PODCAST | Why Excellence Always Wins (feat. Horst Schulze)

Horst Schulze Podcast

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In today’s podcast, William Vanderbloemen talks with Horst Schulze, the Founder, Chairman & CEO of the Capella Hotel Group, and Co-Founder and former COO of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. Schulze is a legendary leader and global titan of business.

In this episode, Horst's journey to success is truly remarkable. He shares his personal story and the methods he used to achieve his goals. His experiences are a testament to the fact that with hard work, determination, and a drive for excellence, anyone can achieve their dreams. 
We hope you enjoy this conversation!

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Follow Horst Schulze on:

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             LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/horstschulze/

About Horst Schulze: https://horstschulze.com/

Order Your Copy of Excellence Wins: https://excellencewins.com/


William Vanderbloemen: 


Hey everybody. Welcome to the podcast today. We have a real treat. A new friend of mine, Horst Schultze or Schultz or lots of things. It's kind of like Vanderbloemen. You say a lot of different ways. But is joining us and Horst is super, super well known in the hospitality industry and for a lot of other reasons, but I want him to teach us today about how you can spot [00:01:00] excellence, how you can train excellence, how you can serve with excellence.

Cause I think everybody listening is trying to find a way to stand out of the crowd and be a little bit more. Noticeable and memorable to the people that you're serving. So Horst, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate you making time. 

Horst Schultze: Great to be with you. 

William Vanderbloemen: Yes. And, and I'm learning that we have all kinds of listeners, but most of them are leaders.

A lot of them are church leaders. They may not know your story. So I wonder if you could just take a minute or two and tell us about your background and story. 

Horst Schultze: I come from a small village in Germany. I decided when I was 11 years old, I want to work in the hotel business with 14. I started in a hotel in the best hotel of my region as a busboy.

I lived up. Unfortunately, that was about a hundred miles away from my hometown. And at that time that was far. So I lived in a dorm room. I left when I was [00:02:00] 14, lived in a dorm room, worked in a hotel. And let me just, talking about excellence, let me just tell you my first day at the hotel. My mother took me there, the general manager welcomed us and talked to me a few minutes and said, now you are here to learn how to serve very important guests.

Very important. Ladies and gentlemen, and you are here to learn how to serve them. That was my introduction. And that's what I wanted. I wanted to work in a great hotel. And the next one I meet was the man that I reported to in the restaurant where I worked as a bus boy. And he changed my life between two sentences.

He said, number one, he said, tomorrow, show up at 7 a. m. If I meant one minute after 7, I would tell you so. So, he established in one standards, [00:03:00] rules, regulation, no, no, No compromise. This is it. When I say something, I mean it. And we, we are excellent in what we're doing in a way. He said, but he said the next sentence and don't come to work tomorrow.

Come here to create excellence and what you're doing. Now, both things went over my head. I was 14 years old, but he used the word excellence in the English word excellence. Always. She spoke five words. language is totally fluent and he said excellence and he constantly remind us of being excellent in what we do, excellent as a human being, excellent in every, in every intent.

And I learned over the next three and a half years working for him. I learned what he meant during those two sentences and he meant it. He was a man, and let me put, throw that in right there. [00:04:00] He was a man who never did anything without high intent. And I learned that excellence is not an accident. It's always the result of high intent and hard work.

William Vanderbloemen: Hmm. So 14 years old, you're learning about excellence. Walk us through your journey from there. 

Horst Schultze: Well, interesting thing happened there, of course, the typical German upbringing, I worked there once a week, went to the school of my business, hotel school, in this case, where all the kids from the region came, and after two years, I was asked, the teacher asked, I was 16 at that time, asked us to write a story, what we now think about our business.

Going back to work that night, I saw the maître d approach a table. Now we were, we knew and we were told constantly that our guests are very important ladies and gentlemen. And they [00:05:00] were. And I see him approach a table and I realized That the guests on that table were proud that he came to them. You could see it.

And I realize that's true generally. When I was thinking about that night, what to write for my essay, I thought about that incident where there was a reversal of what I was taught all the time, where the guests were actually proud that he came to them. And I realized that was true because This man defined himself as a gentleman of excellence, and he had defined himself as such and, and my light went off and I realized, even if I was a dishwasher, my life, I still can define myself as an excellent person.

