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Starbucks’ Howard Behar on Leading with Purpose (ep. 378)

Howard Behar of Starbucks

Starbucks’ Howard Behar joins the Live Inspired Podcast with John O’Leary to share lessons to nurture + inspire the human spirit through servant leadership.

Howard Behar, retired president of Starbucks, joined the company when they had 28 stores and during his tenure grew that number to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. Howard is a leader, speaker, author and mentor known for his generosity and integrity.


Hear how Howard influenced the growth of Starbucks, his tips on how to be a servant leader + why leading with values is the best recipe for success.

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  • At  15 years old, Howard’s father left his family in Bulgaria to immigrant to Seattle where he saved his money from pushing carts in Pike Place Market to open a small grocery store.
  • Not everything we do in life do you need to be paid for. By not charging a struggling family for strawberries, Howard’s father taught him a valuable lesson that influenced how Howard began his work at Starbucks.
  • Dreaming of the benefits he’d offer employees if he owned a company, Howard noticed how in sync they were with Howard Schultz, recognized as the modern-day founder of Starbucks.
  • Be one of the most well-known and respected organizations in the world known for nurturing + inspiring the human spirit. While a young professor at Stanford, Jim Collins joined to develop Starbucks iconic mission statement.
  • Howard Behar’s 6 Ps: Purpose, Passion, Persistence, Patience, Performance and People
  • “The person who sweeps the floor should pick the broom.“
  • “The enemy of life …. is indifference.”
  • Get a copy of Howard Behar’s bestselling books It’s Not About the Coffee and The Magic Cup.

Did you know the Live Inspired Podcast has nearly 4 million (!!!) downloads? Tune into the most downloaded episodes in 2021 featuring the inspiring stories of comic Sebastian Maniscalco, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, ABC New’s Paula Faris and more here!



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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Be less serious.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My photographs.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Desmond Tutu.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. You're capable.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Figure out who you are early.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. He set out to nature + inspire the human spirit and guess what he did.