The New War of the Worlds: Technology vs. Hospitality

Change should not be anything new in the restaurant and hospitality industry. With the advent of the smartphone, camera phones, and social media, guests have affected our industry in ways that were not even imagined 20 years ago.

While some establishments are slow to pick up new technologies, others are forging ahead with grandiose ideas of craft beer vending machines in their lobbies or drones delivering meals.

Suffice it to say, technology is here to stay, and it can help many businesses run leaner…but at what cost?

When Technology Helps

There are several ways that today’s technology helps your business flourish, including:

  1. Software that allows the dinner shift run smoothly (any restaurateur’s dream)
  2. Acquiring data to assess guest pain points to provide a solution to overcome them
  3. Building customer loyalty via social media
  4. Getting your name in front of new people with great reviews

Again, this is all fine and good…when it is kept in line with why we are in business – to provide hospitality to our guests and patrons.

When Technology Hurts

I’m not here to tell you to throw out that new app that helps your guests check into their room without stopping by your front desk.

What I am suggesting is that technology should be tempered with the one requirement that makes hospitality…well…hospitable.

We’re talking about your team.

Deanna Ting made a valid point in her article “10 Hotel Trends That Will Shape Guest Experience in 2017” when she said, “We don’t mean to, but sometimes, in the pursuit of efficiency and profit, we as an industry have forsaken our biggest and most important resource: humanity.”

There are no more significant means for delivering fantastic hospitality than through those who provide the service.

If your company is aiming to make a bigger impact on the world, then getting your team on the same page is more important than a fancy new software system, especially when they will be the ones utilizing that software.

It’s when we forget the human part of our business that we run the risk of stifled employee-guest interactions, poor customer experience, and our brand being tarnished on social media.

The Bottom Line

Embrace all the benefits that technology brings – satisfied guests, sustainable business, and working smarter – while keeping in mind that nothing says hospitality like the human touch an engaged team can bring to the table.

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Are You Missing Out on Career Opportunities by Playing It Safe?

Do you have goals and ambitions? Not the one-day-I’d-like-to-climb-Mt.-Everest type dreams.

I’m talking about the, I will be CEO of this company, or, I will get the next promotion kind of dreams.

Many people can shoot off far-fetched dreams of some outlandish idea so that it looks like they are moving forward. But in reality, they sit on their couch week after week watching National Geographic documentaries instead of getting out and doing something to climb the mountain.

Few people will make a goal happen by knuckling down and accomplishing what they set out to do.

What it boils down to this…your comfort zone is hemming you in; it’s just one way that you self-sabotage your future.

When Being Comfortable Is No Longer…Comfortable

Consider this.

How often do you start to dream a big dream only to stop dead in your tracks because you’re afraid to step out of your comfort zone?

Maybe you have grown accustomed to the routine of your life – get up, go to work, come home, watch some TV, and go to bed – same thing day in and day out.

Very routine.

Very comfortable.

Until one day, you find out that someone else has passed you by on their way to a new and exciting position that allows them to grow and experience opportunities you always wished for.

Your Inner Critic Is Stifling You

I’m not talking about throwing away all that you have built – family, career, community – like some character in a Hollywood movie.

But when it comes to reaching the next stage in your career or personal goals, a little risk is worth the discomfort of stepping up and stepping out.

The next time you get the itch to move forward in your career, take up extreme mountain climbing, or whatever you want to do, trust your gut.

Stop listening to the inner critic telling you that “you are not worthy.” We’ve all heard it. That still soft voice suggesting you should accept the status quo. It keeps you comfortable to the point you are rendered impotent – unable to help your business grow or reach that summit.

Start listening to the voice (i.e., your gut) reminding you of everything you’ve already accomplished that gives you the skills to move up to the next level.

The Bottom Line

There is nothing wrong with enjoying your comfort zone. But when you get the itch for something more, embrace the discomfort of stretching yourself and reaching new heights.

Trust yourself.

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



CAUTION: Success Isn’t for You (Unless You Reign in Your Mind)

Are you ready to spread your wings and go for that promotion? Or maybe you really want to move on to another organization, but you don’t think you have what it takes.

Working in the hospitality industry offers you unlimited opportunities to broaden your horizons. It’s no secret that our industry is growing worldwide.

With all the possibilities around, why are you remaining stagnate and not rising to the top like the star you are meant to be?

In a word…self-sabotage.

Self-Sabotage – the Enemy Within

You may not think you are your own worst enemy but in reality…you are.