And I realized I, I define myself, not society, not anything else. And I wrote a story about that and I named that story. We are ladies and gentlemen [00:06:00] serving ladies and gentlemen, but like them, we are ladies and gentlemen. If we, if we define ourself as such, it says up to us and nothing else. And I, I realized that it was just going to win.

And I broke there for three and a half years when I left. He told me one more time, look me in the eyes, never go to work to work, never, you're a human being, the chairs that we have work, the tables, the forks, the glasses, everything works. We are human beings. We are thinking higher. Our intent is higher.

You see, like, just to give an example, in his case, He, he didn't want to serve food and beverage. He wanted to instill well being. He always had a high intent in everything. He made a decision. He said, our life is a decision for excellence or mediocrity, or we either make the decision for excellence or we leave it up [00:07:00] to change what we are.

Unusual human being who had great influence. I was so young, you know, so he had great influence on me. 

William Vanderbloemen: That's amazing. And fast forward, then that led you because I don't know. You tell me if I, if my idea is congruent with yours. I think that if you focus on being excellent, you don't have to worry about your career path.

It will take care of itself. 

Horst Schultze: No, no, let me, let me tell you that that is a little story again. I'm sorry. I, I when I left, so I looked, him and I left. I worked in the finest hotels in Europe, truly in the very finest hotel in Europe. The Plaza Art Paris, the board wash, pa some, the London at the time, and so on, so on.

And then I came to the U.S, worked in the, in the Hilton, in San Francisco as room service leader with the intent to go back with him two years later. Want to learn the language better. Okay. I still work on that one, but I want to [00:08:00] learn and, but before I got back, I wanted to be promoted so that I can go in this two years.

I want to have one promotion supervisor. So I go back with the promotion of the language and go on with my career in Europe. And I knew I would be promoted in that place because there were four supervisors in room service, which was a job that you got promoted out from easily. And so I knew the next supervisor job that it becomes available, I will be the supervisor because I'm by far the best waiter here.

And I knew, and the manager of room service in the hotel was German too. So it was very easy for me to understand that I will be the next supervisor. And sure enough, about six months later, Another supervisor job became available. Bill was promoted. The manager said we meet tomorrow morning and we will say thank you to Bill and wish him good luck and I will announce the next supervisor.

Sure enough we were there and of course I knew that my job would be my [00:09:00] job and we applauded Bill who was leaving and then he announced the next supervisor is Fred and I knew my name was not Fred. And that was a major breakdown in my ego with everything I had, everything. And of course, what I thought is management is stupid.

And so the typical thought of an employee went through, it took me months to admit the other guy deserved it more. You see, I had. Gone to work and not to create excellence. I came a few minutes, but I was very young. I was partying and so on. Came a few minutes late, was very tired. And how they said, good morning.

And the other guy came in and said, good morning, everybody. And I didn't say anything because it was too tired. The manager asked to do a little side job like folding napkins. I said, why me? Why not the other guys? And he said, I'm happy to. And all the things that I've learned, I've [00:10:00] forgotten. I was a good waiter still, but that's it.

But I was not excellent. And so I went into my room and talked to the maître d He had passed away. He didn't show up as a ghost. Don't worry. But I talked with him and I apologized that I went to work and not for excellence. That promised him right there it would never ever happen again. And I wrote on a mirror from there around go to work for excellence.

I remind me every day a few times I'm there for excellence. It became a habit. And Maria, my career took off like a rocket ship. I mean, I became, I was promoted. I don't know, I'm promoted out as a catering manager with Hyatt, with Hilton. Worked in another place in between became assistant food and beverage director with Hilton, food and beverage director, joined Hyatt as food and beverage director, given my career in Hyatt, 10 year career, food and beverage director, year and a half later, rooms director, year and a half later, general manager in [00:11:00] Pittsburgh.

Two years later, channel manager, a much larger hotel. A year later, regional vice president, over 10 hotels. Two years later, corporate vice president, over 65 hotels. Wow. Simply. I made sure that each shop, I create excellence in what I'm doing. Very simple. 

