I just finished up Onward by Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks. It was a gift (read: required reading) from my boss Kurt Johnston. Of course, it wasn’t a chore – I’ve been wanting to pick up the book after seeing it recently and am fascinated by how “it” companies like Apple and Starbucks work on the inside. The book was full of incredible insights with tons of youth ministry applications – but let me tell you right out of the gate that it is about 100 pages too long. The amount of detail is staggering, and quite honestly gives you an appreciation for the capacity of Howard Schultz. Here are a a few of the key things that stood out to me:

  • Howard took incredible risks. Some paid off, others totally bombed. When was my last risk?
  • People are what matter most. Period.
  • Howard took his time building an incredible team. Success is never solo.
  • One evening every Starbucks in the nation was closed for training. How much do I value training?
  • Over time, Starbucks changed reporting their “comps” to focus on other measurements. Am I looking at the right numbers?
  • Starbucks rebirth was guided by 7 principles. What are mine? What is guiding me?

Lots of good stuff. Great book.