The 'secret sauce' powering a corporate leadership team others want to poach

Executive recruiters are turning to Starbucks more and more to poach talent. What exactly makes its corporate leadership team and management training special? 

"Culturally, the company has a lot of strengths that modern employers want to emulate, and poaching its talent is one of the fastest ways to do that," Jeff Green and Leslie Patton wrote for Bloomberg

Bloomberg analyzed the career histories of active employees on management teams to find that Starbucks has produced as many executives as significantly larger companies, including Amazon and Walmart. 

Starbucks doesn't fear its top leaders being tapped by other employers, either. Angela Lis, the company's chief partner officer, says developing leaders "for the world" is actually Starbucks' goal. 

A few things power the Starbucks secret sauce, according to the Bloomberg article: 

1. Its corporate conscience is well-developed. Starbucks began addressing racism years before other companies and held difficult conversations about discrimination in the workplace years before rivals' recent racial reckonings.

2. Executives are well-rounded. Starbucks executives move around. Time spent in finance, operations and international jobs isn't unusual. 

3. Discipline is a muscle flexed often. Starbucks' culture is big on ditching ideas that could be profitable but would have a negative effect on workers or customers. 

4. Employees are expected to think beyond the bottom line. Usually, those who don't are not around for long. "We were taught to integrate and balance results with not just what you did, but how you did it," former Starbucks executive Adam Brotman told Bloomberg.

5. People come back. Current CFO Rachel Ruggeri left her finance role in 2018 to become CFO at Continental Mills. She returned to Starbucks in 2020 and was named as the outgoing finance chief's successor when he announced his retirement in January. "We never lost touch with Rachel," Ms. Lis told Bloomberg. "That's also a 'secret sauce' thing. She came back to us."

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