William Vanderbloemen: Well, it, it, to me, the commitment to excellence is so rare that if someone actually does it, they will stand out of the crowd.

Horst Schultze: It's true. Yeah. Anyway, from there on, from I hired create time, I was offered to start a new company that didn't have a name, didn't have a hotel. They had just two hotels in construction, wanted to create their own brand, offered me a job, offered me I could do what I want operationally, which sounded very intriguing.

I thought if I would do it, I would create the finest hotel company in the world. That was a dream I developed. Vision, very important for anybody to have vision in life and purpose. And because they said I can. They were investors and developers. [00:12:00] They said, yeah, okay, come on, do it. I joined. This group which we put on another hotel and got a name and we named it Ritz Carlton and I left 19 years later and for 14 years in Robey where we voted number one hotel company in the world.

William Vanderbloemen: I, I didn't know. That, you know, when someone says, Oh, that, that restaurant is ritzy, that the suit is very ritzy and, you know, it's a compliment for how the adjective didn't exist until you built that 

Horst Schultze: brand. No, no, it actually, it actually did. And there was a Ritz Carlton Hotel company in America in the twenties.

Ritz Kahn came in and created a hotel company, had 11 hotels, but they're all bankrupt and finished. One was left with a name in Boston. We bought that hotel. It was a dilapidated hotel, but we bought it and we adopted that name. We adopted that name. So the name was much older, but came back from, it came from Ritz [00:13:00] who created the Ritz in Paris, created Ritz in London.

His family came in and started the Ritz Hotel Company, which was successful, but then bankrupted all of them. And we re awaken that name, frankly. 

William Vanderbloemen: So the, the, the folks that started it in London and in Paris, which are amazing properties still they went bankrupt. And you guys said there's something to salvage from this.

Is that right? 

Horst Schultze: Not exactly because the hotel in Boston, which now owned the name was a dilapidated hotel, it was a terrible hotel, but they had a great location. And our. Owners company that hired me to run the company felt if we buy it, we would have a great location. We, we would re redo the hotel. We closed it for two years and renovated it.

But, and it felt that we can do that, but we didn't want the name. We want actually another name, but we found after we bought it, that the name was registered around the world, which helped a lot. So we [00:14:00] adopted the name anyway against. Divisions of my marketing vice president who said, I'm going to quit using that, that terrible hotel's name.

Well, then that's really interesting. It's a long story. It's a funny story. You know, of course. 

William Vanderbloemen: Yeah. How do you rehabilitate a brand? I mean, that's an interesting question. Right. How do you take a, 

Horst Schultze: Yeah, well, yeah, it's, it's, What is a brand? I mean, it's funny enough, people there was a, we had a focus group at that time and wanted to talk about brands.

They didn't know, again, we talked about hotels, but we talked about cars and so on. And then the, the, the, the facilitator said, what about, Cars and one of the focus group members and what about the hotels and one of the focus group members said there is no such thing than hotel brands and I was like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

How about Hilton higher chair that I married and he said, those [00:15:00] are names because it's not a brand because you can go from one of those hotels to the next. They're totally different. One is very good. One is very bad. It brand. Has a name and lives up to their promise everywhere. Wow. That was an interesting statement to me.

And I said, okay, now that means if I grow scaling in a way where I'm reliable in what I'm offering, no matter where you go, then I have a great brand. And so. We, I was very conscious that I wasn't building a hotel company, only I was building a brand. I was very conscious of that. 

William Vanderbloemen: Wow. And so as you built out the brand, what was the promise and how did you train people to fulfill it?

Horst Schultze: Well, Our internal prop promise was I got again from that matter D that we are here to instill well being in people. And so I question my my dream. The reason why I [00:16:00] joined is because I want to build the finest hotel company in the world. But as a leader, I have to ask myself, first of all, and that's a key element.

If you talk about that and ask myself, is that good for everybody? If I build the finest hotel company in the world, is that good for the, for the investors? It has to be good for the investors, otherwise they're not there. And the answer was yes. I didn't just answer yes. I wrote down why it would be good and why it would not be good.

