Leadership Lessons from Horst Schulze

Do you force or do you lead?

Horst Schulze started his career as a restaurant busboy at 14. He went on to be the co-founder of the Ritz Carlton Hotel group, famed for its high levels of customer service – including a rule that ANY employee could spend up to $2,000 to correct a problem experienced by a guest.

In this Harvard Business Review interview, Schulze explores what it takes to build a culture of excellent customer service and argues that all businesses need it to survive.

He says, “I am absolutely certain that nobody leaves their home in the morning, goes to work, and says, I’m going to make sure to be lousy. Nobody is saying that. Nobody has ever said that.

“But what is the difference between people, between organizations where people are nice and do the right thing, and the other organizations? It’s leadership. It’s simply leadership. That’s the difference between management and leadership. Managers force things to happen. And forcing things to happen, including forcing the employee to do certain things, cannot create employees that have the right style and the right attitude.

Leadership, though, creates that. Leadership creates an environment in which people want to do the job. And not have to do the job. They want to do the job because they have joined a mission and a purpose”.

Whether you’re a company of one or a large corporate, his philosophy will resonate. Listen here.


Be your Valentine

Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day this week. Here are two exercises that you can use to improve the love in your life.

First, list 15 things that you love about your life. It could include where you live, that you have a friend who is cooking you Sunday lunch, a memorable holiday, that your favourite perfume is in your cupboard, absolutely anything but list 15.

Second, list 15 things that you love about yourself. Yep, yourself. For most of us, that gets a little trickier.

Then, as my yoga instructors like to say, if you want to add on to this (code for: it’s about to get tricky) then select someone who you love and trust and share your lists with them. Maybe ask them to do the exercise and share the list with you.

Whether, you do one or all three steps you will definitely have a greater appreciation for the love in your life.


The electricity of diversity

In this amazing Tina Brown interview, Ian Schrager – the founder of iconic Manhattan nightclub Studio 54 – says something that resonated so powerfully with me “…when you put people of diversity together it creates an electricity…it’s very expansive, it’s like an interesting cocktail that bubbles up, that smoke comes out of…” Schrager was speaking about diversity in the context of creating a great party, but it struck me as a theme that is true of diversity everywhere. The statistics tell us that diverse workplaces generate better results but to say that diversity creates an electricity, an energy, a power is to my mind both more beautiful and captures the joy, the soul that diversity brings.

The interview explores themes from the opening night of Studio 54 to what it is like to rebuild a life after prison (Schrager spent time in jail for tax evasion). You get a sense of a life well-lived by a person who loves people. It’s a great Sunday listen.

And now, I am heading off to cook. Today, I am leaning heavily on the Tassajara Cookbook. I love it mostly because Edward Brown’s recipes follow my own philosophy of cooking with curiosity and taste rather than prescription. It’s just more fun.



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