement and are supported by the principles of how this mission is lived out everyday – principles like the following:

Our Customers – When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers – even if just for a few moments. It starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.

Our Stores – When our customers feel this sense of belonging, our stores become a haven, a break from the worries outside, a place where you can meet with friends. It’s about enjoyment at the speed of life – sometimes slow and savored, sometimes faster. Always full of humanity.

SB customers

Organizational consultant Joseph Michelli, in his new book Leading the Starbucks Way, writes that these principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Many organizations orient new team members by teaching them the tasks to be performed on the job but fail to educate them on service excellence skills and/or the experience that they want those team members to deliver. At Starbucks, initial skills training quickly moves into content like “Customer Service Basics” and the “Starbucks Experience.”

A great example is a process tool called the “Store Walk Through”, where the new team members move through the café environment observing and recording important aspects that a customer is likely to encounter on their journey from arrival through departure. These customer perspective walks occur once per shift at each store.

Another helpful tool provided by Starbucks leaders is a defined service vision that describes what needs to be achieved during service experiences. Additionally, it provides four customer service behaviors that help partners understand how the customer service vision is to be accomplished.

The Starbucks customer vision statement reads “We create inspired moments in each customer’s day.” To accomplish this objective, partners are encouraged to focus on the following customer service behaviors:

  • Anticipate
  • Connect
  • Personalize
  • Own

According to Michelli, by providing the desired destination and ways to arrive there, you help your teams develop exceptionally strong bonds with customers that powerfully differentiate your organization from the competition.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. If asked, what percentage of your Guest Experience team members could articulate your Guest Experience vision or the way you want Guests to feel as a result of the experiences they have while at your campus?
  2. Develop a process tool in which your team members literally walk through the entire Guest Experience at your campus from the perspective of a Guest. Debrief the training. Make it a regular part of your team training.
  3. Do you know what your Guests are expecting when they come to your campus? Are your Guest Experience team members knowledgeable enough about Guest expectations to anticipate and deliver an extraordinary experience?

Michelli continues to develop the exceptional customer experience by outlining additional competencies that world-class service providers exhibit:

  • The ability to maximize customer engagement through environmental design
  • Integration of key sensory factors
  • A capacity to listen and adapt your Guest Experience to meet the changing wants, needs, and desires of your customers

While many leaders look for ways to improve experiences by adding elements to the environment, the best outcomes often come from the removal of negative cues that distract from a memorable experience.     – Joseph Michelli

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Assume the persona of one of your key targets – say, a young single professional. Walk key leaders of your team through your typical Guest Experience, observing through the eyes of your identified persona. What elements of clutter or confusion stand out? What can be done to clean up these experience detractors?
  2. Repeat the same exercise, this time choosing a completely different persona. Are there different areas of clutter or confusion? If so, how will you rectify them?
  3. For a real challenger, repeat this exercise with as many key target groups as you can identify. List all the areas of clutter and confusion and take action on repeated areas immediately.
  4. With your Guest Experience leadership team, conduct a sensory audit of your organization. What are the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities? What sights, sounds, smells, and tactile elements do your Guests experience throughout their journey at your campus? 

A couple of important “Connecting Points” by Michelli:

People can copy your products and your services, but seldom can they build the powerful connections with customers that emerge from the well-designed experiences that you deliver.

Whether it is connecting the design of your physical space to your company’s mission, vision, and values; strengthening efficiencies to improve the customer experience, or adding sensory elements, successful customer experience enhancements have one unifying component: the need to execute the details.

How will you move your Guest Experiences from “replicable and consistent” to “magical and unique”?

Part 3 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

When Good is not Good Enough, It’s Time to Lead Your Team to “Savor and Elevate”

“Savor and Elevate” is a business principle that emphasizes the importance of maximizing enthusiasm for the products, services, and experiences your company provides.      Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

To achieve Starbuck’s mission “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time,” leaders at Starbucks crafted a set of principles to be lived daily, the first of which involves passion for:

 Our coffee. It has always been, and will always be, about quality. We’re passionate about ethically sourcing the finest coffee beans, roasting them with great care, and improving the lives of people who grow them. We care deeply about this; our work is never done.

 Starbucks leaders have produced diverse tools to help Starbucks partners develop or deepen a genuine product passion.

One of those tools is a coffee education that reflects a 70/20/10 growth and development approach. Based on research on how people integrate and utilize new information, new baristas at Starbucks receiver approximately:

  • 70 percent of their initial coffee education through on-the-job experience and hands-on practice
  • 20 percent of their training through the feedback and mentorship from their peers, learning coach, and store management
  • 10 percent of their training from an online modularized curriculum
courtesy coffeeconcepts.com

courtesy coffeeconcepts.com

At intervals during the certification training and development process, new partners must pass a knowledge test and demonstrate to their store manager skill competency in tasks such as preparing a cappuccino.

A person can become passionate not only about the coffee itself, but also about the artistry involved in its creation.

If a barista only goes through the motions of pouring espresso, if he or she does not care, then Starbucks has lost the essence of what we set out to do 40 years ago: inspire the human spirit.    – Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

ChurchWorld Application:

  1. What is your Guest Experience Team’s overall level of passion in serving your Guests and attenders? How does it compare to the passion levels at the best service providers you have encountered in the marketplace?
  2. Have you built-in Guest Experience knowledge and passion from the beginning of your team member’s involvement?
  3. What first impressions do you create for new team members? Do they experience what you hope they provide?

