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• Friday, December 06th, 2013
Sneak Peek: Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey and Howard Schultz

Ask The Strategist has been given an exclusive preview of Oprah  Winfrey’s interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Super Soul Sunday, which airs this Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey sits down with Schultz, who shares the story of his inspiring rise from the housing projects in Brooklyn, New York, to his current role as a successful entrepreneur, global thought leader, and innovator.

Schultz will share the leadership lessons he’s learned while guiding this iconic brand for more than three decades, discussing how an emphasis on ethics, authenticity and a people-before-profit philosophy helped to grow and sustain his multi-billion dollar company.

Reflecting on his #1 New York Times bestseller, “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul,” Schultz recounts the story behind the global coffee company’s comeback in 2008, when he decided to return as the CEO to help restore Starbucks’ core values and mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit – “one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”


Oprah Winfrey with Howard Schultz. Photo Credit © Harpo Studios, Inc./George Burns

Following are three excerpts and video clips of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Howard Schultz on Super Soul Sunday on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

EXCERPT: One of Howard’s Principles: “Don’t Be Threatened By People Smarter Than You”

OPRAH: And I know that you’re guided by your own values and your own set of principles.  There are four that you talk about that I love: Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you. Can you speak to that?

HOWARD: You can’t build any kind of organization if you’re not gonna surround yourself with people who have experience and skill base beyond your own.  Only as if those people have like-minded values.

OPRAH: That is the key to starting anything.

HOWARD: That’s the key.  And I think when you discover perhaps that these people do not have those values, then you have to have a very quick conversation.  And if they don’t demonstrate that kind of behavior, not everyone deserves to be on the team.

OPRAH: Compromise anything but your core values.  That’s what you say.

HOWARD: Short-term success is not going to build long-term value for anyone.  And we live in an age where everything is based on the short term.  And I think what we’re trying to do and what we’ve demonstrated is very –

OPRAH: You had to fight that in your own culture.

HOWARD: We did.

OPRAH: Yeah.

HOWARD: It’s hard to do.

View the video: “Don’t Be Threatened by People Smarter Than You”

EXCERPT: Howard on the Importance of a Leader to be Vulnerable

OPRAH: You say it’s important as a leader –

HOWARD: To be vulnerable.

OPRAH: — to be vulnerable. Where’d you learn that?

HOWARD: Well, when I stood up in front of people and I — I apologized and started crying that first week.

OPRAH: Which is not what CEO’s do.

HOWARD: Especially men. I think we’re taught as men to — you know, but I think vulnerability is transparency.  And what I said earlier is I think the currency of leadership is transparency and you’ve got to be truthful. So I don’t think it’s — I don’t think you should be vulnerable every day.

OPRAH: Right.

HOWARD: But there are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and your conscience with people and show them who you are and not be afraid of it.

View the video: The Importance of a Leader to be Vulnerable

EXCERPT:  Howard finding Starbucks at a “Spiritual Crisis” Upon His Return to the Company in 2008

OPRAH: Would you say that Starbucks was in a spiritual crisis?

HOWARD: Yes, I would.

OPRAH: Mm-hmm.

HOWARD: And I would say that — I would also say that most of the problems we had were self-induced mistakes.  And I stood in front of the entire employee base of the company, our partners, and said — apologized for, as leaders, that we had let them and their families down.  But we were gonna return the company back to its glory days.

OPRAH: Okay.  So in those days where you knew the company — the company had lost its way –


OPRAH: – was in its own spiritual crisis, did you debate whether or not you should jump back in or not?  I know — I know –

HOWARD: First of all, I never planned to come back to Starbucks.  But, again, this is about love.

OPRAH: Because you’d stepped down at CEO.

HOWARD: I did.  This is about love.  This is about passion.  This is about responsibility.  And it’s about leadership.  And there was no second thought whatsoever.  I came back to lead the company back.  But I also needed help from others. And I needed people to believe.  And we started doing things that were quite unorthodox, uncharacteristic of a company that was in trouble, especially during the financial crisis.

View the video: Starbucks Spiritual Crisis

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• Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Dealing with your ‘in the meantime’ malaise

Make good use of your time while climbing that mountain!

