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The Wall Street Journal has a story about interim CEO Howard Schultz's "bucket list" for what are being called his last six months in the job, before Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, takes over the job:

"Mr. Schultz would like to ensure that the strategic revamp plan he and other executives developed is on track, he said in an interview, and he 'desperately' wants to get back to China, the company’s biggest international market, where Starbucks has struggled with a drop in sales given Covid-19 restrictions.

"He also aims to imbue the next generation of leaders with Starbucks’s culture and history 'so that some of the issues that surfaced the last couple of years, don’t surface again,' he said.

"The 69-year-old businessman said he would judge his work a success if employee turnover drops and customer service improves. The company also has to restore the trust of Starbucks investors, he said."

Part of the strategic revamp referred to in the Journal story is examined in an Inc. piece, which notes that "the more interesting part of Starbucks plan is focused on the near future: a 450 million dollar investment in North American stores, which includes new, proprietary equipment the company has developed to assist baristas to make the increasingly complex and customized orders they receive.

"This equipment includes:  A new brewing method that uses vacuum-press technology to brew freshly ground and brewed coffee in 30 seconds … A redesigned cold beverage station that allows baristas to cut down the time it takes to make frozen drinks by more than half … A new way of producing Cold Brew coffee, which Starbucks claims reduces the process from more than twenty steps to four, and reduces time to produce from more than twenty hours to only a few seconds.

"Together, these new technologies have the potential to transform Starbucks and its reputation, taking it further away from its roots. Which is why current fans of the world's largest coffeehouse will either love it or hate it."

KC's View:

Regardless of who is sitting in the CEO's office, the moments creates a variety of challenges.  How does Starbucks adapt - culturally and infrastructurally - to a world in which it seen more as a quick stop than a third place?  The fact that 70 percent of its sales now are done in cold drinks, not hot, is just one reflection of how the company's world has changed.

Inc. has an interesting perspective:

"So, what lesson can business owners take away from Starbucks' evolution (or devolution, depending on your perspective)?

"Remember to run your business with intention. If the company grows, it's very easy to get caught up in what management expert and business author Jim Collins describes as the "overreaching, undisciplined pursuit of more." Of course, if that's your goal, then that's your choice - and Starbucks may actually serve as inspiration.

_Otherwise, you'll want to view Starbucks as a cautionary tale.

"Because the only way for your business to hold true to your vision, is to resist the urge to shape it according to the vision of others."