I mean, and I spent a whole day on it. And the next, question that day was, is that good for every employee? The next, is it good for every customer? The next was, is it good for society as a whole? And I myself had to ask myself, now that's me. Now nobody has to listen to what I said now. I had, I had to ask myself, would God approve?

And the answer in all cases was yes. So in that moment, I had painted my, it myself in the corner. I couldn't compromise anymore what I was doing because after all, it was important for the investor, [00:17:00] for the employee, for society and for the, for the customer. So I had more, no more right to compromise it.

William Vanderbloemen: Hmm. Hmm. So as you built the brand out, how did you, you get a new employee? We talked before the recording. I have a daughter, a 23 year old who's one year out of college and she's actually working in the Ritz Carlton and a management training program and loving it. But when you're starting out and you're trying to teach new people, young people how to carry the brand of excellence, what have you learned over the years is important.

Horst Schultze: Yeah, but let me put another way. I'm hearing a lot of people saying we don't have an employee or I heard people saying that there are some bad employees and so on. Wait a minute. If you had a bad employee, maybe that employee was raised wrong by his mother. But you were the dummy that hired him.

So if he is a bad employee, why did you hire him? [00:18:00] So wait a second, if that's a bad employee, it's your fault. Either you're hired wrong, selected wrong, or you're oriented wrong, or you're trained wrong, or you have the wrong work environment. One of the four things happened. It's you, leader. That's why you're a leader.

It's you. It's not the employee. That's, that's the issue, man. My, my goodness. I mean, what, what, what is your role as a leader? What's your role? Ah, if it doesn't work, blame them. Blame them. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. No, no. My channel manager wouldn't have done that with me and blamed the employees because I wouldn't have accepted it.

And so, so that means, let's look at it differently. What is a great company? A great company, let's look at that for a moment. What is a great company? If you would look at your left and see in your left [00:19:00] and your mind, a lot of people, this is your market and your potential market. And look off the right, there are a lot of people too, those are your employees.

Now as a credit company, I know what that market expects from my product. Not what I do, but what does that market expect ideally from my product. Now, as credit managers, as a credit manager, I create the environment, and I know, I create, I create the processes, the systems. the controls, the measurements to be sure I deliver what The market wants, I also make sure the employees do it and know it.

As a credit leader, I create the environment in which the employees want to do what the customer wants. Now I have a great company. So I know the market, the employees are aligned to the expectation of the market and want to deliver what the [00:20:00] customer wants. I can only create that kind of employee if I select them right, orient them right, train them right and have the right environment.

William Vanderbloemen: Let's, let's talk about selecting them right. You know, back to the you're the dummy who hired him. That's funny. Cause we, we have a lot of smart clients who are not very good at hiring. So when, you know, when we wrote this book that we just put out as a study of all of our, our very best candidates we've ever interviewed and what they have in common.

And you know, it's called be the unicorn. You know how to the 12 habits that separate the best [00:21:00] leaders from the rest. And in that study, a lot of time we spent was saying what, what is it that marks an excellent person in the interview. So I would love to hear what you've learned as you interview people.

How, what kind of radar do you have going on to say this person matches the brand promise and we can train or no, don't hire them. They were raised badly by their mother or whatever.

Horst Schultze: Well, we generally hire by gut feeling. I mean, we've been frankly, I can't, I don't, I won't give you a very good answer here because we went outside and hired an outside company.

First of all, to identify the basic talent needed in every job category that we have. Hmm. And then identify that if that talent existed in the person that we interview and the, the company with talent Plus is the name of the company, identified the question to ask in order and, and the answers needed, and so on, so on, so on.

But we also [00:22:00] ident identified other needs that we wanted to, to to see like, like, like, like values. In the employee and learn through the, through the outside company, what to do, but, but the problem, right? Lies. Yeah. And how to do that? Right. Of course. And you can do a lot of it yourself, but it, it starts with something deeper that people, you and every company, please forgive me when I said that.

I just tried to challenge you hire people in order to fulfill a certain function. You know, you, you hire them to fulfill, in my case, we hired them, some of them to clean toilets, a function, to cook, others to cook food, to check people in, to make the rooms, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, the chair in which you're sitting is fulfilling a function, but you're hiring human beings.