It’s pretty hard to focus on the world around us when we are going through a challenging time, including lacking luck in finding a job. Whether it’s a job search, stagnant sales, or any of life’s challenges, we can be heavily burdened by our fear, stress, and uncertainty.

Therefore, I challenge you to alter your way of thinking, embrace the challenge, and be proactive in the meantime. You know, your in the meantime – time spent in your holding pattern until you achieve your goal. So, here are some tips for springing into action, whether you feel like it or not, to endure and thrive during your in the meantime.

1.         Volunteer

If you are looking for a job and having no luck, continue to improve your skill set by identifying volunteer opportunities. You may be involved in your home owner’s association, place of worship, or children’s school lunch volunteer program.

Participate in your high school’s career day, and speak to youth about your career successes and challenges. If the school does not have a career day, start one! You never know if it will lead to a new career opportunity hand delivered to you by a high school alumnus who has an opening at his job that matches your qualifications and interests. Even if it does not, at least you have developed organizational and interpersonal skills planning the career day that you can reflect on your resume.

2.         Improve your community

One of the best ways to shake off the sullenness is to focus on others. Use your energy to help improve your community. Whether hosting a neighborhood watch program with the local police, or encouraging neighbors to participate in a community clean up, your efforts will benefit those around you.

 3.         Educate yourself

Education does not have to be in the form of a four-year degree. You can sign up for a certificate program in your career field, or general interests. Your in the meantime allows for you to participate in a class you never made time to take while you were working, including website design or learning a foreign language. Your leisurely classes can also be an added benefit to your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

4.         Improve yourself

Your in the meantime can lead you to explore ways to improve who you are. There is now time to explore your purpose and connectedness with others. It is a great opportunity to reinstate family dinnertime, reading a book, and building relationships with loved ones.

Developing your In The Meantime Plan

No matter how you choose to make the best of your in the meantime, there are three steps to help you make the best of your decisions: conceptualize, strategize, and implement.

Conceptualize what it is you want to do or pursue, like organize a book drive for the local library or joining a board of directors. What is it you want to do? Is it a benefit to your in the meantime? Next, strategize your approach. Who should you talk to in order to get started? How much time do you want to spend on the in the meantime activity? Finally, implement your plan. It is great to identify positive ways to occupy yourself in the meantime; however, all will be for naught if you do not follow through with your endeavors.

How have you dealt with your in the meantime? Let us know in the comments section.

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• Friday, June 03rd, 2011

Ode to a Peacemaker

We could take a few lessons from The Peacemaker

A treasured mentor and fellow Sorority member passed away last week. She meant many things to many people in Philadelphia. To me, she was an exemplar; someone who had the uncanny ability to always know what to say and how to respond – even in the throes of conflict. For more than 50 years, this Peacemaker dedicated her life and wisdom to bettering the community in which she lived.

The reason I am writing about The Peacemaker on Ask The Strategist is that the lessons she taught me, and indeed, all she touched, are also germane to the principles of business. There are three that should become mainstays:

1. Hold your tongue: Before launching into action, and in the process saying things that may be regretted later, The Peacemaker always quietly reflected on the situation before saying anything. Most often, she did not say anything at all, wisely waiting to gauge the barometer and addressing concerns only when, and if, necessary. In business, we sometimes have a tendency to become defensive, often speaking before assessing the situation, and ultimately say things that may come back to haunt us – with coworkers and clients.

2. Hold others in high esteem: It is so easy to criticize and make suppositions when it comes to others. We may feel that the way they think is wrong, or that they are clueless in their actions. The Peacemaker always held others in high regard, even if she did not agree with them. She saw the best in others. You have undoubtedly heard about Jaheel Robinson, who was fired from his job at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles yesterday, for complaining about customers and his employer via Twitter. He may have benefitted from The Peacemaker’s modus operandi on dealing with others before blasting them on social media sites.

RMV employee fired for Twitter rant : MyFoxBOSTON.com

3. Make Peace, Not War: I have witnessed The Peacemaker step in and create peaceful harmony in the community, when folks were at odds. Reaching out personally to everyone, whether they were involved or not, created such an air of camaraderie and widespread introspection that her actions inevitably led to a peaceable outcome. In the workplace, we can each be a peacemaker and inspire calm during intensive situations. Everyone has a part to play in creating a great environment in which we can work, play, and create.

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