Leadership Solutions Blog

Leading Through Crisis, An Interview with Horst Schulze and Nathan Artt

Crisis Management- Ritz Carlton Style:

Nathan Artt, Principal and Owner of Ministry Solutions sat down with Horst Schulze, Co-founder, President & COO of Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and asked him to share his experience of managing through a crisis while maintaining excellence and caring for his employees. 

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Many leaders are seeking answers in this moment, but the surprising thing that Schulze brought up was that immediate answers will not solve anything in the long term. Agonizing over questions is what leads to the right answers. When you take time to think, you will realize what questions you should be asking so that you can find the right answers. Are you asking yourself the right questions?

In 2008, when the Ritz Carlton was going through the largest financial crisis of its lifetime, Schulze had to make hard decisions, including laying off some employees, in order for the company to survive. The Ritz Carlton had to operate less expensively without compromising customer experience. Schulze and his team asked, "how do we still do the right thing for our customers, investors, and employees?" They knew they had to be a source of comfort to their employees, even those who were laid off. They promised to be there for them as much as possible. They also knew that they could not sacrifice customer experience. They wanted to honor their customers, especially now when they were going through financial strain. They were grateful for every customer. 

As they agonized over the questions of how to move forward in an honorable and moral way, they did not come up with immediate answers. In fact, they knew the immediate answers were no good. It was through the wrestling of questions that they were able to find answers. 

Now as churches face the current COVID-19 crisis, they must wrestle with their own questions to find answers for their own specific situations.

The questions you ask yourself will begin your journey to clarity.

  • How do we do the right thing for our customers, investors and employees?
  • Are we still serving everyone well?
  • Are we honorable?
  • Are we moral?
  • Take appropriate steps when approaching problems: Analyze, Pilot and Implementation/Solution.

Join the conversation by filling out this survey or sharing your thoughts in the comments section about your experiences as a leader throughout this crisis.

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Interested in having Horst speak at your church or event? Or maybe interested in Horst consulting your ministry or team? Please contact Julie@jessicalalley.com for more information. 

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