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Chapter Twelve: Coaching and Training at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf®

Brinkerhoff, Robert Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

C h a p t e r Tw e l v e

Coaching and Training at

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf


Scott Blanchard and Dennis Dressler


he Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® is a chain of coffee shops located in the Southern California and Phoenix, Arizona, areas. When the training in this scenario was offered, the company had just over 100 retail outlets. The company originated in 1963 and grew somewhat slowly during its early history. It was one of the earliest “coffee shop” chains, starting well before the current coffee shop chain phenomenon in the United States. The company, however, has undergone very rapid growth in the past several years.

The company utilizes a fully integrated operational model. It purchases coffees beans and tea leaves globally, blends, flavors, and roasts those products in a Southern California processing operation, and makes fresh baked products and sandwiches in a commissary operation to provide the retail stores. (Because the current Arizona operation is a new, expansion market, baked goods and sandwiches are produced under contract in that area.)

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2 What Is Courageous Training?

Mooney, Tim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We start this chapter with a brief but illustrative story about Courageous Training. We then dissect the story to highlight the key elements that characterize the Courageous Training model.

PAT WILLIS S LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT (L&D) DEPARTMENT, like the entire company, had fallen on hard times. Increased competition and other factors had slowed sales, and all budgets were under scrutiny. A wide-scale company downsizing had resulted in leaner staff operations, and overall training enrollments had dropped consistently for the past three years. Taking time for training, it seemed, was getting harder and harder to do.

So when Pat received a call from a Senior Vice President who directed the company’s global operations that important training demands were on the horizon, she hoped this was a sign that things were changing. Her budget had been under a lot of pressure; she already had to let one staff member of the training department go; and there were persistent rumors that the company was looking at outsourcing several operations completely. Training, she knew, could likely be one of them.

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2 The Success Case Method: Step by Step

Brinkerhoff, Robert Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF


The Success Case Method

At the smaller end of the scale, we followed up just seven pharmaceutical sales representatives who were trying out some new methods and tools for soliciting business with health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

Only one rep had had an opportunity to use the new tools, yet had experienced an especially successful sales call that leveraged the program’s capability. This one successful instance was exactly the sort of application that the program sponsors had hoped for and served as an exemplary model for others to follow. In this case, the entire study was completed over a period of nine days, with only a few brief telephone calls.

At the other extreme, one of our SC projects looked at the impact of management development for an international child adoption and community development agency. This multimillion-dollar project employed trained field office managers from dozens of countries around the globe, most in very remote and rural areas, as this is where the principal work of the agency took place. Because impact was hypothesized to involve organizational change and work relationships among a number of office staff, field visits were deemed necessary to develop success profiles. Success Case interviews were conducted in person at several agency office locations. Given the remoteness of sites, our staff had to travel for several days (in one case by donkey when a rural bus broke down) just to get into the office locations.

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Chapter Three: Success Case Method Strategy—Building Organizational Learning Capacity

Brinkerhoff, Robert Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

Chapter Three

Success Case Method


Organizational Learning



al-Mart and K-Mart are in the same business of selling consumer goods at discount prices. Both organizations also use information technology tools (i.e., computers, servers, etc.) in their operations. They each have essentially the same technical tools and capability. Their stores are highly similar, located in similar neighborhoods (sometimes adjacent to one another), they carry many of the same products, and they use virtually the same floor layouts and configurations. Yet one organization—Wal-Mart—is entirely dominant in its industry and has established superior competitive advantage. How?

Wal-Mart uses its information technology differently, creating systems and processes for inventory, purchasing, distribution, and merchandising that lend it great competitive advantage, enabling it to sell goods at lower prices and stock stores more quickly and with less cost. The difference in the success of these two organizations lies not in the nature of the technology they use, but in how they make use of it.

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Brinkerhoff, Robert Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

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