Starbucks has almost become a synonym of coffee. Howard Schultz not only built an admirable company but also paved the ground for coffee culture inspired by timeless values. Each alphabet of the word STARBUCKS mean a great deal to Howard Schultz, the visionary entrepreneur, who built the organization from scratch. Through his Successful book “Onward” and in the Spirit of sharing Knowledge he tells us a Unique story of Coffee Brand in his own words involving Tenacity, Resilience, and Accomplishment.
S – Success
- If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures, and when many of us at Starbucks became swept up in the company’s success, it had unintended effects. We ignored, or maybe we just failed to notice, shortcomings.
T – Tenacity
- I believed that Starbucks had an enormous potential to return to greatness, that the company had yet to be as good as it was going to be. I believed in the power of the brand, in our founding mission, and most of all, in our people.
A – Accomplishment
- I’ve come to think that I am at my best as a leader when Starbucks is being challenged or fighting for survival. I’m comfortable with, and in a way, enjoy the rugged, steep ascent. That is my nature. And while I would not want to constantly battle against the odds, the raw feeling of accomplishing something that others did not think possible, or leading people beyond where they thought they could go, is extremely gratifying.
R – Resilience
- One reason I believed that the Starbucks brand would be resilient was because our founding values still resonated, perhaps now more than ever as anxiety and distrust seeped into the popular zeitgeist, and not just in the United States. In addition to our values, Starbucks’ core product would also continue to be relevant. Coffee will never lose its romance. It will always bring people together and be part of conversations in every language, even as the conversations change. Coffee will forever connect.
B – Brand
- Our ongoing challenge is to creatively nurture coffee’s essence, keeping it personal despite our size. I do not want Starbucks to be defined solely by its thousands of stores or millions of customers. More than our scale, the brand can and should be defined by the quality of its coffee as well as its value. Community. Connection. Respect. Dignity. Humor. Humanity. Accountability. It is our mission to make sure the world sees us through those lenses.
U – Uniqueness
- Unlike other retailers that sold coffee, the equity of Starbucks’ brand was steeped in the unique experience customers have from the moment they walk into a store. The aroma. The sense of community. The familial relationships customers establish with their local baristas. And the pride they feel knowing that their purchases support our high standards and socially responsible partners. Reinvigorating the Starbucks Experience could provide the meaningful differentiation that would separate us from competitors.
C – Coffee
- Roasting coffee beans is a delicate process requiring a thoughtful, exacting balancing act of time and temperature. Any coffee producer that truly cares about quality has a toasting philosophy, and at Starbucks our philosophy is to roast every bean to its peak of flavor in a manner that extracts its maximum potential. This means Starbucks roasts beans for longer than most commercial roasters for a so-called Full City roasts that pulls out the beans’ honest richness, flavor, and acidity, or brightness. Our professional roasters are constantly refining our roasting process. Over the years, they have customized our machines and developed proprietary software to help control and replicate their techniques. We take tremendous pride in knowing that no one in the coffee business has more control over the roasting process than Starbucks. Like roasting, blending specialty coffee is also an art form, and our blenders’ culinary talents are akin to those of master chefs. Most coffee companies mix different types of beans together as a way to mask inferior coffee, but Starbucks has always used blending as an opportunity to elevate coffees from parts of the world. Sometimes, in order to capture each bean’s peak flavor, we won’t even roast different beans together; only after roasting do we combine them. And when beans from multiple regions are blended just right, they create a unique symphony of flavor that does not exist by itself.
K – Knowledge
- Entrepreneurs are builders, and the lens through which I view Starbucks and the marketplace is somewhat different from what it would be if I were a professionally schooled manager. Such a lens has, however, its strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, founders know every brick in the foundation. We know what inspired the company and what was required to create it. That knowledge, that history brings with it a high level of passion to do whatever it takes to succeed, as well as intuition about what is right and what is wrong. But sometimes we are too close to a situation. Entrepreneurs can be blinded by emotion, by our love of what we have built, unable to see it fresh and with the eyes of a more objective outside.
