Onward – How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul 

Onward is a book for people who struggle to see the value of culture and engagement to their business. Everyone has heard of Starbucks, many recognise the problems they had by devoting too much focus to expansion at all costs – but few take the trouble to read about the turnaround.

What is it About?

​At the heart of this book is how the the founder and Chairman (Howard Schultz) stepped back into the role of CEO and revisited the heart and soul of the company to determine what had gone wrong. You get a candid view from the top of what it takes to be a true leader in adversity, how to approach problems and how to recapture and amplify the passion and culture already in existence to fix even the toughest of issues.


Love & Belief: It’s not enough to just want to make money. It’s not a sustainable model for growth – if you lose track of who you are as a company, or what you set out to do then no amount of trite mission statements and weak values will rescue you from the mud. What created success in the first place is at the heart of your culture, your people and your success.

Tough Conversations & Difficult Decisions: No matter how uncomfortable the truth, no matter how big the elephant in the room gets, if you want to be respected, if you care for your company and your people you need to have that conversation. From sitting down with the CEO and removing him from the company to reducing the number of employees the book shows how respect and honesty can help in tough times.

See Clearly: No matter what – see your business from the eyes of your customer. Just because it seemed like the right idea at the time doesn’t make it so, listen to the people who have the closest contact with the customer and support them.

Focus: When the time comes to change, ensure that you keep the company focussed on a small number of inspirational concepts – create a common vision that is already supported by the culture you have in place and reinforce it.

Progress & Lead: When you stop moving forward, you will be caught up. New products, new technology and new markets are core to growth strategy. But keep to your core passions, and ensure anything new works to build on that.

You Do Not Work In Global Isolation: A concept expanded on by Richard Branson in “Screw Business As Usual”, at the core of your business should be a strong ethical and financial commitment to do the right thing. The fragile bonds between your employees, your customers and your suppliers should be balanced in favour of all.

Who Is It For?

Executives who are trying to understand the role culture plays in business survival. People who struggle to have difficult conversations, especially with regard to decisions made for short term gain. Those looking for inspiration to capture (or recapture) the hearts of their teams to drive their business forwards. Anyone struggling to compress a big, complex problem into a small number of critical changes.

Mark Ellis, of CultureTransform is passionate about helping organisations improve their results through cultural change, employee engagement and leadership and has worked with many global companies to implement and measure their culture transformation programmes.

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  1. A very wonderful book, particularly Starbucks partner and client/customer relationship part is very outstanding. Understand the customer problem and solve it make successful to Starbucks. Starbucks introduce a very specious term for workers called "Partners". Starbucks partners work excess hours that is provide by Starbucks. SBUX launch the app " <a href="https://starbuckspartnerhours.pro/">Starbucks Partner Hours</a> App" to check hours of their partners.

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