So we didn't hire, we didn't hire, not during my time. We offered people to join our vision to become the finest hotel company in [00:23:00] the world. That changed the whole picture. Bang, all of a sudden, I'm offering you purpose from day one, rather than function. That's good. The next thing we saw, that's a process.

Hiring is a process and you have to say, how can you maximize the result of that process? You don't have to have an outside company, but it can still be better and listen better and so on. I mean, like in general, now, now we didn't. Eliminate the gut feeling in it after we, that they passed. I, I, I, I, after a channel manager passed potential channel manager passed the hiring criteria that we had, I interviewed them.

I want also still want to know, do I want to sit besides them and have fly to, to Hong Kong with them? And, and, and I want to feel, do I want to work with that person? Do I feel, do I feel right? And so that, that wasn't eliminated and end. [00:24:00] I wanted them to understand my expectation before they even start working.

Yes, it is. I want them to be very clear to them that I don't compromise. Hmm. I don't compromise. I want to be clear. It's not just a creator teller. It's a Ritz Carlton. You have to understand us what is our way of doing business. Yes, you may have worked in the finance in the world, but you may have to change some things because we have our way of doing business based on our study of our market.

So that has to be clear. So this, that was part of the interview. The next thing is orientation, which every company does wrong. What did I say? I said every company. Yeah. You've got my attention. And I, can I repeat that? Every company, all of you outside do it wrong. I don't know. I have, I listened to so many.

Here's what happens when you interview, when you have people come to work the first day, you let them fill out the papers, some insurance papers and all kinds of papers. And then you [00:25:00] give them. The rules of the company and the handbook, and then you make a team speech. We're a team here, blah, blah, blah, you know, but, but you don't give it any objective.

You don't give them the vision of the company. What is a team? A team is a group of people who have a common objective. Wow. No, no. So, so my common, my objective was I'm at the railway. You are here to help us to get the best in the world. Manio.

So, so, oh, and then, oh, wow. Let me finish the first day. Yeah. Yeah. What, what do you do? And then they spill the new way that. And you would have given him all your speeches of team and all the stuff he went through. And then you say, Bill, now I want you to work with Joe. Joe, he's here nine months, he knows the ropes.

Suddenly you're in the rope business. And then... You turn [00:26:00] Bill, the new waiter, over to Joe, the old waiter, and on the way to the kitchen, Joe tells Bill, this company sucks. That's his orientation. Don't kid me, that's happening everywhere. Now, what do you, what do we expect? Now, with our orientation in, in Ritz Carlton, the first 50 Ritz Carltons, we didn't have 50 when I left, but we left some, we lost some, and so on in between.

I opened, I opened, I gave the orientation the first day, no matter if that was Shanghai or Osaka or Berlin or Philadelphia. I gave the orientation, I went there and I said, and I told them how important they are. And the first day we talked to them about the behaviors that they have to have, who we are, number one.

And then how we have to behave with guests. You see. Behavior cannot be taught after you're 16 years old. [00:27:00] It's said behavioral analysts will tell you that. Unless... There is a significant emotional event taking place in a person's life, then you can teach behavior. And the first day of work is a significant emotional event, and you're teaching and you're turning them over to another employee and, and teach rules of the company.

No, no. We don't teach them. We're here to look people in the eye when they arrive within 10 feet and say, good morning. And we don't say hi. We say, sir, ma'am, gentlemen. Et cetera, et cetera. Behavioral elements, how we talk to each other. I role played how you talk to each other, how we, it, how we define ourselves being excellent with each other and so on.

So, and that is the first day that's orientation. That's good. In a second day, still part of behavioral teaching is we teach them the 20 things. That our customer, our market says are [00:28:00] important to them, they expect from us, from our product. 20 things, very careful, all day long. And those 20 things, we repeat one of them every day.

You cannot go to work, we repeat one of them. And, and we, today we may repeat. Point number 12. If a guest asks for direction, don't point, take him there. You see, there, there you are. Oh, forgive me very much here. We, we teach point number 12. Today, very careful, we teach what to discuss while you take him there.

