I had a chance to attend the Los Angeles leg of Howard Schultz’s national book tour launching Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul. I’m a big admirer of Schultz’s leadership style and corporate vision. No executive is better at communicating core values and articulating the importance of balancing profit motive and purpose motive. Whenever I hear him speak — and this was no exception — I’m struck by his authenticity and conviction. You can tell that he leads with his truth and believes in his company’s values.
That said, I know he is a brand control freak so it must have just killed him that the event producers served Peet’s Coffee during the pre-event reception. Yes, that’s right. They hosted Howard Schultz with Peet’s Coffee.
Everyone was whispering about it. Not sure who should have caught that minor detail, except for everyone working on the event in any capacity! I even overheard a member of the security team joking about it with an usher while people were filing into the auditorium.
Someone asked Schultz about the oversight during the Q&A session, and he said exactly what I was expecting, “When I saw that they were serving Peet’s Coffee, I almost turned around and left.”
I’m so glad he stuck around for the interview. You can hear a few of his remarks posted at the Drucker Business Forum. Stay tuned for more details next time!
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