One of the few national companies that has made a name for themselves as being a stellar place to work is the very well known Starbucks. (And yes, I love my local coffee shop as much as the next person, but you have to admit they make a great brew.) And having read the Corner Office from the New York Times October 10th issue I can see why. In this interview Howard Schultz, the chairman, president and chief executive of Starbucks makes some brilliant remarks, these being my fave:
“It was my experience growing up in Brooklyn, where my dreams were beyond my station in life, and I wanted build a different kind of company that perhaps my father never got a chance to work for. It came from seeing firsthand that if you were not a highly educated or a very successful person – that perhaps as a blue-collar work or lower-middle-class person, as my parents were – that the work environment didn’t treat you with a level of respect.”
“People have come to me over the years and said to me: ‘I admire the culture of Starbucks. Can you come give a speech and help us turn our culture around?” I wish it were that easy. Turning around a culture is very difficult to do because it’s based on a series of many, many decisions.'”
“The discipline that I believe so strongly in is H.R. and it’s typically the last discipline that gets funded…more often than not, the head of H.R. does not have a seat at the table. Big mistake.”
Howard gets it. He gets that everyone should have the opportunity to work in a place where they’re respected. He understands that a culture is built over time, day to day, through interactions and choices. And he appreciates H.R. , he values the critical contribution that they bring to the table – the ever important people piece.