US News & World Report has an interview and article out about America’s Leaders and Schultz of Starbucks fame comes in on the list.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“You don’t start out by saying, ‘I’m going to create the world’s largest coffee company.’ You start with a sensibility that says, ‘I’m going to create a different kind of company,’ ” explains Schultz in his latte-colored office. “And you have to follow the path of doing the right thing by making decisions that are true to your mission and cause. You refer to your heart, conscience, and memory.”

You also keep innovating if you want to keep leading. As Charles Smith, a management consultant, says: “Exceptional leaders cultivate the Merlin-like habit of acting in the present moment as ambassadors of a radically different future, in order to imbue their organizations with a breakthrough vision of what it is possible to achieve.”

Schultz is still showing his team what’s possible to achieve. Take Starbucks’s new music business, for example. By producing CD s and distributing them in its stores, the coffee chain is transforming how music is discovered and delivered to consumers. “We didn’t have a music business several years ago, and now we have 65 people on that team,” marvels Schultz, who received a personal visit from the British rock band Coldplay several months ago. “Customers have given us license to be in music,” he adds. “Can we still preserve our core business without diluting the integrity of the coffee experience and community in our stores?”

There’s little question that Schultz’s other recent innovation–buying a water company and contributing a nickel from every bottle sold to organizations who get clean water to children around the world–reinforces Starbucks’s image of integrity. “This effort says a lot to our people and customers,” explains Schultz. “It speaks to the heart of our company.”

The most interesting aspect of the article was that Starbucks is currently opening 5 new stores a day. Amazing numbers, but not really when you consider they have 90,000 employees. If every Starbucks employee had just one drink a day on the house at an estimated value of 50 cents — it costs Starbucks $45,000 a day just to provide drinks to their staff.

Photo from

Arizona Coffee

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