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It’s not very often that you get an inside look into a company during their darkest days but that is exactly the journey that the book Onward takes us on. This book tells the story of how Starbucks worked through the banking and housing crisis from 2008-2010. I know that does not sound like a fun read but it is really a powerful story of resilience. The true mark of an organization is how they respond to struggle. This is an inside look of how a founder of an organization came back to help lead that organization through crisis. The book is packed with leadership lessons for all of us in ministry but here are my favorite notes from the book.

  • No business can do well for its shareholders without first doing well by all the people its business touches.
  • When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. 
  • That, as I’ve said, is what merchants do. We take something ordinary and infuse it with emotion and meaning, and then we tell its story over and over and over again, often without saying a word. 
  • Work should be personal. For all of us. Not just for the artist and the entrepreneur. Work should have meaning for the accountant, the construction worker, the technologist, the manager, and the clerk. 
  • Creating an engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing. It’s a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned. 
  • Companies pay a price when their leaders ignore things that may be fracturing their foundation. Starbucks was no different. 
  • Starbucks is in the business of exceeding expectations. That means we have to admit it when we are not as good as we think we should be. 
  • This is why, I think, so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside. 
  • Without confidence, people could not perform 
  • What elements about Starbucks, we asked ourselves, are ritual and what elements are merely habits? 
  • We forgot that “ones” add up. 
  • The world belongs to the few people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
  • I’ve always believed that innovation is about rethinking the nature of relationships, not just rethinking products, 
  • Growth had been a carcinogen. 
  • Success is not sustainable if it’s defined by how big you become. 
  • Pursuing short-term rewards is always shortsighted. 
  • Exploring an imperfect idea can often lead to a better one 
  • At its core, I believe leadership is about instilling confidence in others,