Getting to Yes, And

Horst Schulze: Excellence Wins


Horst Schulze

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Kelly talks to hotel impresario Horst Shulze whose new book, "Excellence Wins," speaks to the kind of collaborative and purpose-driven leadership that leads to success.

You talk in the book about how we need to bring what’s important to us as human beings into the workplace, and I’ve often wondered why we think we need to check our humanity at the door when we come to work.

“And it's such a disservice to ourselves after all,  since we spend more of our life at work than anywhere else. And it's a time to define yourself; it is a time to enjoy creating excellence rather than just fulfilling its function. Why do we hire people to fulfill some functions? Why don't we select people to join us in our dreams and our visions and our commitments. And now I want in on our future.  I don't know why this differentiation existed. I think it goes back a long time when there was much more of a hierarchy in the world, but it should be gone by now.”

One of the policies you enacted was that every employee - from busboy to general manager - could spend up to $2000.00 to make a guest happy.

“I didn't do it because I just wanted to make a silly decision. We had analyzed very clearly that our average customer was 43 years old. So they had the chance to travel 30 more years. Our average business traveler in a given location repeated four or five times a year and stayed about two days. And we could influence them to spend vacations with us at other locations. So we knew that potentially a customer that will served was worth $200,000 lifetime. So wouldn't I make every effort not to lose that customer?”

You have a quote in the book about needing to lead yourself before you can lead others. Talk to us about that?

“You have to lead yourself. You can't have feelings lead you. You lead yourself. I'm still in love with my wife: that's my decision and I work on it. But that's my decision. So I have to be the leader of myself and my future and my life. I have to go to work and know that I'm defining myself at work. There is eight hours of my day in life there. Why wouldn't I make the decision no matter what that will define myself as excellent there? So those are all leadership decisions that leaders should make overall for themselves and for their people, but an individual has to make it for themselves first.”

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