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10 Inspiring Quotes From Howard Schultz on Great Leadership and Business Success

The departing Starbucks chairman exhorts us to invest in people and our passions.
10 Inspiring Quotes From Howard Schultz on Great Leadership and Business Success
Image credit: Mike Pont | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

Starbucks executive chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz yesterday announced that he is leaving the coffee giant after 40 years. In an interview with The New York Times about his decision, Schultz talked about his goals post retirement from Starbucks, and whether that might include a run for political office.

“One of the things I want to do in my next chapter is to figure out if there is a role I can play in giving back. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet,” Schultz told The New York Times. “I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

Related: How Starbucks CEO Transformed a Small Coffee Bean Store Into a Massively Successful Worldwide Brand

In the meantime, he says his plan is to write a book about “social impact work and the efforts to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company,” while working on the Schultz Family Foundation.

Over the past few decades at the helm of Starbucks, Schultz has shared his insights about what it takes to succeed in business. Read on and be inspired.

On entrepreneurship

“The entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone. Yes, the highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling. But the lows can break your heart. Entrepreneurs must love what they do to such a degree that doing it is worth sacrifice and, at times, pain. But doing anything else, we think, would be unimaginable.”

On passion

“Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible. Care more than others think wise.”

On fear

“There are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, against common sense and the wise counsel of people we trust. But we lean forward nonetheless because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing is the right and best thing to do. We refuse to be bystanders, even if we do not know exactly where our actions will lead.”

On leadership

“One of the fundamental aspects of leadership, I realized more and more, is the ability to instill confidence in others when you yourself are feeling insecure.”

On the importance of authenticity

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”

On longevity

“To be an enduring, great company, you have to build a mechanism for preventing or solving problems that will long outlast any one individual leader.”

On mentorship

“And with the right mentor, don't be afraid to expose your vulnerabilities. Admit you don't know what you don't know. When you acknowledge your weaknesses and ask for advice, you'll be surprised how much others will help.”

On determination

“My story is as much one of perseverance and drive as it is of talent and luck. I willed it to happen. I took my life in my hands, learned from anyone I could, grabbed what opportunity I could, and molded my success step by step. Fear of failure drove me at first, but as I tackled each challenge, my anxiety was replaced by a growing sense of optimism. Once you overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, other hurdles become less daunting.”

On growth

“When companies fail, or fail to grow, it’s almost always because they don’t invest in the people, the systems, and the processes they need.”

On teamwork

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”

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