How The Ritz-Carlton Creates a Legacy Culture

Is legacy a significant factor in your organization's management style?


One of the key management principles of The Ritz-Carlton is building a legacy leadership culture, which is a significant differentiator between merely managing vs. leading. In this video, Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir, professor of global leadership studies at University of Virginia and former senior corporate director at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, talks about the core leadership values and behaviors that her organization embraces to create a legacy culture. From understanding the definition of legacy leadership to actively incorporating the concept within your organizational culture, Jill explains that the heart of legacy begins with asking yourself this question: "What will my role, department or organization look like when I'm gone?" Legacy, like vision, is based on creating a preferred future and working toward leaving a positive impact that continues for generations. Leave a comment! When you look to the future, what do you imagine your legacy will be? What is your impact on your family, colleagues, community?

So legacy, I think, is what's left behind, when you go on, and I think that's the most important. A lot of leaders, they have their own agenda, but they don't understand what's going to happen to that organization when they leave.

So when you actually look at the legacy, it's about: Am I leaving this organization better than it was when I got here? How can I really set it up for success? So for me personally, where I build things, I love to create things, I never want to leave things in shambles. I want to make sure that they're amazing, that they're going to go on forever. So when I talk about when I helped to be a founder of one of the sororities on campus, that sorority is still thriving. That sorority is the biggest sorority on campus right now. That's a legacy that will go on forever. How do you continue to leave these legacies? At the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, I was the first, "Kind of sales business development person." What is the Leadership Center going to look like when I move on?

When I talk to clients all the time, I tell them, "You're going to move on to bigger and better things one day. But what is that organization going to be like when you leave?" If you set that cultural framework up to be able to survive when you actually move on, it shouldn't be about just the leader at that time. It should about the culture. I had the pleasure of working with Horst Schulze, one of our founders of The Ritz-Carlton. I've worked with Mr. Simon Cooper, who was amazing. I'm working with our own Herve Humler, who is our President.

All amazing leaders, but the culture never changed. They brought amazing things to the table. They brought all new ways for us to go into different spas and different golfing and different properties. But the culture was the same, and they knew that. They knew that they had big shoes to fill every time they came in and that the culture had to stay consistent. It never, never changed in almost 15 years that I've been here. That's a legacy. They're leaving legacies every single time because they're leaving the organization even better off than when they got there, but they're not ruining the organization with their own agendas. They know the power of the organization. That's the legacies.


Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir

Dr. Jill Guindon-Nasir has a passion for sharing best practices, implementing lessons learned and achieving sustainable results. She has over 20 years in business and has served at The Ritz-Carlton for almost 15 years. Her past positions...

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