During “a fireside chat” on the final day of the 2020 AAHOA Virtual Convention & Trade Show, Horst Schulze, founder of Ritz-Carlton and president of Horst Schulze Consulting, discussed leadership, excellence, and success during the pandemic in a conversation with Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment Group.
Schulze weighed in on leadership versus management, saying that managers create “processes, systems, and controls” but that leaders make other employees want to work. Customers, potential customers, and employees must understand what to expect from leadership. He said, “Managers control and organize, and are successful short-term. If you have a long-term vision, you need a leader.”
To “create an environment where [your employees] want to do it,” as Schulze put it, there are priorities that leaders have to implement at their hotels to be successful. First and foremost, Schulze said, “A leader does not give up on their vision. The other thing a leader doesn’t give up on is your values.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Schulze said hoteliers’ main priority was “do the absolute best for the investors, for the guests, for the employee, and society.” However, while leaders can maintain their values, “Priorities change. You have to be sincere about the circumstances. With that sincerity, change your priorities.”
Now, the main priority is ensuring that hotels survive throughout this time. To do this, hoteliers might have to let go of employees who are not the absolute best. Schulze said that is a difficult decision for hoteliers to make, but it must be done for the hotel’s survival. He added that maintaining the best employees is important for the hotel’s comeback following this difficult time.
Leaders who make hotels successful during the pandemic have the qualities that Schulze describes as “excellence.” “Excellence in a human being is to do the job that you do to the best of your ability—not perfect, but to the best of your ability.” Shulze added that this also means maintaining relationships, morality, and—”maybe for some of us”—spirituality “to the best of your ability.” “If you put that together, you have a human being of excellence.”