The hottest news in retail today is that Starbucks, after a slump over the past couple years, has brought back Howard Schultz as CEO to run the company.
The move is long overdue as the stock has taken a hit from a too-rapid expansion and increased competition from the likes of McDonald’s. You can read more about it here.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
There’s a reason Howard Schultz is back. Starbucks needs a leader – someone who can see the big picture, change course, and develop specific initiatives to get the ship righted. The former CEO watched for two years as the ship slowly sank.
Successful business owners or Presidents & CEOs are like orchestra conductors. The conductor’s job isn’t to play 1st chair violin, or oboe or timpani. Their job is to lead. To work individually with each member of the orchestra to be their best, while understanding how each section integrates to form an orchestra. Howard Schultz is a conductor.
But the fact is that too many conductors want to be the doers too. They want to play violin, or oboe, or timpani. So they try. But they aren’t as good as someone who has been doing it their whole life. They simply suffer from the “no one can do it as good as me” syndrome.
Outgrowing this syndrome comes from allowing others to take on responsibility and succeed (or fail). Your job as the conductor is to help each member of the orchestra improve. To allow them to play the solo in practice and in concert. To work with them to become the best they can be. To integrate them into the team. To allow them to work in concert with other orchestra members. You as the conductor will achieve a fuller, richer sound as a result.
Beyond leading employees, the conductor’s job is also to see the big picture. While the violinist, celloist and oboeist each play their individual parts, the conductor needs to see how every section of an orchestra interacts, taking into consideration the nuances of each individual and each section.
Apply these principals to your business:
- Give up responsibility to help employees grow
- Help employees to succeed and allow them to fail
- See the big picture, understanding that each employee is an individual, then take advantage of their strengths
Are you a conductor or are you a conductor who still wants to play instruments?