Behind The Leader: Former Starbucks Int’l Prez Howard Behar

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Picture 1Iauthors_behar‘m so excited to be able to share the second interview in my new Behind the Leader series.

Today’s guest is former Starbucks International President, Howard behar. Howard joined Starbucks when it was a small regional chain with 28 stores in the Pacific Northwest. Along with Howard Shultz and Orin Smith, a leadership team that came to be known as H2O, Howard helped guide the vision and growth of the company into a multibillion, multinational giant.

Howard is also the co-author of a wonderful book on leadership entitled, It’s Not About The Coffee, that I strongly recommend. You can find him speaking around the world and sharing his thoughts online at

In this in-depth conversation, you’ll discover:

  • How Howard came from a radically different background than your average giant company executive
  • How he went from 17 year customer to mover and shaker within the company
  • What he thinks about learning by formal education vs hands-on experience
  • How giving a local employee the freedom to create led to a $3 billion/yr product line
  • How the quest to make it perfect all the time sometimes kills innovation
  • What it was like to work with a small team with strong opinions
  • How Howard bridges the gap between people and product
  • Why you just should take care of employee who are heading out the door
  • Why having a people-centric focus is so important to enduring tough times
  • And, so much more…

As with all of the interviews in this series, you can listen in 3 ways:

  • Click the player below and listen
  • Download the file in mp3 using the link below, or
  • Go to iTunes, search and subscribe


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6 responses

6 responses to “Behind The Leader: Former Starbucks Int’l Prez Howard Behar”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Syazwan Ahmad, Daley Ervin. Daley Ervin said: RT @jonathanfields Behind The Leader: Former Starbucks Int’l Prez Howard Behar | Jonathan Fields […]

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jonathanfields: Intvw w former Starbucks guru @howardbehar. Learn how store manager’s idea became $3 billion product

  3. Hugh says:

    Thanks for sharing this interview with us. I love reading about these kinds of business stories and I’m putting this book on my “to-read” list.

  4. Hey Jonathan,

    Fantastic interview with Howard Behar. Luckily, I was at my whiteboard when I listened to it, cause I had to have someplace to write down all the great tips and advice!

    Best advice – Make sure you have your goals and values written down. Couldn’t agree more. for some reason, writing things down makes it more real. This really resonates with me.

    Best quote: “If you don’t know where you are going – any path will get you there.”

    Super stuff. Thanks for providing this great service!


  5. Great interview… great info! I’m surprised at how grounded Howard is!


  6. Rex Williams says:

    Great interview, Jonathan.

    I really resonated with the idea that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, “Allow the person who sweeps to choose the broom.”

    I’m in a corporate situation with an environment that “the boss is always right” and they have no idea of the collateral damage that occurs to the personal commitment of employees to the organization.