Yu Darvish and The Ritz Carlton Hotels

I don’t usually follow baseball, but I do follow Yu Darvish.  And you should too.  Even if you hate  baseball.

Why?  Because the guy  shows all of us what it means to be great.  He  excels as a pitcher [he went almost 9 innings yesterday without giving up a single run] plus  he shows us  the personal qualities needed to be a champion. Personal qualities like working hard, learning, driving for excellence.

Darvish was  the best pitcher in Japan.  Now, he wants to be the best pitcher in the Major Leagues.

After one of his first wins, he wasn’t satisfied.  He did not gloat. He said, “I still have a lot to learn. I want to learn more about each of the batters on the other teams.”

This is what it takes to be a champion.

He reminds me of my friend Ricco De Blank, who is now the CEO  of the Hotel Division, of Sun Hung Kai Properties.

I met Ricco when he was the General Manager of the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo. While there, he set the bar high for everyone including himself. He didn’t want to run a hotel that was going to be “just another five star property” in Tokyo.

He and his staff  decided they would  create a hotel that would be “the best hotel in the world.”

And you know what? They did, or at least close to it. With more than 100,000 hotels in the world, in  polls conducted by Conde Nast Traveler, The Ritz Carlton Tokyo was ranked in the top 15 in the world. [I had dinner there recently and it was excellent. Service and food were perfect.]

But Ricco wasn’t done yet.  One of the hotels owned by Sun Hung Kai properties, the Ritz Carlton Shanghai, was selected as the Top Hotel in the World in 2011.

Ricco had already achieved a high degree of success in his career, like Yu Darvish, but he wanted to achieve more.  He did not sit still. He kept on doing what he needed to do to achieve even greater excellence.

What’s next for Ricco?  I haven’t asked him, but I am sure he’ll work with his team to stay on top, to make the the hotel even better and do what it takes to land even more of his companys ‘s hotels  in the top 10. [Sun Hung Kai Properties has a portfolio of premium hotels including the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels  in Hong Kong]

What’s next for Yu Darvish?  He too I am sure will  keep at it. He’ll keep learning.  He’ll keep winning.

Ricco De Blank and Yu Darvish left positions where they were already successful, and in their new places, they push for even a higher level of excellence.

It’s so easy to be satisfied when we achieve a certain level of success.  It’s so easy to just coast along.  It’s so easy to say  something like “our restaurant is better than most.”  It’s so easy to say, “I’m a pretty good swimmer.”, but if you want to be great at something, if you want to be the best at something, you need to really work at it and keep on working at it in order to achieve excellence.


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