S – Spirit
- If the barista only goes through the motions, if he or she does not care and produces an inferior espresso that is too weak or too bitter, then Starbucks has lost the essence of what we set out to do 40 years ago: inspire the human spirit.
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Hiring professionals often wonder what type of people to hire or promote in the sales department. Hiring a wrong person can not only be costly for the organisation but also demotivating to some people. Well, knowing a bit of psychology may help.
In the early 1920s Carl Gustav Jung, the father of Analytical Psychology, who studied people’s personality made a distinction between introverts and extroverts. According to this broad classification, extroverts draw energy externally, and introverts extract it from within. Companies who capitalized on this theory have used concepts such as open-plan offices, recharge areas and “group work”. They cater for and increase the productivity of both personality types. Lying in between the two ends of the spectrum, extrovert and introvert, is a broad range of personality types. They are collectively called ambivert, a word coined by a psychologist named Hans Eysenck in 1947. Truth of the matter is that a vast majority of people are ambiverts who fall somewhere along this continuum. Ever since its introduction, this word has entered into the lexicon of the psychiatrists and psychologists and has gained immense popularity.
Ambiverts, the in-betweeners
An ambivert who falls smack in the middle make the most excellent salespeople. To that end, to an extent, all salespeople are ambiverts by nature. A true ambivert doesn’t incline too much in either direction. Because they are neither extrovert nor introvert, they can easily adjust their approach to different types of people depending on the circumstances, allowing them to connect most effectively. Perhaps the back-slapping salesperson in yonder years although appearing to be an extrovert may have truly been an ambivert and became successful by knowing when to lean toward which side of the personality spectrum. Superior salespeople who are serious about improving their performance consciously try to gain insights about their tendencies and preferences and match their approach to the situation.
Advantages of being ambiverts
The personality traits of those people on either end of the spectrum remain stable throughout their lives. Extroverts tend to stay extroverts with a domineering attitude and introverts are inclined to stay calm and hypersensitive for most of their lives. It is hard, if not impossible, to change their personality traits naturally. There are no absolute right or wrong personality types. But so-called born salespeople project a façade of extroversion when meeting with new clients and turn to being introverts in times of introspection. This temperament is what is known as ambiversion. It is this adaptive nature that stands in good stead with sales people.
Salespeople inherently being ambiverts have some professional advantages over extrovert or introvert types. Have a look at some of their behavioural patterns.
- More balanced, or nuanced personalities and wear many hats at work
- Move between being solitary at home or being social at work or vice versa
- Loves the stimulation that comes from teamwork as equally as private work
- Speak up and listen carefully with ease while working with people
- Have a right balance of contrasting skills making them dynamic salespeople
- Connect with a wider range of individuals because of their adaptability
- Are flexible to adapt to any social situations and formal settings
- Nimble making the right amount of hem efficient salespeople for prospecting new clients
- Find it annoying to be an introvert for too long and hence love outdoor sales
- Do get burnt out when stuck being an extrovert out of necessity
- Don’t allow their emotional side to get too carried away and tend to hide it
- Make robust salespeople who can handle rejection from clients with poise
Anyone can become a salesperson
A pure extrovert or introvert is in the minority, and a vast majority of people belong to the wider range of the spectrum, in other words, are ambiverts. That being the case almost anyone has the potential to work in sales. However, to excel in the sales career, it is important to understand one’s real personality and to assess which side of the spectrum the character traits lean. Such self-awareness can be beneficial. A good salesperson is someone who exhibits qualities of both extroversion and introversion. If one’s job is congruent with this temperament, it unleashes vast stores of energy and creates stellar sales performance. The ambiversion nature in a salesperson has enough introversion and the right amount of extroversion in them that they are comfortable in both the situations and find them both satisfying and rewarding.
Ambiverts are better at closing deals
For some reason, there is a belief that extroverts make good sales leaders. Adam Grant, the associate professor at Wharton School, has proved them wrong based on 35 separate studies. According to the studies, there was no statistical relationship between extroversion and income. In fact, ambiversion turned out to be the most proper attitude of high-performing salespeople. Interestingly A-achievers belong to this category too. Sales career requires professionals to be working with different kinds of clients under different circumstances. If a seller efficiently leverages the ambiversion temperament they can be assertive as well as empathetic enough, both at the same time in good measure, to persuade clients to close deals effectively without coming across as too pushy.
