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Howard Schultz Transformation Agenda Communication #10


Last week in Seattle, we held a global summit of Starbucks top leaders. It was a remarkable experience that will have a lasting and significant impact for a long time to come. We convened approximately 200 senior members representing our regions, Asia Pacific, Canada, EMEA, Latin America, greater China, and the U.S., in an unprecedented gathering. It was an intense, exciting and productive three days for the leadership of the company. We had a singular purpose to explore, imagine, and then commit to the future of Starbucks. Our objective was to build on the transformation work that has already begun and chart a new course for the future of our company.

I can’t recall any meeting (in our history) that had this level of strategic importance. It was a provocative and productive three days filled with lots of good discussion, debate, and agreement and I am proud to report to you that the leadership of the company demonstrated bold and courageous thinking, while embracing (every step of the way), the culture, values and guiding principles that have been at the foundation of our company. It reaffirmed my belief that as we go forward, Starbucks will be an even stronger company than it is today. Our conversations centered around the following points:

· Our Case for Greatness. We started with a discussion about the need for great companies and great icons to challenge themselves -- indeed, the mark of enduringly great companies is that they challenge themselves to never accept the status quo. As leaders of Starbucks, we believe it’s our responsibility to focus and fuel the success of our partners -- because when we do, we do right by our customers.

· Our Aspiration. Indeed, among the fundamental things our top leaders agreed on was our aspiration -- to create one of the world’s most recognized and loved brands, known for inspiring and nurturing the human spirit. The focus of the meeting was how we should go about doing that.

· Seven Bold Moves. I’ve talked a lot about the goals of the transformation -- how we’re going to turn-around the U.S. business, how we’re going to reignite our emotional attachment with customers, and how we’re going to create foundational change for the long term. We used the three days of our meeting to work out how we’re going to do that. What emerged are seven bold moves that we’ll make in the coming weeks, months, and years:

1. Be the undisputed coffee authority

2. Re-engage and inspire our partners

3. Re-ignite our emotional attachment with customers

4. Expand our global presence -- while making each store the heart of the local neighborhood

5. Be a leader in ethical sourcing and environmental impact

6. Create innovative growth platforms worthy of our coffee

7. Deliver a sustainable economic model

We charted actions we’ll take, step by step, for each of these seven bold moves. I think the most important thing to understand at this moment is that these seven form the backbone of our plan. We are now one company with one strategy. And, these seven are going to receive our attention, our investment, and our talent.

· People Are the Outcome of High Expectations. We were all inspired by a presentation from Bill Strickland, who I met more than a decade ago. Then, he was a social entrepreneur in Pittsburgh, who had the audacity to build a training center in one of Pittsburgh’s toughest neighborhoods -- just four blocks from where he grew up. Filled with light, art, jazz, jobs, and hope, his center was producing remarkable results. Boy, what a difference ten years makes! Bill’s ideas have taken flight in nearly a dozen cities around the world, where his centers and his thinking are sparking hope and futures for thousands of youth, most of whom society considers “at risk” or “disadvantaged.” Bill joined us at our three-day meeting, and he countered, “People are born in this world as assets, not liabilities. In the end, we are the product of expectation. Expect a lot, and you create amazing people.”

The meeting closed on an emotional note. We committed to one another to have a laser focus on our customers, to provide all of you with the tools and the resources to succeed, and to measure our actions by the quality of our coffee. I commit to you that I will hold myself to the same standards that I am asking of all of you. I can’t thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do on behalf of Starbucks.


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