CNLP 263: Horst Schulze with Lessons From the Ritz-Carlton on Coaching the Best From a Team When You Can’t Pay Top Wages, What Guests Really Want, How to Satisfy a Customer and What To Do With Customer Complaints

At age 14, Horst Schulze left home to start in the hotel industry in Germany. What he learned there became the foundation for introducing true luxury to America when he founded the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain. 

In this wide-ranging and candid interview, Horst shares the strategies and secrets that made the Ritz-Carlton the premiere hotel chain in the world under his leadership. Horst talks about what customers really want, how to build a world class team with lower wage employees, how to empower your team, how to reduce employee turnover and how to handle customer complaints.

Welcome to Episode 263 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Horst SchulzeHorst Schulze | Twitter | Excellence Wins

Episode Links

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3 Insights from Horst

1. Calling people to excellence brings about excellent results

As a result of a lesson he learned from a maitre’d, Horst’s motto became: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentleman.” He helped his employees realize that if they work for Horst they are all ladies and gentlemen who are serving other ladies and gentleman.

This caused a change of approach and mindset in his employees. They began to show up and produce excellence, because his employees were not showing up just to work, they were showing up to create excellence at every level.

2. Having employees that are nice can be the largest growth engine for an organization

According to Horst, being nice is the largest driver of customer satisfaction and it leads to loyalty. The very thing that doesn’t cost anything is what can be the biggest advantage for your organization. The challenge comes when you have to keep this standard of nice all the way up and down the company ladder. Horst follows a 4 step process to ensure his employees are nice across the board.

Selection – If you can improve your selection of employees a few percentages above the competition, you will win.

Orientation – Horst’s company teaches new employees about the company, what they value, and that they are not coming to just work, but to create excellence.

Training – They train every employee in the 20 things that are a requirement for any employee in the organization to live out.

Sustaining – The manager is responsible for bringing each of the 20 company requirements in front of their employees on a regular basis. It is the manager’s fault if an employee doesn’t know the values.

3. To avoid turnover, keep your employees engaged in your mission

Often, enthusiastic employees fall into mediocrity after a few months because the leadership does not keep the “why” in front of employees on a regular basis. In Horst’s organizations, if a leader sees someone not producing excellence they immediately call it out and ask “would a gentleman act like that?”

When Leaders keep the people they are leading accountable to the mission, their people stay engaged with the vision and continue to be excellent, passionate employees. When managers and leaders fail to hold the mission in front of their people, they begin to fail. When employees begin to disconnect from the mission, they will leave your organization.

Quotes from Episode 263

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Next Episode: Sean Cannell

Sean Cannell started at almost nothing on YouTube a few years ago. Today his channel has over 750 thousand subscribers and his videos have been viewed over 40 million times. Sean shares his YouTube secrets, talks about how to get started on YouTube even if you don’t have money or staff, and why the future online has to include video.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 264.

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