You say, sir or ma'am, what doesn't matter. Are you a guest in the hotel? It doesn't matter if he says yes or no. The next you say, well, I hope you had a chance to try our restaurant. Everybody raves about it. And you take them in a great relationship. You're nice and say, yeah, sir, this is your meeting room right here.

Have a wonderful day. And, you know, this, this, this basic non [00:29:00] negotiable for our company, I tell you something now how companies work, Western got the number one compliments in our company in every hotel when that happened. People exuberant about it. What an unbelievable, I just asked, he stepped around the front desk and took me there.

Because every day people arrive and ask, where is that, where's the restaurant, where's the, where's the meeting rooms, where's, where's the toilet, whatever. And they're talking, so number one compliment, by the way, when I left the company, the company eliminated that as a, as a non negotiable, took it off the list, even though it was the one number one comment.

That's how companies think. Well, that takes too much time. That costs money. We cannot think like that. We can, I don't, if it costs money, that's okay. As long as the guest is happy and wants to come back. 

William Vanderbloemen: Yes. Excellence. Money follows excellence, right? 

Horst Schultze: Absolutely. Our number one [00:30:00] objective, every employee knew it, was to convince the guest to want to come back.

Because I knew the average age of our guests, I knew lifetime, they have a value of about 200, 000 without referrals to others. So I'm saving a few cents by walking them to the meeting room. You must be kidding me. 

William Vanderbloemen: Well, this, this, this brings me to an interesting thought that's going through my head.

You know, the the customer is always right. 

Horst Schultze: That's the one thing I didn't delegate. I can decide, I was the only one, I said, I can decide if the customer is not right. 

William Vanderbloemen: Okay, so the customer is right, unless you say they're not. 

Horst Schultze: I'm sorry, that's right. And we had some customers that were not right.

William Vanderbloemen: Well, there's a lot of customers that think they're right, that's for sure. Yeah, so, so, so most of our listeners are in some form of service industry, and they're probably dealing with demanding people that think that they're right all the time.[00:31:00] What are some quick tips that you have for dealing with unreasonable expectations from your guests?

Horst Schultze: Well, you, you, you, you go into the, to the relation to the discussion with the mind that the guest is right. That the, the guest is happy and the guest, you, you ask them, you just keep on saying when the guest complains about something, you say, you, you, first of all, you don't, you never. Never ever point to somebody else.

You have to take it on yourself. When you, if you get a complaint, that's an unreasonable complaint. You get the complaint, if the guest is right or wrong, you own the complaint. You own the complaint. If you're the busboy and you complain about the TV, you own the TV. So you look them in the eye. First of all, you listen.

Then you show empathy for the situation, no matter what. And then you apologize. You apologize. But here's, particularly to the [00:32:00] ones that were wrong, that are wrong. It says, please forgive me, then they start 60, 94%, 94 to 96 percent of people that complain, all they want to do is get rid of frustration, even the ones that are wrong.

So yeah, except the frustration, see, forgive me when you do that, they're embarrassed that they even complained, the ones that are unreasonable, they're the ones that want something they want. To get something. And you don't offer that. You don't offer that. You have nothing to offer.

But if they're, if they're somewhat right, like the guest comes in to the coffee shop in the morning and the busboy said, good morning, sir. Hope you have a nice day. And the guest said, I didn't, my TV didn't work. In that moment, you own the TV, busboy. You said, please forgive me. You got through problem resolution.

Number one, listen. Number two, show empathy. Oh, no, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. I, [00:33:00] I will make it up. I don't charge you for breakfast. See, I empowered the employees to make a decision up to 2, 000 to make sure you don't lose a customer. 

William Vanderbloemen: Let's let's stop right there. I want to park on that for a minute. So every employee has An allowance to solve problems, right?

Yeah. And just, just solve it. Solve it. Okay. And, and that requires an enormous amount of training and then a release of some decision making, correct?

Oh, yeah. 

Horst Schultze: Empowerment. I mean, everybody talks about empowerment, but nobody has powers. Yeah. You know, so you realize when I, when I started this and said, you have the right to every employee has the right to 2, 000. Owners of hotels threatened to sue me and my vice presidents came to me and all and said, we cannot do that.

