Step 4: Communicate to everyone in the organization on a consistent basis, not just your assistant or whoever is below you. The front line has to understand what the top line is saying, Donald says. It is imperative that leaders communicate with everyone in their organization.

As an example, Donald jokes that he “single-handedly almost brought Starbucks to its knees” by not adhering to this principle. Under Starbucks’ preferred supplier program, Starbucks was paying 5¢/lb. more to growers for coffee beans produced according to certain quality and environmental criteria. “And a nickel is huge in developing countries,” he adds.

Later, he says Starbucks boosted that premium, tying it into additional 28 specifications designed to create a more sustainable product. Shortly after that announcement, Donald says he received a phone call from a grower co-op in Guatemala informing him that they would no longer be selling Starbucks any more coffee.

“This co-op in Guatemala was where we buy 56% of our coffee; they were huge to us. But we learned they couldn’t understand our specs because we had only provided them in English,” Donald says. Some fast reaction and a quick trip to Guatemala for Donald to talk directly with the growers alleviated the misunderstanding, he says.

“Leaders understand that you must speak the language of the people you’re talking to; if you don’t know the language, you have to learn it. If you can’t learn it, hire a translator.” It’s crucial that everyone hears and understands the message.

Step 5: Risk-taking in any business is key. Risk-taking breeds success in any endeavor, Donald says. At the same time, however, success tends to breed risk aversion. “And risk aversion means you’re stagnant; it means bankruptcy, you’re out of business. Encourage risk-taking by your employees and give them the freedom to fail. Leaders understand you don’t move the business forward by maintaining the status quo.”

Step 6: Celebrate the success of others. Donald says this is the most important of his six steps. “The business is not about you, it’s about them” – your employees and partners. The more energy a leader can create within his organization, the more successful you all will be, he says.