A Shot (of Espresso) and a Beer

Rick Wartzman

In his most recent column for Bloomberg Businessweek online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about Starbucks’ decision this week to expand its sales of beer and wine, calling it “a wonderful reminder of how all enterprises must strive to find the right blend of continuity and change.”

“Undoubtedly, some people are bound to have trouble seeing that Starbucks is honoring the continuity part of the equation by introducing alcohol,” Wartzman notes. “I’d argue that beer and wine are potentially a terrific fit if they help reinforce what the company is really trying to peddle: a feeling of community inside its stores. Indeed, as long as Starbucks (with about 17,000 locations worldwide) can defy its size and ubiquity by providing a genuine gathering spot, it’s almost beside the point whether its baristas pour stimulants or depressants.”

In this way, Wartzman holds up Starbucks as an exemplar of Peter Drucker’s thinking on the subject (one that we explored recently in a different context). “For any organization that is more naturally inclined to shake things up—what Drucker termed a “change leader”—it must be mindful of the other side of the coin: ensuring that there is an ample amount of stability,” Wartzman writes. “This is achieved in part, Drucker counseled, by adopting ‘a personality that identifies it among its customers and in its markets’ with consistency.