Passion is Everything: My Interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

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“Take your presentations to the next level with Carmine as your coach.” – Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks

I was grateful to receive that endorsement from Howard Schultz for one of my books on leadership and communication. Schultz recently announced that he would step down as CEO of Starbucks. Needless to say, Schultz has reinvented the coffee culture in America by introducing Italian-style cappuccinos and lattes to the U.S market.

When I interviewed Schultz I learned a valuable lesson about inspiration and leadership, a lesson that has had a profound influence on my career, writing and speaking. And that lesson is this:

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a common purpose around a collective passion, anything is possible.”

In my first conversation with Schultz I was astonished that he rarely mentioned the word coffee. I was the first to bring it up.

“We’re not in the coffee business. It is what we sell as a product, but it’s not what we stand for,” he explained.

Starbucks is NOT in the coffee business, which is why it’s successful. You see, Schultz loves coffee, but he’s passionate about the people, the baristas who make the Starbucks experience what it is. Schultz’s vision was much bigger than to make a better cup of coffee. His moonshot was to create an experience; a third place between work and home. He wanted to build a company that treats people with dignity and respect. Those happy employees would, in turn, provide a level of customer service that would be seen as a gold standard in the industry.

Inspiring leaders like Howard Schultz are not afraid to share their passion. Passion is everything. A leader, manager or entrepreneur cannot inspire without it. Dig deep to identify your core value, the area where you want to make a ‘dent in the universe,’ as Steve Jobs once said. And ask yourself a question that Howard Schultz says is the key to success: What business am I really in? 

Carmine Gallo is a popular keynote speaker and communication advisor. Howard Schultz is one of more than 35 business leaders featured in Carmine’s bestselling new book, The Storyteller’s Secret: Why Some Ideas Catch On And Others Don’t. 

An Autograph That Tells A Story

I was thrilled to receive an unexpected gift at my doorstep. A mutual friend had given Dwight Clark, the legendary 49ers football player, a copy of my book, The Storyteller’s Secret. Mr. Clark generously sent me a personalized, signed football.

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The signature itself tells the story of one of the most memorable plays in NFL football history.

On January 10, 1982, the 49ers faced Dallas in the NFC conference championship. Quarterback Joe Montana had led a last minute drive to the Dallas sixth-yard line. Only 58 seconds remained in the game. Dallas had the lead. The winner would go on to the Super Bowl.

In a play that now has its own Wikipedia entry, Montana took the snap and Dallas’ fearsome defensive players were about to tackle him. Montana managed to throw a high pass to the back of the end zone. It looked too long. Dwight Clark made a leaping catch that was captured in a photo for the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The 49ers won the game and went on to win four Super Bowls in the 1980s.

Clark’s signature tells the story. He sketches the actual diagram of the play, writes the date and gives the story a title, “The Catch.”

I often say that “everyone has a story.” Now I can know that signatures can have a story, too!

Carmine Gallo is a popular keynote speaker and bestselling author of eight books including: Talk Like TED and The Storyteller’s Secret, From TED Speakers To Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On And Others Don’t. Sign up for Carmine’s newsletter at carminegallo.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling Rocks at Google

Google organized the world’s information and gave people access to it in a few simple clicks. Today, in the same world it transformed, Google has a challenge. If data is freely available, how does a company stand apart from its competitors?

Meet Avinash Kaushik. His official title is Digital Marketing Evangelist, but internally he’s known as Google’s ‘Chief Storyteller.’ He’s THE most passionate executive I’ve ever met on the topic of storytelling and how it can make massive changes in a company’s business.

“My job is to change the way Googlers tell stories,” Kaushik said during my visit to his Google office in Mountain View, California. Along with a team of 75 people, Kaushik holds “Storytelling Rocks” workshops to spread the gospel of storytelling to 4,000 account leads, sales and marketing professionals who are responsible for billions of dollars in annual revenue.

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“Avinash, when people think of Google, they think of search. They think of data. What role does storytelling play?” I asked.

“Storytelling is a powerful way to get our clients to think differently,” says Kaushik.

Kaushik points out that Google provides an immense amount of data to clients who can use the information to make transformative changes in their business. But a data dump will fail to help customers if they can’t make sense of it. That’s where Kaushik and his storytellers step in. “The size and the scope of the change we drive is so big, that I think it is best done with stories,” says Kaushik.

The Google Storytelling Framework

Kaushik has developed a storytelling framework called: Care-Do-Impact. Like everything at Google, it is carefully measured for its effectiveness. Presenters are even given letter grades on how well they perform each step of the framework.

Step 1: Care. Kaushik recommends that a Google sales or marketing professional spend the first 20% of a presentation explaining the amazing “out-of-sight” that could transform the client’s business. An “insight” is a small piece of information that the client might already know; an “out-of-sight” is knowledge that is exclusive to the company making the presentation, information that can radically change a client’s business.

Step 2: Do. Kaushik suggests that a full 50% of the presentation be spent on helping the client or customer understand what they should do with the information. This step requires account leads to understand the clients’ business in a remarkably deep way. “We’re creating a competitive advantage for Google because we will know more about your business than anyone else who comes to see you,” says Kaushik.

Step 3: Impact. The remaining 20% of the presentation is spent explaining the impact of Google’s ‘out-of-sight’ on the customer’s future success. Kaushik leaves room in the presentation (10% of time) for the speaker to be interrupted with questions.

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According to Kaushik, this framework represents a fundamental shift in presenting data. Where many companies overwhelm customers and prospects with mountains of data, a Google pitch must give equal weight to the data and how it will impact the company’s business.

“There is a massive amount of interest among our sales team for storytelling,” says Kaushik. And the way we’re going to accomplish a shift in culture at Google is to make everyone a storyteller. It’s very exciting. How often in your life do you get a chance to change people’s minds? I tell stories that fundamentally change the way you think about something, and that’s exciting.”

Google has recognized the power of storytelling to propel its business forward in the 21st century.  It’s an important lesson all of us should learn if we hope to stand out in an ultra-competitive global marketplace.

Carmine Gallo is  a popular keynote speaker and bestselling author. His new book is “The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers To Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On And Others Don’t.”