17 August 2010

What I Learned from a Hospitality Genius



Have you ever known anyone who just seemed to think at a different, higher level? Someone who appeared to have many answers before the questions were even asked?

I’ve been blessed to know a couple people like that in my life. And as I listen to and learn from them, it seems that often what makes them seem so smart is their ability to rise above the details and look further into the future than most “normal” people can see.  Almost like someone stretching his neck above the clouds that hover around all of our heads, helping him avoid the limitations of the circumstances immediately at his feet and allowing him clearer sight of the path ahead.

I sat down recently with Horst Schulze, an acknowledged genius in the hospitality industry. Horst was the founding president and chief operating officer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, and I have had the blessing of getting to know him and his family over the last five years. On a trip to Atlanta I interviewed Horst, one of those unique and gifted thinkers, for the CCCA Online Training Conference on Sept. 23.

We had the camera rolling for about 30 minutes, but after I left his office, his words kept spinning around in my head, convicting me of areas where I fall short and giving me ideas and hope for the future. I’ll pass along this one thought from that conversation: the importance of a clear vision and mission.

One of the most important things any leader can impart is the knowledge of who you are as an organization. Even small camps and conference centers need to ensure they understand their mission, their calling. No, it’s not enough for the organization’s top-ranking leader to grasp this important focal-point of ministry and business. Every member of the team must also understand the mission and core values to ensure that their actions and attitudes help accomplish the mission.

The end goal is not that everyone in the organization, including board members, can recite the mission statement from memory. That does precious little good if no one lives by the mission statement and uses its principles to govern their thoughts, plans and actions. In Horst’s words, “It helps them understand why they do what they do and how it fits into the bigger picture. Their work and the ideas they will come up with will be so much better if they buy in and understand the mission.”

As soon as I left Horst’s office, I found a place where I could send an e-mail back to the staff at the CCCA national office. I wanted them to know I value them, appreciate them, need them and that I am here to support and represent them in all their work they do for our members. Horst holds a daily 10-minute stand-up meeting in the morning to let the whole team know what’s going on. He’s painting a picture of the ongoing mission as he brings the whole staff into his plans and activities. My e-mail back to national was an attempt to follow his example.

Please plan to join us for the Online Training Conference Sept. 23. You won’t want to miss this inspirational, educational, motivational opportunity delivered by each of our seven special guests.

One thought on “What I Learned from a Hospitality Genius

  1. A clear mission and core values shared by all staff is so important. And when that can be lived out as a team with a Kingdom vision, it’s even more powerful. Thanks for the reminder Greg!

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