Are you an ambivert?
Many personality tests such as Jung typology, Myers-Briggs, Big 5, etc. can be utilized by hiring managers to gauge the personality of the shortlisted job candidates. Although each human being is complex more often there is a natural tendency for people to fall in one or the other types. Sales people who would like to obtain a good grasp of their selves to manage their interaction with potential clients better can also use these tests. It sure can lead to higher sales performance and brighter career prospects.
To learn more about becoming an SMEI Certified Sales Professional, please visit our website.
Objection #1: I plan to wait until fall
- I understand that you need more time to think. What are your reasons for and your reasons against buying now?
- We very rarely hear that. Why would you delay making this important decision?
- Perhaps, I can help. I am aware that this is an important decision for you. What do you think you will gain if you buy in the fall, and what are you going to lose by waiting?
- Are you saying that you wouldn’t be able to use the product right now? No. They why wait until fall? Why not start benefiting today?
- What will change then? Probably nothing. Your need might even be greater. If we can solve your problems today, why delay?
- What will change then? Probably nothing, except our prices might be higher. Why not buy today, and take advantage of the low price?
- You impress me as a very proactive businessperson. You make bigger decisions than this every day. Why are you hesitating now?
- You remind me of Mr. ____ in ____. He planned to wait several more months before buying our equipment. Unfortunately, his company didn’t have the luxury of waiting. During those months, they lost their competitive edge. The competition had new machinery and they didn’t. They lost a lot of business. I would hate to see anything like that happen to you. Why not buy today and get ahead of the competition?
- If your kid needed medical care, would you put it off? Of course, not! Well, why delay on this purchase decision? Aren’t we in a similar position? Your company needs this machinery very badly. Let’s get it in place now, so that you correct this productivity problem now.
- Are you in the habit of putting off important decisions? Isn’t it time you broke that habit?
- Do you promise me you will definitely buy in the fall? Good! I will call you in the middle of the summer so that we can set it up!
- You will buy in the fall? So, what you are telling me is that you definitely want it, right? Well, let’s fill out the paperwork today. We can arrange to have it shipped to you this fall, okay?
- You want to wait until this fall? Is it just a matter of money? If that is all it is, we can arrange to have it shipped today, and we won’t start billing you until this fall. Okay?
Objection #2 We tried something like it, but it didn’t work
- What happened? (Get specific information on the customer’s complaints about the other product. The show specifically how your product is different.)
- Our product has been on the market for five years. That other product was new and untested. You won’t have to worry about our product’s reliability. We guarantee it unconditionally!
- (Prospect’s name), have you ever eaten fast food that didn’t agree with you? One that gave you indigestion? We all have. Yet, you didn’t give up eating just because that one meal upset you. You said you’ve tried something that didn’t work. I respect your experience, but please, do not compare your five-star meal with fast food!
- I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I know how you feel. I have disappointed myself with many purchases. I can assure you that what we’re offering is as different as night and day from that other product. We guarantee it. Let me explain exactly how we are different.
- Let me show you these letters from satisfied customers. See for yourself how we go about producing and backing up what we make. Did you ever see letters of praise like this for that other product?
- Was it really the product that didn’t work or was it the service you didn’t get? We are known for having the best service in the industry. Isn’t that important to you?
- That’s unfortunate and I can understand how you feel. Do you really think that this single experience will prevent you from looking at new and better opportunities?
- We have all been hurt at some time, haven’t we? I am sure you have been hurt in love, right? Has that turned you off to all relationships? I hope not. I respect the fact that you have been hurt. I promise you that will not happen here. We take outstanding care of our customers.
- Are we comparing apples with apples or apples with oranges? Please do not compare us with that other company! We are totally different. May I show you how we differ, and the many benefits we offer you?
