Starbucks

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Starbucks, which taught America to love lattes, made news this week with the announcement of a new tuition benefit for its partners (Starbucks-speak for employees). At first glance this move seems like simply another benefit in Starbucks relatively (for its industry) generous compensation package. In particular, Starbucks has long been heralded for providing health insurance for all partners working more than 20 hours per week. It is this connection to health insurance that we wish to explore. While Howard Schulz the founder and current CEO of Starbucks has long said the firm offers health insurance because it is the “right thing to do” for their employees, we have always suspected a more profit maximizing goal for this compensation decision. If we put on our strategy hats (we are both members of Kellogg’s Strategy Department), we can deduce that as a profit-maximizing firm, what Starbucks giveth with tuition benefits it may soon taketh away from health insurance benefits. In the process, Starbucks may be heralding the demise of employer sponsored health insurance, something we have predicted in previous blogs.

Continue reading “What a New Benefit From Starbucks Teaches Us About the Future of Employer Provided Health Insurance”

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It is often said that the one and only constant in life is change. This is certainly the case in business where every change in the external market or new initiative or idea brings some type of change to the organization. As leaders, our success or failure can hinge upon how well we are able to facilitate change and how well we help our members of our team adapt to and appreciate change.

As president of a large, national health care organization, like many other business leaders, I am involved in important decisions related not only to performance today, but also preparing the organization for what will be required in the future. This means I spend a lot of time thinking about change. What can we expect with change? How will people react to change? How can I help my team work through the change? How will change affect the way we operate or service our members? What will it cost us?

The reality is most people don’t like change because it can be stressful, especially when change happens unexpectedly. Change can be scary, and understandably so. It represents the unknown, taking us out of our comfort zones. Any time an organization embarks on a new initiative there is the risk of failure, which could have significant financial consequences. Yet, if we don’t change, failure is certain. As society evolves, we must too. Organizations that not only understand the importance of change, but embrace change, are the ones that will ultimately be most successful.

Continue reading “Embracing Change: Leading Through Transformation”

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Media reports on misdiagnosis continue to mount.

A recent study on patients with Alzheimer’s found that half had been misdiagnosed.  Half.

Another headline blared “4 out of 10 patients being misdiagnosed.”  The article encouraged patients to “see another doctor” if they are worried about their diagnosis.

You know what it makes me think about?

Starbucks.

Why?

Because the way Starbucks revolutionized coffee drinking shows a way forward for health care.

Starbucks realized that since our lives focus on two places – home and work – most of us don’t have a “third place” to go.  A place where we can be free of everyday distractions and take care of ourselves.  Starbucks set out to create that “third place,” by making its stores comfortable, inviting places.  It works.  “Third place” makes customers’ lives better – and Starbucks has almost 20,000 stores to prove it.

It’s time for a kind of “third place” in health care. Continue reading “Third Place Health Care”

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