Leadership in Action

By Kimberly Crowther Miller, Class 22
Communications Director, DC Ranch Community Council

On Sept. 22, I attended the Leadership Summit Arizona at The Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix. I looked forward to a full day of inspiration promised by Experience That Talks, the conference producers. Scottsdale Leadership, Phoenix Speakers Bureau, Phoenix Business Journal, The Ritz-Carlton and Grand Canyon University were the partners that made the event possible. Each of the speakers delivered on that promise as they spoke on what leadership is and how organizations can encourage leadership among its employees.

What I found especially inspiring, however, was not just what I heard, but what I saw throughout the day: The Ritz-Carlton employees were literally demonstrating leadership in action. At first I thought what I observed was simply exceptional customer service. The Ritz-Carlton, after all, has the reputation for delivering quality service, which I just chalked up to being a hallmark of a high-end hotel.

As I listened to the presentations, however, I realized that The Ritz-Carlton staff wasn’t just demonstrating excellent customer service — they were empowered leaders. Each member of the Ritz Carlton team genuinely understood and embraced their roles at leaders. The Ritz Carlton representatives were attentive, pleasant, and helpful throughout the day. I felt welcome. The “extra mile” was evident in every detail from the continental breakfast that included whipped cream and chocolate chips for coffee, to the “Blackberry and Apple” afternoon break where attendees enjoyed blackberry smoothies and apple crème brulée while checking messages on Blackberries and iPhones.

The examples I give may sound trite, but afternoon speaker Diana Oreck, Vice President of the Global Learning and Leadership Center for The Ritz Carlton Company, explained how leadership values are instilled in the company’s culture at every level of the organization. When everyone understands his or her role as a leader, then the business, company, or organization can become a leader in its industry.

The memory of the conference will stay with me for a long time. But not only because of the presentations and amazing snacks, but also because of how The Ritz-Carlton staff made me feel – inspired.

What experience have you had where the entire staff of an organization is empowered?

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