“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
Businesses face challenges. However, the difference between companies that succeed and those that don’t is how they respond to these challenges.
Around 2003-2008, despite being a household name, Starbucks saw declining store visits and sales. This wasn’t just a minor hiccup; it was a significant issue. But instead of searching for external factors to blame, Starbucks took responsibility and found a solution. The CEO, Howard Schultz, identified that they had moved away from their primary focus: quality coffee and the unique customer experience. To address this, Schultz took a direct step: he closed over 7,000 stores for a few hours to retrain staff, emphasizing the importance of coffee quality and the customer experience. Along with other changes, like controlling its rapid expansion, Starbucks managed to turn around its sales and reputation.
Here are a few takeaways we can learn from Starbucks:
- Acknowledge the Problem: Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it disappear. Starbucks recognized the problem and went to work finding a solution.
- Take Direct Action: Once a problem is identified, act on it. Starbucks didn’t just talk about change or blame external factors. Instead, they found an effective solution they could implement to turn things around.
- Involve Your Team: Implementing changes or solutions is not a one-person job. It requires the collective effort of the entire team. To turn things around, Starbucks engaged its entire team, from baristas to managers ensuring effective implementation.
- Review and Adjust: Business is dynamic, and a solution that works today might not be effective forever. Continuous monitoring and adjustment are crucial. Starbucks didn’t stop at the initial changes. They continually reviewed the outcomes of their decisions, adjusted their strategies where necessary, and remained receptive to further feedback.
Action Step: Review your business operations and feedback. Are there any pressing issues that need to be resolved? If so, devise a plan, and take actionable steps to address them.
Facing and addressing challenges head-on is crucial for business growth and reputation. How quickly, and the approach you use to overcome challenges can significantly influence future success.
To learn more about effectively navigating business challenges, be sure to check out our book of the week: “Traction” by Gino Wickman.