- Our product may look similar on the surface to ____’s product, but is only a superficial resemblance. I am sure you have heard that saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” right? Well, it is really true in this case! Can I open the book and show you the ways in which we are different and far superior?
- We are really the Rolls Royce of the industry. Is it really fair to compare us to a Hyundai? Can I tell you more about what makes us the Rolls Royce?
- How would you feel if your company’s products were compared to the worst products in your industry? Well, that is exactly the position you have just put me in. What would you do if you were in my position? May I please give you some information as to why we are far, far superior to that other company?
- When did you try it? You know, great strides have been made in our industry since then! The products we offer today are light years ahead of what you experienced back then! Why not take a new look at what is available today?
- You know, comparing our products today with what that other company offered back then is like comparing a Model T with a Ferrari! Is that really a fair comparison? Don’t you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at what is available and how it can benefit your company?
- You know, comparing our products today with what that other company offered back then is like comparing a 1990 computer with a 2017 computer. Today’s computers are much more powerful, aren’t they? And, they cost less! We are in exactly the same position! Our products are far superior to what you experienced in the past, and they cost less money! Don’t you owe it to your company to take a closer look at what today’s technology offers?
Objection #3 Your competitor’s product is better
- You’re kidding? (Act surprised.)
- Better in what way? (Have customer list features he/she likes in the other product; then show how yours has the same or better features.)
- I’d be interested in hearing your unbiased opinion on the two products.
- Obviously, you’ve had a chance to look at their product. What did you see that impressed you?
- Are you referring to quality, service, features, or the value of the product after five years of use?
- Everyone has a unique way of presenting their product. We let the product speak for itself. I’m positive that you will quickly see that there is a difference between promotional promises and actual facts. Can I tell you what some of those differences are?
- I would agree that there are some differences in design; however, what counts in the future is the quality of the service. What advantage is there in having a slightly better figure on the spec sheet when you need same-day service – and they won’t give it to you? We will guarantee you same-day service. How much is that worth to you?
- Will all the features you see in our competitor’s product, there is one they can never have: our commitment to service. We have more units in operations, more highly trained service engineers, and a better response record than anybody in the industry.
- I’m amazed that you would say that. We have a reputation as the best in the industry. What, specifically, do you think is better in my competitor’s product?
- Our competitor’s product appears to be better? Appearances can be deceiving. Let’s take a look beneath the surface to see what you are really getting. Okay?
- Who told you that? Have you talked to people who own the two products, or have you only been listening to advertising? I am sure that if you talk to owners, you will find that our product is far better respected than our competitor’s
- Some of our happiest customers are people who used to own that other company’s product! Here, let me give you some phone numbers. Call them up. Let me tell you why are product is so far superior to the competitor’s product!
- Better compared to what? All of their major design features are “borrowed” from us. That’s merely a copycat product. (State with disdain.) Our technology is two years ahead of theirs. Shouldn’t you take a closer look at what we are offering?
- It is true they may have some features we don’t have. But please look at the price difference. Their product costs much more up front and their service calls are twice as expensive as ours. Over the course of five years, you could pay twice as much for their product as compared to ours. And they both do the same job! Why not do your company a favor and same it some hard-earned money! You don’t need a gold-plated solution to this problem. Buy our product!
To learn more about earning the right to call yourself a professional, visit our website.
(Adapted from the book “Sales Scripts That Close Every Deal” by Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and Publisher of Selling Power)
Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, once said that when he asked employees to tell him something about their jobs they inevitably began by telling him about their boss. “If I only know how to manage the boss.” Therefore, he dedicated an entire chapter named, “Managing the Boss” in his famous academic book called “Management.”
Drucker reckons that managing the boss is both an opportunity and a responsibility and outlines seven specific strategies to success:
- Make a “boss list.”
- Asking each for his or her input, and giving each your input
- Enabling them to perform
- Playing to the manager’s strengths
- Keeping managers informed
- Protecting bosses from surprises
- Never underrating bosses
We outline here seven more:
When you accept a task, your boss expects and relies on you to get the job done. If you are serious about impressing your boss, you better get it done as if your life depended on it. Never promise anything to your boss if you are not confident of doing the job. When the boss sees you as a person who keeps promises on a consistent basis, it is much easier to be in friendly terms. And your credibility as a person would rise a few notches up.
Bosses need cooperation and honesty from their direct reports. Subordinates, on the other hand, require managers to set priorities and make critical resources available promptly to conduct the work efficiently. Smoother the operation, better the relationship between the worker and the boss. It requires the employee to understand the personality traits, communication preferences, and subtle nuances of the bosses and adapt their working style accordingly. Because, after all, success in the workplace depends on your adaptability. The boss needs you as much as you need him/her. Hence establish a working relationship that is compatible to both of you.
If the boss is not aware of certain trends in the market that could derail your plan it is better to disclose that at an early stage so that nothing comes as a surprise. Moreover, the boss may be able to put measures in place that can mitigate risks and help you get on with your assignment without any disruption. Any manager would appreciate a trend-spotter in the organization. In fact, it is an essential skill of a competent employee. It is also a commendable trait to have a conversation about the potential challenges you could face in carrying out your project due to the upcoming trends. Agree on a plan of action and provide periodic updates.
Even if you think you have the permission to be casual with your boss do not go overboard in your friendliness. Keep a professional distance that is acceptable to both of you taking into consideration the company culture and the norms of the workplace. Your professionalism will also stand you in good stead when your boss does your annual appraisal or when considering promotions within or between departments. Developing a professional relationship can earn you your boss’s respect and admiration and will also set a good example for new recruits and junior employees. If you think things are not going well, handle it in a professional manner rather than let your emotions take control.
Bosses can be under immense pressure and may falter in performing the necessary managerial roles. It can have an unintended adverse effect on your job performance. Try to find out the reasons and politely discuss this with your boss but never confront because confrontation can deteriorate the relationship. It is feasible to manage the challenges with an open discussion and debate successfully. If needed, include a trusted HR personnel or a departmental colleague who can assist you in augmenting your arguments. That way you can have an eye witness to the discussion that happened between you and your boss.
Send your messages across to the boss using the right strategies. When you have an important point to stress that can benefit the whole company and have a positive impact on the bottom line try to demonstrate the highlights using either a spreadsheet or a visual demo. Remember most people are visuals. Zero in on what matters to the boss the most. Then hone in and use your persuasive skills. It is especially useful if your ideas and concepts are innovative and novel. You may be asked to repeat the demonstration during the staff meeting for everyone to see. It is often a good sign as it shows that you have got your boss’ attention.
Leave your boss
You may reach a point where you have tried all the strategies mentioned above, and none sufficed. Well, time to quit. A vast majority of workers leave jobs because of an unmanageable boss. It is better to look for greener pastures than to be stuck in a rut. Employees spend a good portion of the waking hours at the workplace. If an unhappy boss is making the workplace toxic, you should do yourself a favor and get out of the negative atmosphere. An ideal situation would be to find another job before you leave so that you do not have to feel the pressure of mounting bills. If you have an approachable colleague, who can understand you, feel free to discuss the matter with him/her.
We have come a long way from the time Peter Drucker outlined the seven strategies on how to manage the boss. Although all of them are still relevant, the organizational dynamics and employee roles have changed slightly and required additional tactics. Moreover, the rise of technology-based jobs and the entrance of Millennials into the job market have added to the complexity of the dynamics.
Hire for potential, retain through training, and charge with autonomy
HR executives recruit candidates based on the accomplishments they see on their resumes. And they fail so miserably because it relies on the flawed assumption that people who have done well in the past would do equally well or better in the future. Accomplishments are previous results. On the other hand, candidates who have been hired without any accomplishments but purely because the CEO or the top management believed in him or her, have proven to succeed so spectacularly. Why? The answer is potential.
Potential is the ability to adapt to increasingly complex roles and environments. After hiring the high potentials, continuously keep them in a stimulating environment under which they thrive through leadership programs. Also, give them decision-making autonomy in their respective areas of leadership. So, the human resources professionals need a complete retraining that will offer an extraordinary opportunity for the company to exploit the human assets. The new skills they require are the following:
- Hiring: How to spot potential
- Retaining: Develop effective leadership-developing programs
- Charging: Help the best get better by giving them autonomy
Let us examine them one by one.
