Hospitality Leadership Series On ‘Professional Visibility’: Heartburn vs Insomnia


Seasoned executive search professionals and human capital advisors, Thomas Mielke and Andrew Hazelton share their thoughts on achieving ‘professional visibility’.

Heartburn versus Insomnia (as published in Hotels Magazine).

We are in week eight of the new year and it is fair to say that 2019 is well and truly underway. But ask yourself this, does the same hold true for your own new year’s resolutions…? Chances are that the answer to this question is a resounding “no”. As part of our personal brand building and professional visibility leadership series, we have therefore decided to inspire hospitality executives and to provide them with the one new year’s resolution which should be easy to live up to – and, if pursued rigorously, it can proof powerful in helping executives to enhance their own personal brand.

You see, most of us fairly quickly give up on our resolutions as we are too ambitious or unrealistic in our plans and expectations. What we are suggesting here, though, is simple in its form, yet incredibly impactful – and all it takes is the curation of a new habit. Most new year’s resolutions involve changing habits – but this is their downfall as changing an ingrained behaviour is a lot more difficult than nurturing a new one… So, let’s look at research around a question which we are all very familiar with:

What keeps you up at night?”

A popular, albeit nowadays a trite, rhetorical question posed to clients and audiences around the world by business consultants and self-appointed management gurus. Of course, we can appreciate its underlying sentiment; namely that A-players worry about achieving maximum performance and overcoming any barriers to it. But rather than experiencing proverbial “insomnia” grounded in welled-up anxiety, Aethos Consulting Group™ suggests that high-potential individuals constantly do waking “double-takes” about their performance. You can read some specifics here.

The gist of the study is that people who profile as being the most receptive to coaching and development programs make it a daily practice to constantly self-reflect how to “up their game.” This is quite different than staying awake or dreaming at night pondering what to do the next day. Metaphorically speaking (and sometimes literally), individuals who want professional visibility can be said to have “nagging heartburn” versus “episodic insomnia.”

So, from next week onwards we suggest starting to question yourself a bit more, to re-evaluate your plans or actions and to see things through the lens of your counterparts. All it takes is to stop periodically and to re-evaluate your actions. Perhaps start with two times per day and ask yourself “How productive has my morning/afternoon been?”, “Have I achieved what I set out to do, and, if not, what will I do differently next time around?”…. Such new routine can help create a habit of reflection and self-assessment and, in the mid- to long-term, can help improve one’s “executive profile.”