And I said, we're going to do it because Very simple. I want to tell my employees that I trust them [00:34:00] and I want to keep the customer. And guess what? It was a major success. Nobody ever gave 2, 000. 

William Vanderbloemen: That's just a 2, 000 for the lifetime of the employee? Or is that 2, 000 every month? Anytime, anytime. 

Horst Schultze: Anytime they have a situation, he can make, he can resolve it and, and, and spend up to 2, 000.

William Vanderbloemen: Wow. So, all right, now I want to put you on the spot. 

Horst Schultze: Nobody ever did it. Nobody ever spent. 

William Vanderbloemen: Well, what would be one of the more creative solutions you remember somebody offering that, that worked? 

Horst Schultze: All kind of things happen. Okay, I tell you, a thing that was worth millions of advertising for us was the honeymoon couple in Cancun, but that lost a ring on the, on the beach.

Dark and dark and dark, and they're crying, and then the scene, and people are helping digging, the more you dig, the more it's gone. I mean, when the evening was over, the, the the attendance, the speech of the, attendance. Who know the manpower went and bought [00:35:00] four metal detectors. They didn't have to ask.

Wow. And they came and found the ring. Wow. In the room called every newspaper. I would tell every radio station one was on TV and everything and talk. So that's creative. 

William Vanderbloemen: Wow. Wow. But that begins with empowerment too. Too many of us. Well you, you helped start a company, too many of us who start a thing, I think have a hard time releasing control.

Well any, any other suggestions on how to your, your book excellence wins, which I can't recommend highly enough to everybody listening. I have a book called culture wins. Cause we, we won all these awards for best place to work and all this sort of thing. So somebody said, you should write a book.

And I said, why? And they said, well, cause sooner or later you won't be winning the awards. So right. So we wrote the book and we studied other companies that have won awards. And of course Ritz Carlton was at the top and I read the new gold standard, which is a [00:36:00] book about the brand at some level. When you write about excellence, winning.

How do you, how do you make sure that people don't forget the mission? Like, what do you do with your, what did you do with your teams to remind them if it's daily or weekly or monthly or what have you that, that same lesson that you taught in the orientation? 

Horst Schultze: Look you took culture and let's put the same thing in money.

I had hotel, had hotels in five continents. And while I was running the company, everyone, everyone of those hotels were number one in their location. So how do we do that? Because, because the culture to, to scale that is not easy because so, as I said, You cannot go to work. We have a, we have a, a roll call and a five minutes meeting before every shift.

You cannot go to work without going through it. In that sh in that shift, we re re repeat one of the non-negotiables. To date may be number 12. In 20 days it will be [00:37:00] again, at the same time. One of the number one in these non-negotiables is our creed. Who we are. Ritz Carlton Hotel is a place where Shannon can come for our guests, our highest mission and so on.

You learn again, our creed and every 20 days, if you know it or not, you have, we have, it is all written down in a small form, which every employee has to carry. Every employee has to carry this. They are the 29 negotiables. There is the creed. There is the vision of the company, the mission of the company.

And, and the objective of the company, which is number, number one objective, keep the existing customers. Wow. So, and every day that, so today's discussion may be number 12 in every hotel around the world. And we share what is news in that five minute meeting, what is new in the company. We announced that we will just sign a contract in ing where we will have a [00:38:00] hotel, for example, so that people feel part of the company.

So the same discussion is taking, the same conversation is taking place in every hotel around the world today. Wow. We build the culture and the thinking. What is, what's the culture? The culture is a common belief of the organization. How do I make sure I have a common belief in Nanjing and in Shanghai and in Berlin and in Philadelphia by having the same conversation?

Wow. And that's every day. It's all a process, man. It's all, yeah, every day. Tomorrow is it's basic number, non negotiable number 13, next day 14, next day 15. And in 20 days it's 12 again. Wow. 

William Vanderbloemen: Wow. Well, I think I feel like when I say our values, I've communicated it. So why do I need to say it again? But it sounds like repetition is the only way to scale.

