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For Clues to Howard Schultz’s Leadership, Look Beyond Starbucks


Howard Schultz faced a full-court press of troubles as 2006 began. That the Seattle SuperSonics were lousy, having their worst season in 20 years, was only the beginning.

Though the Sonics were a storied NBA franchise, with a league championship in 1979, attendance was down at their Seattle arena along with points scored and revenues earned. As the team’s lead owner, Schultz was facing unrest from fans and partners alike. At the same time, Starbucks, the coffee company he had built into a global giant, was about to hit a bad patch, too, as the first ripples of the Great Recession began to rise into a flood tide.

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to know which problem Schultz was able to fix.

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