Book Report: Business a Review of "Onward

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[. . .] Schultz has demonstrated that as a leader he was able to assess what was going on in the company, and identify what needed to be done to change. However, the change can be brought about simply with a few hours of retraining. There was a need to identify exactly what had gone wrong, and undertake strategies to prevent the same thing is happening again. A significant issue for Starbucks had been the rate of growth, Schultz states "if not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures, and when many of this Starbucks became swept up in the company's success, it had unintended effects. We ignored, or maybe just failed to notice, shortcomings." (Schultz 39). This is a lesson that can be acknowledged as relevant to not only Starbucks, but are many other organizations. Initial success, and ongoing growth, can result in problems as the small failings were either unnoticed, or ignored with the hope that they will go away. Schultz also notes that the success itself increased pressure, and that the desire to increase sales also created some bad decisions in terms of strategic choices, such as the opening of stores in both locations, and transferring goods coffee shop managers to oversee stores, replacing them with an undertrained barista (Schultz 39). It is these types of issues that resulted in the gradual decline.

When retraining the blisters shops argued that closing the stores for three hours required courage (Schultz 7). Subsequent actions indicate that Schultz had the courage of his convictions, was prepared to make difficult decisions. Several examples may be used, these include the decision to change the way in which quarterly reports were made so that like-for-like stores would not be reported a quarterly basis, a move that was not liked by investors. There was also the removal of the warm breakfast sandwiches, which talks did not believe fitted in with the Starbucks experience. However, a few small changes such as this are unlikely to turn a company around, instead, it is necessary for there to be a clear vision that is well articulated, that would involve embracing change and innovation, in order to return the authenticity, which was embodied in what became the "transformation agenda" (Schultz 104). The aspiration was very ambitious, "to become an enduring, great company with one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world, known for inspiring and nurturing the human spirit." (Schultz 104). This was backed up by the seven big moves including becoming the undisputed coffee authority, engaging in inspiring partners, igniting an emotional attachment with customers, expanding the global presence, becoming a leader in ethical sourcing an environmental impact, creating innovative growth platforms and delivering a sustainable economic model (Schultz 105).

The transformation agenda may be seen as the articulation is a vision, backed up by resources that were needed to win over the employees to support the long-term change. Much of the focus was placed on the U.S., as this was where 70% of the business originated, but the changes needed to take place across the entire company (Schultz 106).

Schultz undertook a great deal of change within the organization, aided by the association and charisma that he had been able to develop or he was first in the position of CEO. His vision and confidence helped gain support, a great deal of the book focuses on positive actions were taken. The values were not only rhetoric, but were practically demonstrated to actions taken by senior management, principally Schultz himself. For example, the increased commitment to ethical coffee sourcing was seen in a trip by Schultz to Rwanda in June 2008 (Schultz 281). However, there is also some acknowledgement of the pain that had to be caused, as any organization with inefficiencies is unlikely to recover nearly by adopting new strategies to improve performance. There is also the necessary move of reducing costs and cutting out deadwood. The ability to make these decisions can be one of the most difficult aspects of leadership, in United States alone 600 stores had to be shut, at a cost of 12,000 jobs (Schultz 151). The issue of timing can also be seen as a part of the way this decision was announced, within hours of being made 5 min after the stock market closed on the East Coast (Schultz 153). The company sent e-mails to the partners (employees) 12 min after the announcement was made, with an attempt of honesty, to help retain the company reputation as well as retain company support for the employees that would be remaining with the company.

Not all of them loose undertaken to have the company turnaround were successful, as seen with the better, where sales were no profit margins were even lower, with a product that has a high level of waste and did not satisfy customer desires for health drinks (Schultz 164). Other strategies implemented, such as the purchase of Clover (Schultz 91), a new type of coffee machine, has such a long-term roll out the benefits has still not be seen. However, some of the strategies which were envisioned have been more successful than expected; the initial move towards developing an instant coffee to be sold through supermarkets was not popular (Schultz 243). The move may have had the potential to undermine the Starbucks brand, and the launch maybe argued is taking courage, Especially Given That News Leaked through Websites Such As Motley Fool, viewed the strategy as erroneous (Schultz 252). However, there were reacting to the idea, and not the product itself. Always adept at winning over public opinion, to a press conference in which the coffee was served without telling those who were drinking it that it was instant coffee (Schultz 253). Winning over the influencers helped to stem some of the criticisms, and in some cases gain positive support.

Overall, the book may be seen as showing clearly that the way in which recovery takes place is a long and drawn-out process, where there is a need for the issues associated with leadership, including a clear vision, commitment to change and the resources needed to make those changes. But it is also a story that shows the importance of attention to detail, knowing your customer, and being able to undertake marketing exercises in an effective manner. The outward symbols of the change were seen in the marketing approaches, these included the transformations of the remaining stores, with new designs and signs, as well as the effective use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook (Schultz 279). In 2009 Starbucks became the number one ranked firm for being the most engaging company on social media (Schultz 279).

The successor Starbucks may be seen as a convergence of all the different factors, with a key element being that of confidence, not the confidence of shorts in himself, or even his confidence in his team, with the way in which confidence could be gained from the many stakeholders. The partners that remained had confidence in the firm and adapted to the changes, the markets became shaky times, but also regained confidence in the firm, and most importantly, the customers won over and not only had confidence in the company's products and experience that they would achieve, the confidence in the associated values which were linked to that experience. Onward, How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, is more than simply the story of a turnaround, it is a book that allows individual to go on a journey with Schultz, appreciating the mistakes that were made and problems faced by the firm, the courage that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Book Report:

APA Format

Business a Review of "Onward.  (2014, February 18).  Retrieved July 20, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Business a Review of "Onward."  18 February 2014.  Web.  20 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Business a Review of "Onward."  February 18, 2014.  Accessed July 20, 2019.