The Ritz Carlton

The Ritz Carlton

Horst Schulze, former president of the Ritz Carlton Hotels company, is known for his masterful ability to create a culture of first-class service. Under his leadership, his companies have received some of the highest awards their industry gives. When asked, “How did you build this culture,” Horst can literally give you hours of discussion on the things that shape an environment of friendly, helpful service.

Part of establishing that culture involves teaching every employee that it is “your responsibility” to take care of needs, questions, and concerns customers bring to you. Schulze describes this like going to your mother’s house. When you visit momma’s house, she wants to take care of everything. In one interview, Schulze mused, “Mom never called the manager when there was a problem. She said, ‘Come here, I’m here for you.’” In his experience, a top-notch service culture is created when every employee purposefully takes the time to handle any problem and see its solution all the way to the end.

Christians can learn a lot from this philosophy. A lot of Christians have developed a habit of passing on struggles that brothers and sisters share with them. We say, “Well, maybe you need to talk to the preacher or the elders.” Don’t get me wrong. There is certainly a time and place for that. Yet, some do it as our default response to practically every burden shared. Consider God’s encouragement on this matter…

* 1 Thess. 5:14 – And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

* Gal. 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

* Rom. 15:1 – We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

No doubt, it takes a very focused effort to change a habit of “passing-on” burdens. It requires that we focus on learning how to address burdens. Much of that training, though, comes through the experience of being there for people. We need to learn to say, “I’m here for you,” instead of, “Let me find the manager.” If Horst Schulze can do it with a company like Ritz Carlton, certainly we can do it as the family of God.

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