Chasing Greatness Blog

Weekly inspirational examples of greatness that we can apply to our every day lives.

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The Secret Recipe to Starbucks' Success

The Secret Recipe to Starbucks’ Success

Longtime Starbucks International President Howard Behar is no longer with the company, but that doesn’t stop him from cleaning up the condiment stand when he drops in for his cup of coffee.

“I’m very proud,” Behar said of the company he helped build. “I’m just as protective as I’ve always been and I’m just as critical as I’ve always been. I still clean up when I go into stores and pick up papers. That’s never going to stop. I’ve been doing that my whole life. I love the place, love it. I love what it represents and I’m angry when I don’t think it represents everything that it could.”

For more than twenty years, Behar guided Starbucks, serving as president of its North American operations and of Starbucks International. When he joined Starbucks in 1989, there were only 28 stores located around Seattle. Now it’s a global phenomenon.

Overcoming Mistakes When Everyone Is Watching

Overcoming Mistakes When Everyone Is Watching

The ball was traveling high and to left-field at more than 90 miles per hour. Waiting there was Detroit Tigers center fielder Tyler Collins, ready to make a routine catch, something he’d done for years in Texas for his high school and college teams before being drafted and quickly rising through the minor leagues to play in the Majors.

But then Collins lost sight of the ball in the bright lights of Comerica Park. As he struggled looking skyward, the ball… hit the turf. Collins and left fielder Justin Upton scrambled to recover and threw the ball to the infield as the batter ran all the way to third base. Boos rained down on the outfielder for his error.

Then Collins showed he truly wasn’t ready for the bright lights. As fans screamed their displeasure, he turned to the crowd and raised his middle finger. He yelled obscenities back at the hecklers. Two days later he found himself in Toledo playing for the minor league Mud Hens.

NCAA Championship Day: John Wooden’s Greatest Legacy Wasn’t On The Basketball Court

Basketball fans across the nation will watch the men’s NCAA championship game on Monday but, even while I take in the conclusion of “March Madness,” my mind will be on one of the greatest coaches ever and his many lessons on leadership and mentoring.

Coach John Wooden led the UCLA Bruins to 10 national titles during his celebrated career. But Coach Wooden’s greatest legacy went far beyond the basketball court as he shaped the lives of the young men he guided to success long after they stopped playing.

Among the greatest of those men was Bill Walton who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. In his new book Back from the Dead: Searching for the Sound, Shining the Light, and Throwing it Down, Walton offers great insights on what he learned from Coach Wooden. Despite their different personalities and the generation gap that separated them, Coach Wooden and Walton remained close. Even after he left UCLA for the NBA and, later, broadcasting, Walton spoke with Coach Wooden almost every day for decades.

One of America's Leading Businesswomen Offers Tips on Success

One of America’s Leading Businesswomen Offers Tips on Success

Most of us know having a mentor will lead to more opportunities for success. But one of the most successful businesswomen in America says instead of looking for mentors, we need to embrace “mentoring moments,” everyday occurrences for teaching and learning.

Kat Cole, who rose from being a Hooters waitress to her current post as the group president of Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands, which operates more than 3,300 Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s stores across the globe, believes her career is evidence that embracing “moments” rather than finding “mentors” can be life-changing.

Cole was a keynote presenter at a Leadercast event in Atlanta earlier this month and offered her unique take on finding mentoring moments.

NFL Draft Lessons: Finding the Right Fit is Important

NFL Draft Lessons: Finding the Right Fit is Important

Football fans across the nation are getting ready for the NFL draft that starts tonight, waiting as their favorite teams bring in fresh talent.

While most of the attention will be on the teams and their new players, the NFL draft offers lessons for organizations of all stripes. Great teams in the NFL, like the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, are in the playoff hunt almost every season. These teams build in the draft, choosing the right pieces for their organizations by doing their homework and finding players who will help them flourish.

For the best, they don’t just look at statistics and game film. They look for players who “fit” their culture.

The Great Ones Use Their Rolodex

The Great Ones Use Their Rolodex

What makes a great team?

Over the past few years, I’ve traveled the country in pursuit of the answers to this question. In that journey, I’ve asked the best sports coaches and some incredible corporate leaders for their input. Some of the greatest insight came from G.J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchens, as I asked why his dynamic organization continues to win in the marketplace—and in the hearts of its customers.

Among the company’s secrets: Granting wishes.

Yes. You read that correctly. A restaurant chain ensures its success by granting wishes.

California Pizza Kitchens is known for its creative takes on traditional recipes, but its recent partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation has placed the organization at the forefront of servant leadership.

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Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with

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