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The Starbucks rule: You’re the driver

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Earlier this year, Howard Schultz, top dog at coffeehouse megachain Starbucks, sent a memo to his executives warning that the company’s growth had moved it too far from its core business: coffee. While sticking to his goal of 40,000 Starbucks locations worldwide (now about 13,000), Schultz cautioned that having too many high-margin frills—from stuffed animals to mints—risks distracting and losing customers.

It wasn’t an angry memo, one board member noted. The tone of the letter was “concerned.” Schultz often writes impassioned letters to Starbucks executives.

“You’ve got to understand Howard, and Howard’s role in the organization,” the board member said. “Howard’s role is part accelerator and part brake.”

Bottom line: You’re at the wheel. Don’t stray too far from your core business.

—Adapted from “Starbucks Stirred to Refocus on Coffee,” Janet Adamy, The Wall Street Journal.

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