While the opportunity for developing a passion for coffee and the artistry of its preparations is built into the formative learning experiences of Starbucks new hires, the company’s leadership understands that this passion is reinforced, sustained, and deepened through corporate celebration and communication rituals, immersive learning opportunities, and core business strategy. Michelli elaborates:

Authentic corporate rituals are powerful ways to create a common bond, inspire commitment and innovation, and build an integrated and effective culture.

Rather than providing messages that solely describe the “what” and “how” of your products, listen for and share stories that will help connect your people to the nuances of your products and/or special aspects of the customer journey.

Leaders at Starbucks have crafted way to immerse staff members in enriched learning experiences that create opportunities for product passion. They have also found ways to spark master of product knowledge by relying on an intrinsic sense of accomplishment that comes from advanced learning and the ability to teach others.

Evaluate every strategy to ensure that it aligns with your core values, reinforces your purpose, and stimulates continue progress toward your aspirations.

Increased visit frequency, wider product penetration, greater customer engagement, consistent product sell-through, and employee pride and professional development are enviable by-products of igniting the passion of your team members.

Growing research evidence indicates that “knowledgeable employees” is one of the top items on the wish list for customers today.

Imagine what knowledgeable and passionate employees can do, not only for your customers, but also for the morale and enthusiasm associated with your organization.

ChurchWorld Application:

  1. Examine the habits, rituals, and messages that you employ in your Guest Experience ministry. Are they facilitating emotional connections, a sense of community, and passion for excellence?
  2. How to you capture and share stories of your Guest Experiences team members that help connect them to Guests, one another, and the vision of your church?
  3. How are you incorporating Guest Experience mastery and social recognition into your team training programs?

Part 2 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print

 

The Leadership Lessons of Starbucks

A man sits alone at lunch in his favorite Starbucks store and tells a green apron-clad Starbucks barista that the store is his midday refuge, noting, “At Starbucks, you are nice to me, you remember me, and you seem genuinely grateful that I am here.” – from Leading the Starbucks Way

Stories like this exemplify a company whose leaders establish a compelling vision and manifest behaviors that culminate not only in product sales but also in powerful, loyalty-rich human connections.

Here’s my personal Starbucks “Aha” story:

On a cold January day over six years ago, I was at “my” Starbucks for an hour’s worth of quiet study, accompanied by a White Chocolate Mocha and a warm Apple Fritter. I settled into a comfortable seat, observing the friendly, welcoming interactions between the baristas behind the counter and their customers as they walked in. I didn’t know I was in for Guest Experience 101.

While I was observing the barista’s interactions with customers, a young mother and her 3 year-old daughter came into the store. As they were walking in the door, the barista came out from behind the counter, said hello to the mom, then knelt down in front of the daughter, calling her by name and engaging in a conversation for several minutes – all while other customers continued to come into the store. The store was well staffed, so no one was held up by the barista’s actions. A seemingly small gesture? Maybe so, but it sparked a single question in me, one that I am still seeking the answer to today:

What would it take for churches to have the same kind of passion and enthusiasm in greeting their Guests?

That fleeting interaction between a barista and a Guest launched a journey that continues to expand into new territory. It’s only appropriate, though, to come back to Starbucks for new insights and applications for Guest Experiences in ChurchWorld.

One of the best-recognized and admired brands in the world, Starbucks singlehandedly transformed the ordinary delivery of coffee into a cultural phenomenon – a result of the company’s exemplary leadership practices.

Joseph Michelli, author of the bestseller The Starbucks Experience, explains that the international success of Starbucks begins with a promise: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Michelli offers a perspective on the leadership principles that drove the iconic coffee company’s resurgence from serious setbacks during the economic downturn – one of the few turnaround stories of this time. The foundation of the turnaround was a Transformation Agenda (For more about this turnaround, see Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s book Onward; you can read some excerpts from it in a series of posts beginning here).

Here’s a list of Starbucks’ Transformation Agenda in seven bold moves:

  1. Be the undisputed coffee authority
  2. Engage and inspire our partner
  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 the leader in ethical sourcing and environmental impact
  6. Create innovative growth platforms worthy of our coffee
  7. Deliver a sustainable economic model

Those seven moves resulted in 13 consecutive quarters of global comparable store sales growth greater than 5%. Today, there are over 200,000 people serving more than 60 million weekly customers who frequent more than 18,000 stores in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Starbucks had positioned itself for enduring profitability and brand respect.

For his latest book Leading the Starbucks Way, author Michelli conducted over two years of research, with uninhibited access to leaders and partners at all levels of the company. More than 500 hours of interviews and research produced the following five leadership principles:

  1. Savor and elevate
  2. Love to be loved
  3. Reach for common ground
  4. Mobilize the connection
  5. Cherish and challenge your legacy

In this series of posts focusing on these five principles, I want to encourage you to accompany Michelli as he asks questions like these – but translated for ChurchWorld application:

  • How do leaders at Starbucks strategically and tactically steward the company’s products and people to build customer engagement, loyalty, advocacy, and even brand love?
  • How to these leaders model and inspire excellence in product delivery, the creation of moments of authentic service, and enterprise-wide appreciation for the importance of shareholder value, and a contagious demonstration of social conscience?
  • How do Starbucks partners expand relationships beyond the café environment?
  • How does Starbucks leverage technology to enhance customer experiences?
  • What does Starbucks do to customize offerings to address local desires around the globe?

As a ChurchWorld leader, I hope you realize that by changing just a few words in the questions above, you will have an excellent guide for your own journey of discovery.

Part 1 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Print