It’s Not About The Coffee

“We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.”

During his many years as a senior executive at Starbucks, Howard Behar helped establish the Starbucks culture, which stresses the importance of people over profits. He coached hundreds of leaders at every level and helped the company grow into a world-renowned brand. Now he reveals the ten principles and the memorable wisdom that guided his leadership and success—and not one of them is about coffee.

Behar starts with the idea that if you regard employees and customers as human beings, everything else will take care of itself. If you engage your staff as partners (not assets or labor costs), they will achieve results beyond what is thought possible. And if you think of your customers and communities as “the people you serve” (not sources of revenue), you’ll make a deep connection with them, and they'll come back over and over.

This people-centered approach has been integral to Starbucks from the start, and remains so today. Behar shares inside stories of turning points in the company's history, as it fought to hang on to this culture while growing exponentially. He discusses the importance of knowing who you are, building trust, facing challenges, listening for the truth, taking responsibility, saying yes, and daring to dream.

These principles, literally brewed into the way Starbucks works, makes decisions, confronts problems, and creates opportunities for the future, are trusted guardrails that anyone can use to lead themselves and lead others. Behar believes that as work becomes less hierarchical, and as the world economy becomes more and more about relationships and connecting, the principles of personal leadership are more important than ever. This book will show you the way.