How to Scale Impact: Lessons from Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz

Lesson #1: It’s not all about profit

“I think I’ve always been sensitized to people living on the other side of the tracks, and as Starbucks evolved, I think I was trying to build the kind of company my father never got a chance to work for. A company that would try and balance profit with conscience.”

—Howard Schultz

Lesson #2: The smartest investment is your team

“I want to invest in our people and I think I will be able to prove that we will lower attrition, raise performance, but most importantly create the kind of company in which people feel part of something larger than themselves.”

—Howard Schultz, remembering a conversation with his investors when he proposed health benefits and equity for Starbucks’ first 100 employees, before the company turned a profit.

Lesson #3: Don’t underestimate the power of human interaction

“Starbucks will do between $23 and $25 billion in revenue this year, but our average sale is $5. So just think about that, we’re in the pennies and small dollar business, so in order to do that much revenue, we’re totally dependent on human behavior…We’re seeing it through a different lens, not only in terms of the coffee innovation and store design, but mostly what can we do from a people perspective?”

—Howard Schultz

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