Reputation Turns of the Wheel

January 21, 2010

Reputation Turns of the Wheel


Some reputations rebound. Today’s New York Times describes how Starbucks’ reputation is bouncing back. One of the drivers of that recovery came from its CEO ceding control to employees. In Seattle, employees held brainstorms that surfaced ideas to turn the ailing company around once CEO Howard Schultz told them to just do it! — break the rules and figure it out for yourselves. You have permission. Schultz gave the okay but employees took it on. As the article says, founder Schultz was determined to give its coffee chain ” a dose of the urgency, nimbleness and risk-taking of a start-up company.” Employees took on the risk of failing and the hunger to win. Not easy to do in a tough economic environment like this. What happened? A new Starbucks-owned coffeehouse arose that doesn’t resemble the typical mass produced furniture Starbucks look. Instead it heralds back to the coffeehouses of yore with its own local flavor and style.  I like the big communal table with sockets in the center. The coffeehouse described in the article is 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea and sells microbrew beers, espressos, cheese and baguettes.  A turnaround takes more than baguettes but is clearly in the works.

Good to hear that Schultz is listening to employees and customers who are helping to oil the turnaround gears. As we know, turnarounds take some time so we’ll be hearing more as time goes by.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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