Horst Schultze: Listen, somebody, when they didn't do it, some channel managers. I noticed they didn't do it anymore. I said, why? Why? Because they all know. You said they know. Well, then I told them, [00:39:00] they got them all together and said, anybody in the room who doesn't know what Coca Cola is? Nobody. So you all know what Coca Cola is.

Then why do they spend billions of advertising? To keep it front of mind. Why wouldn't we keep front of mind what is important for the company will make us number one in the world. Come on. Simple. That's good. And I never had a meeting, never had any, any meeting and have a few meetings every day without saying, okay, we shouldn't have this meeting unless it makes us number one in the world.

Hmm. Our vision is that we will be known as number one in the world. If you accomplish that. This thing doesn't serve us, we shouldn't do anything unless it moves us closer to being number one in the world. Period. Well, 

William Vanderbloemen: you accomplished it. You are an adjective, 

Horst Schultze: and with a... Let's, let's, let's say it. After it's gone, I retired on a Friday, I started a new company on Monday, Capella, [00:40:00] which is now rated number one in the world.

Now I sold it three years ago, but you know, but it works. I work with other companies, it works. Just concentrate on what makes you successful, what the customer wants. 

William Vanderbloemen: Excellence wins. Yeah. Well, I've learned a ton and I'm sure that our listeners today have done the same. I appreciate you continuing the mission of excellence.

 Is there, is there anything that if you could go visit with a 14 year old Horst and you could say, well, now I know a few things. Here's what I wish I would have known back then. What's one, one lesson you would love to pass on to a younger version of you? 

Horst Schultze: Again, this whole thing, it's Your decisions determine your destiny.

Question, are your decisions of high intent? Or are you decision, are you just working [00:41:00] even without decisions? What does decision determine your destiny? Look with everything, I mean, we, we have to understand is our decisions in life. We, we are, we as a country and as a society, the Western society has given up to understand that.

We run around and just do things and follow. And we are followers, we're not thinkers anymore. When I see how we... How we vote, how we make decisions. It's, it's not thinking anymore. I mean, everything is a decision. Everything. Let me give two silly example. Marriage. When I got married, I made a decision that I will be in love, not just love my wife.

 No, no. In love for the rest of my life. That's a decision. I'm 45 years married. I am madly in love with my wife. Now, wait a second. After I make decisions, I have to apply. Which creates that I have to [00:42:00] do things. Hey guys, why don't you sit down with your wife and ask her how you can be a better husband?

Start like that. Make a decision. No, and or, or another decision. Think about it. An argument. If I'm, we, we, I talk with a, with a good friend, with me, a, a very good friend, a great guy, a wonderful guy, great friend. A, a proud atheist. We discussed this issue and I said it's the, it's a decision. You made the decision not to believe.

I made the decision to believe. But the difference that I made the decision for hope and he against nothing, for nothing. But it's a decision. But, but, but since we are followers, we don't make the decision. We just follow what society says you would, is, should be, looks good right now. So maybe right now I shouldn't believe because after all society's proposed it.[00:43:00] 

Yeah. And I, I'm not trying to sell anybody. I'm trying to say that the power of a decision, it's enormous. Yes, 

William Vanderbloemen: but is it, was it Aristotle, maybe, I forget my philosophers, who said excellence is not an act. It's a habit. It's a 

Horst Schultze: habit. 

William Vanderbloemen: It's decision after decision after decision 

Horst Schultze: after decision. Actually, it's not, it's no accident.

It's a high intent, decisions of high intent and hard work to get, get there. 

William Vanderbloemen: Well, well, this has been an excellent decision for me to invest some time learning from you, and I'm sure that our other listeners feel the same way. Thank you so much for making time. The book again is Excellence Wins, and we're going to include in our show notes links to HORST's website.

And let me just encourage you, if you run a larger organization and you want... Horse to come speak to your group. That is something he does and does very, very well. So please keep an eye out for ways you can do that. As always, you can go to vandercast. com and leave us your email address. We will not beat you up with offers and special things.

We'll just send you the show notes so that you can link to Horst and meet my new friend. So Horst, thank you so much for joining us. 

Horst Schultze: God bless you. Goodbye. And you as well.