Break the rules and do things for yourself!

Customers at a Starbucks-owned shop, 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea, on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Photo by Annie Marie Musselman for The New York Times

SEATTLE — Young people wearing hoodies and chunky glasses are sipping microbrew beers and espressos, nibbling on cheese and baguettes made at a local bakery and listening to a guitarist strum and sing.

The scene could be at any independent coffeehouse around the country. Instead, it is at a Starbucks-owned shop called 15th Avenue Coffee andTea.

The new store, one of two in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, grew out of a series of brainstorming sessions by a group of Starbucks employees after Howard D. Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive, told them to “break the rules and do things for yourself.”

The directive was part of his effort, since he returned as chief executive two years ago, to turn the struggling company around by injecting the multinational chain with a dose of the urgency, nimbleness and risk-taking of a start-up company.

“We lost our way,” he said. “We went back to start-up mode, hand-to-hand combat every day” to find it. “And with the kind of discussion and focus that probably we had not had as a company since the early days — the fear of failure, the hunger to win.”

Boris Iochev