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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Jul 31, 2019

Horst Schulze is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Capella Hotel Group, and Co-founder & Former COO of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and author of EXCELLENCE WINS: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise. From age 14, his visionary and disruptive principles have reshaped the concepts of excellence, service, and competitive advantage, transcending hospitality and across industries.


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The Leadership Podcast is proud to announce a new initiative with thoughtLEADERS to provide very short podcasts called “chalk talks.” They’re “bitesize” hacks on common (but challenging) leadership issues. 


You can only access the Chalk Talks by subscribing to our mailing list at The Leadership Podcast


In addition, listen in to learn how 10 of you can apply to be selected to participate in the March 2020 Self-Reliant Leadership Crucible and Podcast Guest Reunion in Austin, Texas! It’s an exclusive event only for past Crucible participants and Podcast Guests, so this is a very unique opportunity.


If you want to be one of the ten lucky listeners who will get to attend this event… click on the link below to send in your submission.  We will make our selection on Veterans Day (11/11/19) so get your submission in by November 8th, 2019.


The only other way to participate is through corporate sponsorship. If that’s of interest, please send a note to

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Key Takeaways 

[2:51] Horst left home at the age of 14 to go work in a hotel, as he had a passion for the industry at a young age. He lived inside the hotel, and a Maitre d showed him what it meant to set a standard of excellence and respect no matter the job title or status. 

[6:05] Horst wrote an essay in school based on the ethos that the hotel is made up of “ladies and gentlemen that serve ladies and gentlemen”. This reflected his idea that every individual in an organization is worthy of respect and the chance to contribute to the larger version of excellence. 

[9:33] At the Ritz Carlton, Horst and his team believed in empowering all workers to make decisions that would serve the purpose of keeping the customer at all costs. They could even spend up to $2,000 to do so, and Horst found this initial cost at the start saved money and loyal customers over time. 

[14:27] Great leaders measure excellence and adapt around their findings. Horst consistently examined the Ritz Carlton with employee and guest satisfaction rates to see what was working, and what they could do better. 

[16:51] When we create processes under one objective and make sure everyone involved understands, it creates actions that are aligned with the purpose. 

[20:06] The little things that show people you care go a long way. At the Ritz Carlton, Horst made sure his employees were properly selected and trained, and showed guests they were focused on making their experience one of a kind. 

[25:56] Vision is so important, and people will be more on board when they are part of the dream and find purpose when they are part of the objective. 

[28:44] There is a difference in keeping with tradition and being stubborn with non negotiables. Horst puts decisions under the lens of it being good for all concerned. If it is under the umbrella of serving everyone, then it there is no compromise. However, if it doesn’t serve everyone, then be willing to adapt. 

[28:44] Great leaders question everything.  

[38:35] Give employees purpose, don’t just think of them as a way to perform a function. 

[39:02] Millenials have been asking what’s in it for them, younger generations may have just been too afraid to ask. 


Quotable Quotes 

  • “In life no matter what you do, you define yourself by how you do it.” 
  • “It’s not society that defines you. You define yourself.” 
  • “The vision creates the passion.” 
  • “Purpose is the directive of what you do, and how you do it.” 
  • “Once you figure out what’s good for everybody, it’s the moral thing to do.” 


Ritz Carlton

Capella Hotels 


Website | Excellence Wins