Candidates must have not only the right skills but also the potential to learn new ones. Competency-based appointments are increasingly becoming insufficient. That is because what makes someone successful today in a particular role under certain circumstances might not tomorrow because of the ever-changing competitive environment, the dynamic company strategy and the need to manage and work with a different group of colleagues. What is required is the potential of the candidate to fit into future roles. Unfortunately, a candidate’s potential is much harder to discern than competence. Consider Egon Zehnder who developed and refined an empirically validated model over two decades with a predictive accuracy of 85%. In conclusion, this model predicts potential based on five indicators:
- Motivation: pursuit of challenging goals
- Curiosity: explore new ideas and avenues
- Insight: see connections where others do not
- Engagement: with their work and colleagues
- Determination: overcome setbacks and obstacles
Perhaps the CEOs who took a leap of faith and hired a candidate who did not have any past accomplishments to show for must have subconsciously seen all the above qualities in him or her. They were competent people with potential. Sadly, most organizations have HR professionals who kill off good candidates and endorse bad ones. The best interviewers’ assessments and the right kind of hiring can vastly improve the odds.
So, of what are high potentials made?
The superior level of performance of high potentials is consistent in a variety of circumstances and settings. Moreover, they have a high propensity to grow and succeed faster and more efficiently than their co-workers. They are three distinct qualities in high-achievers. They are broadly categorized as performance, behavior, and X-factors as illustrated in the table below.
|Deliver results strongly – credibly
||Recognize that action counts
||A drive to excel
|Master new types of expertise
||Exhibit behavior that reflects the culture of their companies
||A catalytic learning capability
|Perform with distinction with a broad range of stakeholders
||Demonstrate company values in an exemplary manner
||An enterprising spirit
|Competence not at the expense of someone else
||Be a role model and teacher
After hiring the real high potentials, focus on keeping them not only because of the tendency to fall off voluntarily but also because the talent market is very tight. Make sure that the candidates live up to the high potential spotted in them by offering them future leadership assignments. Companies have targeted leadership development opportunities, job rotations, stretch assignments, and executive programs designed to nurture high-achieving individuals. They push their high-achievers up a straight ladder toward bigger budgets, bigger jobs, and a larger team. These measures have managed to continue their growth but not unleash their ultimate potential. According to a research 40% of internal job moves by “high potentials” have failed because of the following flawed assumptions of senior managers.
- Assumed that high potentials are highly engaged
- Equated current high performance with future potential
- Delegated down the management of top talent
- Shielded rising stars from early derailment
- Expected star employees to share the pain
- Failed to link the stars to corporate strategy
A disciplined approach is needed. Leadership development initiatives should reflect the needs of the rising stars and align with organizational goals. Make sure that the job rotations and relevant stretch assignments they are getting suit their temperaments and aptitudes.
Hiring for potentials and providing them with the proper training is not the end of it. Keeping them in the company without the competitors luring them away is another challenge. There are some proven strategies that management can adopt to keep the top potentials who have attended the leadership program engaged, motivated and driven. They need to reinforce and explicitly express that the “high potential” title is not only an acknowledgment of past accomplishment but also of future potential. Also, give them autonomy in the following four “T” dimensions: Task, Time, Team, Technique
We cannot predict the competencies and skills needed to succeed in the future because of the dynamic nature of geopolitics, business environment, competitive landscape and the tight talent market. It is, therefore, imperative to hire and nurture people with the highest potential and not just those who have proved their abilities in the past. That doesn’t mean forgetting factors like intelligence, experience, specific competencies, performance, and leadership skills. But the implication is that companies should hire competent people with potential. Recognize their competence and potential by enrolling them in an executive development program. And finally, cultivate a sense of ownership in them by giving them autonomy in the decision-making. Thus, hiring for potential, retaining them at every level of the organization, and charging them by giving them independence are the key success factors of the most admired companies in the world.