The year was 2008. We’d grown from 1,000 stores to 15,000 in 10 years, and, in the process, we’d lost our way.
So Howard Schultz, who had stepped down from day-to-day operations, returned as ceo and began to right the ship. Communication with partners was a key part of his strategy, and it came in the form of memos – lots of them.
Howard’s “Transformation Agenda Communications” offered everyone at the company a window into his thoughts about where we were headed. They committed to a renewed focus on the customer experience. They outlined leadership changes. They signaled the return of regularly scheduled Partner Open Forums. They announced the closure of all U.S. stores for an evening so partners could receive hands-on espresso training.
The memos were clear and honest, a blueprint for the future that we could all get behind. Guided by a new mission statement that reflected the values at our core, we found our soul again – and began to make massive changes to the way we did business.