Leading The Starbucks Way – Part 2; Connecting With Trust

starbucksThis month in the Platform Builders Mastermind Group, we are diving into “Leading The Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People” by Joseph A. Michelli.

Sure this book is about Starbucks, but it’s much bigger than that.  Michelli shows why Starbucks has become the coffee bean superpower of the world.  And it has nothing to do with the beans.  I guess that’s not entirely true, but their success is built much more around who is serving rather than what is being served.

I will admit, I have invested my fair share in the Starbucks brand but I never gave a thought as to what goes on behind the grinder, so to speak.  Michelli explores 5 Principles that give Starbucks the advantage over their competition and I for one, will pay much more attention to what is going on behind the counter next time I visit my local Starbucks.

Definitely a great look at what has made Starbucks so successful, but at the same time, the bar has been set very high for them to continue to live up to their reputation.

In this, the second of three posts, I will recap Michelli’s exploration of Principle 2 – Love To Be Loved and Principle 3 – Reach For Common Ground


In a word, this section is about trust.  Both trust of the product and the service and more importantly, consistency in delivering them.  It’s not surprising that there is more content about the people than the product in this book.  That is where the trust is built.

Think about when you have purchased a product that you believed in but received less than stellar service.  You might stick with the product, but if your are like me, you will look elsewhere to get it.

“If you select people with genuine talent for serving others, give them opportunities to become more knowledgeable and passionate about your products, and insist upon product and consumer experience excellence, you are well on the way to gaining the pride and passion of customers.”

While in construction, I often chose service over cost because at the end of the day, I needed someone that would deliver WHEN they say they would and make me feel like I was their most important client.  I realize I probably wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be treated like you are.  Truth be told, I was pretty loyal to those vendors.  Hmmmm!


A deep look into the Starbucks way of connecting with their customers, explains much about the forward motion of the organization.  It’s one thing to communicate with your customer, but are you really connecting?  And I’m not just talking about words.

Starbucks looks at ALL aspects of the environment, the architecture of the store, the neighborhood, the customer base, and the competition.  These all factor into the experience that we have when we enter a Starbucks.

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

There is certainly risk when you bring the human condition into the business model, but then again, if you want to be the best at what you do, you better be willing to risk something to get there.

I don’t want to feel invisible!

This is probably my favorite quote from this section of the book; “The number one request or desire of every human around the world is to be seen and heard.”  (Tweet This)

TODAY’S QUESTION:  How effectively have you sought partnerships while building your business and have you positioned yourself to provide services or products that are relevant to your market?

Click here to read Part 1



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Barry Smith  4/17/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014

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