with Ricardo Guerzoni, Director of Rooms,
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.
Me: I was so excited for this interview, Ricardo! As you know, Four Seasons is one of my favorite brands, mostly for the people. I am a "people person", and tend to gravitate towards those who are genuine and heart centered. So, how long have you been with the Four Seasons brand? and this location?
Ricardo: I have been with the company nineteen years; it will be twenty years, June next year. I have been in Orlando for the past seven years – I was part of the pre-opening team here.
Me: I have noticed for many years, that Four Seasons people tend to stay with the brand. It is rare that someone from Four Seasons will transfer outside the brand and go elsewhere. I think this speaks well to the company culture, and I also notice Four Seasons does tend to promote from within. Thoughts?
Ricardo: We do tend to transfer internally within our hotels and resorts. At every location you can learn new skills and continue to add more tools to one's toolbox.
There is no doubt a longevity to the company, and this relates to the Four Seasons culture and how employees identify with this culture. This relates to me, and how I may contribute to the inner well-being of colleagues and guests. While some may go to work just for a paycheck, others go to work to make an impact. It is a state of mind.
For those who do come to work just for a paycheck, the question is how can we make them feel they are contributing and adding value. Whether it is with someone in housekeeping, or the GM, we are all important in terms of the organization( hotel) as a whole. No one is more important than another. Making a positive impact for them, ultimately, does drive success. It is not about 'me', or 'you'– but all about teamwork.
Clearly, Ricardo is a leader, and truly a team player. His level of awareness is impressive. Coming from a pure place of intention, to want to add value; contribute; be of service to others; add to another's inner sense of well- being... are just a few of the qualities, in my opinion, that make someone like Ricardo, not only invaluable to his team, and corporate culture; but also to all those who may come in contact with him.
Me: You have such a high level of awareness, and also self- awareness. How do you maintain this level and consistency?
Ricardo: I think it is continuous growth for us all, and it is not easy. Every day is a different day, and I try my best to keep up with everything. Maintaining self-awareness is a continuous education, and a constant battle. What I perceive, may not be your perception, and how people perceive in their heart may be different from another's perception. Therefore, it is important to hear feedback on different levels and from other people.
Totally agree with Ricardo on all points.
Me: To your point about the importance of hearing others' perspectives, opinions, etc... I do think that not everyone is open to listen to perspectives and opinions if these may be different from their own. For this last year and a half especially, I listened to people who had such rigid opinions about many things, that seemed quite extreme on both sides, and they did not want to hear anything that was "contrary" to what they perceived.
As I listened to all sides and perspectives that my clients expressed, at the end of the day, I stayed in the middle, and sifted through what people had to say, and decided on my own, where I ultimately landed with my own beliefs about things, after listening to all perspectives. Thoughts?
Ricardo: Well, yes, these days everyone has an opinion, and unfortunately, most do not want to sit down and listen to others' perspectives. Ultimately, we should all be doing this, listening to all perspectives, as this is what can create some 'win-wins'. I think people in general are 'on edge' and things easily trigger their hot buttons.
Me: You also, are so balanced in your perspectives. How do you stay balanced and have serenity?
Ricardo: Well, I look for that answer, and it is not an easy answer. There are so many components to this. I love my time spent alone; I love time with my family; travel always opens horizons. Also,a quiet environment, which may include not being as connected to phone/TV. Can I do this often? No one wants to miss the next news, that could change something in life. There is such Information overload. This is difficult to answer, as there is not a simple solution or silver bullet.
What Ricardo shares about not a simple solution, or silver bullet, I think is so true. At every moment, if we are self-aware enough, we know what we need to do for ourselves, to stay balanced and have serenity.
Me: This last year and a half has been quite challenging, to say the least, for those in hospitality. Since your reopening in July of last year, how have things been?
Ricardo: Yes, we reopened in July 2020. Every day is a different day. We are fortunate since we are in a great place... the most magical place on earth. People come here for happy reasons.
The air and environment in Orlando, people are here to have fun and enjoy. It is always nice to remember this. Has it been easy? No. It has been challenging, but we have been able to discover new ways to do things and sharpen our imaginations. The way we manage, lead, and see things evolves.
Lots of people, including myself, hold a different value to what we do and what we have. Putting things into perspective, and having gratitude is important. Everyone is thankful to be here. We have a strong culture, and it is apparent in the behavior and how we treat others. Even for the new employees who joined us recently, they say how glad they are to be here, after leaving other challenging type of work environments.
So yes, things are challenging, but great. I think many have become better people through this. We can plan but not live in the future. With self-awareness, we understand it is a process and a journey, and this hopefully makes the journey 'less rocky.'
There is definitely something to be said for the one day at a time approach. Also, perspective, and an attitude of gratitude. What we appreciate, appreciates! Life is indeed a journey, and sometimes slower is faster. The more surrendered, the less stress.
Me: So, are there any great podcasts you like to listen to? good books?
Ricardo: I have a few books I am listening to on audible, as well as a class from The Great Course. I listen in the car on my way to and from work. The class is 'Critical Business Skills for Success' and it is on topics like business strategy, organizational behavior, etc..
The books are 'No Fear, No Excuses' by Larry Smith; 'What Happened to You?' by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Also, some great traditional type books – 'How to Own You Own Mind' by Napolean Hill; 'Think and Grow Rich, also by Napolean Hill.
Me: Thanks for sharing those. I am a big fan of audible as well. Right now, I am listening to a great book, a good friend/client suggested: "Letting Go – The Pathway of Surrender" by David Hawkins. It is really good, and I highly recommend. Dr Hawkins also wrote the book "Power versus Force," and I read that many years ago. Great as well.
Can never go wrong with Napolean Hill. Thanks for mentioning those 'traditional" and also classic titles.
This was such a great time that I had with Ricardo! What a joy, and what depth and insight he has. I am very blessed and grateful he took the time out of his busy week, to chat and share. I hope all those reading this, have gotten one/ more jewels they can take from this interview, and also incorporate into their own life and journey.
For more information on Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, in Orlando, Florida: