Horst Schulze is the Co-Founder and former President of the Ritz-Carlton and author of the new book, Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise. Even though he is technically retired, he is staying extremely busy. Horst is currently the Chairman Emeritus of Capella Hotel Group, he is on five boards, and he does some consulting work.
Horst actually started in the hotel industry when he was 14 years old as a busboy. From there he worked his way up–waiter, kitchen staff, club manager, catering manager up to regional VP for 10 Hyatt hotels and then manager of food and beverage operations for all Hyatt hotels before ultimately receiving the call to help start a new hotel brand. When asked what career he would have had if he wasn’t in the hotel industry Horst said, “The hotel business. Again, and again, and again. I don’t want to do anything else. That’s what I love.”
A lot has changed in the hotel industry, and work in general, in the past several decades. One thing Horst has noticed in the hotel industry is how luxury has changed. It used to be that when you thought about a luxury hotel you would be looking for marble, chandeliers, expensive artwork, etc…But now luxury is about a personalized and individualized experience. Luxury looks different to everyone and being able to customize the clients stay is what it’s all about.
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When it comes to work Horst says there have been changes over the past few decades, but there are some areas that still have a long way to go. One of these areas that needs work is creating a purpose for employees and helping them feel like they are an important part of the organization. This is part of what Horst believes is our leadership crisis.
“We still hire people to fulfill certain functions. But you know, the chair in which we’re sitting is fulfilling a function. We have to become more aware that we actually hire human beings that want to be part of something. Not just fulfill a function like the chair, which we’re sitting on. Once that understanding becomes deeper, we will adopt and create our systems around it.”
It used to be that the role of a manager was to hire people and then control them. Employees were just supposed to show up, listen to commands, and do what they are told–they weren’t supposed to think, speak up, or question anything.
There are still organizations today who operate like that, but thankfully we are moving away from that model. Employees today want to be a part of the decision making, they want to feel like they belong, they want a purpose and meaning behind what they do.
“What employee will do a better job? The one that must do the job, and is controlled to do it, or the one that wants to do the job? The answer should be quite easy. So in other words, I have to create an environment in which employees want to do the job, and that is leadership.”
What You Will Learn In This Episode:
●How Horst went from a 14 year old busboy to the Co-Founder and President of the Ritz-Carlton
●What has changed in the hotel industry over the past few decades
●How hiring has changed and whether or not it is better now
●How to keep your employees connected to the mission of the company
●What Horst believes is our current leadership crisis and how we can fix it
Link From The Episode:
Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise