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4 Leadership Tips to Learn from Starbucks

Key leadership principles summarized from best selling book, “It’s Not About The Coffee”, written by Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks Coffee Company International.

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Reed Tan

Chief Strategist

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September 21, 2022

Key leadership tips summarized from best selling book, “It’s Not About The Coffee”, written by Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks.

Key Takeaways

  1. “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.”
  2. “Don’t think you are. Know you are.”
  3. “The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom.”
  4. “Think like a person of action, and act like a person of thought.”

Leadership tip 1: “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.”

Howard Behar believes if you regard employees and customers right, everything else will take care of itself.

If you engage your employees as partners of the business instead of simply treating them as overheads, they will achieve results beyond what is thought possible.

Leadership tip 2: “Don’t think you are. Know you are.”

When everyone truly believe the values, purpose, and goals within the organisation, they find the momentum and passion to do great things.

Leadership tip 3: “The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom.”

The person who is responsible in a certain task should be given authority so they can be accountable for their work.

In short, we need to trust them in their work so they have room to grow and perform even when they make mistakes.

Leadership tip 4: “Think like a person of action, and act like a person of thought.”

“It’s all about the people” is not just an idea, it is about action.

You need to find a balance between thinking it and feeling it, only then you are able to act on it.

Share your leadership tips

What other leadership tips have you learnt throughout your career? I would love to hear what you think.

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