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April 21, 2008

Remembering Your Roots

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Philosophy

Starbucks: Remembering Your RootsWe've blogged a good bit about Starbucks over the past couple years: their soul, their scent, their steps. Starbucks is such an easy target these days for the work we do at Personality™, and anytime you can use mainstream examples to substantiate your claims, it makes communication that much clearer.

Barbara Kiviat wrote a great profile piece on Howard Schultz in the April 7 issue of Time magazine. The gist of it is Howard's journey back to the heart of who Starbucks really is. "We haven't been as good at telling our story as we once had in the past," says Schultz.

Kiviat rightly concludes that "To Schultz, keeping in touch with the past is key to future success. Remembering who you are is the first step to becoming who you should be." She tells the story of Howard and how he sometimes goes to the original Starbucks at Pike Place in Seattle and lets himself in before the store opens. "He puts his hands on the wooden counter and thinks about how he felt at the beginning, what it was he was trying to do."

Remembering your roots is critical to knowing your personality as an organization. And keeping your roots rooted is critical to staying the course. Perhaps this is why Howard has brought back several people from his original management team. He's also been circulating a memo that he wrote in 1986. "We recognize this is a unique time; when our coffee bars will change the way people will perceive the beverage. It's an adventure and we're in it together." He even signed it the same way he signs memos today. "Onward, Howard."

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