Lewis Green on Taking Measure of a Boss

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Great post by Lewis green over at BizSolutionsPlus on how great leadership can build great brands. Here's a taste:

You can tell a lot about leadership by studying how leaders live their lives outside their work. Whether President of the United States or Starbucks or L&G Business Solutions, we can take the measure of a boss not only by evaluating their principles and how they lead at work, but perhaps more so by how they behave when they are away from the office.

Let's take a look at one such leader: Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO, Starbucks.
Schultz reinvented Starbucks after he purchased the company from its original owners in 1987. Initially, he joined Starbucks in 1982, which was then a small Seattle retailer with five stores. He bought Starbucks in 1987, bringing a new vision that was to be built upon a solid foundation of Guiding Principles, which became the following.
The following six guiding principles will help us measure the appropriateness of our decisions:

1. Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.

2. Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.

3. Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.

4. Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.

5. Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.

6. Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.

Ultimately, these Principles alongside passionate leaders and employees grew the business beyond anyone's imagination. By 1997, Starbucks boasted 1,300 stores, 25,000 employees, and an international brand that rivaled all others. This month, Starbucks Market Capitalization stands at a lofty $14.5 billion.

However, Starbucks faces several serious challenges, as its brand image seems in decline. For all practical intents and purposes, Schultz left the day-to-day operations at Starbucks to others nearly a decade ago.

Schultz recently, as Michael Dell did last year, returned and jammed both his thumbs into the dikes to stem the obvious leaks that have occurred, leading to a decline in the Third Place Experience and a perceived reduction in product quality. One wonders if this is the same Howard Schultz, however, that as a young entrepreneur surprised everyone by his success.

The young Schultz refused to take a salary for several years after buying the company. He insisted on ethical behavior from all. He surrounded himself with smart people. He motivated and inspired everyone he touched. His passion was contagious. And he could be trusted and relied upon in every conceivable way.

Read the rest of the post here.

We can all agree that poor leadership can kill great companies, and inspired leadership can turn small companies into extraordinary powerhouses. How does your boss fare as a leader? Where is he/she taking your organization? If you're a boss, take a step back and be honest with yourself. Are there things you could do better? What are they? What are you doing TODAY, this week, this month to take them off your "I'm not super good at this" list?

As a business, department or project leader, how are you REALLY impacting the brand(s) you serve? If you don't know or can't be objective about it, you might want to ask for your peers' input. Ask them to anonymously tell you one thing you do extremely well, and the one thing they think you should get better at right now.

What's most impressive about this whole Schultz thing is learning that he refused to take a salary his frst few years on the job. How many CEOs today would do the same thing?

Integrity is a pretty powerful thing.

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