You have skills. You have the desire. But something is holding you back.

Does this sound like you?

An opportunity opens up that you are excited about, but in a split second you talk yourself out of jumping on it with one little phrase, “I’m not good enough.”

That is just one example of self-sabotage. Others include procrastination, worry, unmet dreams, anger, or feeling of worthlessness.

All of which stop you from achieving your ambitions.

Practical Steps to Beat Self-Sabotage and Be Who You Are Meant to Be

If you want to move up to a position of leadership within your organization, you need to become the leader your employer is looking for. Take some firm and practical action steps to beat self-sabotage. Mind Tools offers these suggestions to overcome the cycle:

  • Stop to acknowledge those behaviors that keep you stuck.
  • Make a list of all the negative thoughts that you have.
  • Challenge yourself to stop the negative self-talk.
  • Rebuild your self-confidence with positive self-talk.

Breaking the cycle of self-sabotage isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

You Don’t Have to Stay Stuck

It’s time to stop being your own worst enemy and reach for the stars.

With all the opportunities available today, you don’t have to stay stuck in a position or company that is going nowhere. That’s like being stranded in the middle of the ocean on a dingy with no paddle. The world is your oyster, so pull up a chair and dig in!

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Seek and Destroy: Get Rid of Self Sabotage for Good!

You are your worst enemy because you know your weaknesses better than anyone else. Self-sabotage feeds on our fears and keeps us in a box, preventing us from dreaming bigger dreams – and executing those dreams. Psychologist Gay Hendricks calls this box our upper limits – the self-imposed glass ceiling we must smash to rise.

What happens when you hit that ceiling? You self-sabotage: procrastination, picking the wrong battles, deciding to be content, rather than brave. It’s time to fight back

Identify Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Dr. Lia Firestone explains a couple of very intimate reasons you place limitations on your potential:

Comfort. Your critical inner voice seeks to protect you by reminding you that whatever you achieve is OK. While that may be comforting it is precisely the kind of nagging doubt that sets off self-sabotaging behaviors. You’re tired, kick back. Don’t make a fool of yourself, it isn’t worth it anyway. This voice, though good-intentioned, will stop you from taking the first step, and eventually stop you cold.

Fear, of course, is the gold-standard of self-sabotaging behaviors. What will happen if I fail? Instead ask, what will happen when I succeed? It is far better to fall short of your highest aspirations than it is to “succeed” by being complacent. Great achievements rarely follow staying the course.

Replace the Unhealthy Behavior

Now that you are looking your self-sabotaging behavior in the eye, introduce it to it’s replacement! Knowing what is holding you down means nothing unless you can put that knowledge to work. Replace the destructive tendencies  to fear and doubt with new behaviors:

  • Respond in a more appropriate and proactive way to get what you want
  • Identify why you need to make this change
  • Understand the long-term benefits of changing your response to these behaviors
  • Recognize the key advantages of your new behavior

Practice Makes Perfect Habit

It’s not enough to identify and challenge your behaviors, and it’s still not enough to replace them. You have to walk the walk and live beyond self-sabotaging tendencies. Implement your newly formed behaviors immediately, and stick with them. Repetition will help these healthy alternatives sink in and make a difference. As any athlete will concur, once you start to slow down and soften your focus, the old patterns will creep in to assure you that what you are doing is good enough, there’s no need to work any harder. By ingraining self-supporting attitudes and behaviors in place of self-sabotage, you will smash that ceiling and free yourself from limitation!

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach


Defuse the bomb! Conquer Self-Sabotage

To sabotage is to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct – read that carefully – deliberately. Destructive forces come from every direction to challenge our resolve, but self-sabotage is a uniquely personal attack that comes from within. It’s when the bomb is created, set, and lit by yours truly. Recognizing self-sabotaging feelings is the first step in managing our emotions and realizing our full potential in our work and personal lives.

What Is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotage is giving into negative behaviors and emotions that hold you back from achieving your full potential. When your conscious goals and desires bend to unconscious fears, your behaviors manifest in patterns of self-sabotage. Your mind seeks to protect you from disappointment, failure, and discomfort. When challenges arise that feel insurmountable, negative thoughts, meant to prevent us from discomfort, rise to the surface:

  • I don’t have time
  • I’m not good enough
  • This won’t work
  • Why even try?

These feelings can be overwhelming. The longer we allow these negative feelings to control our actions, the more we begin to make excuses for not trying, literally sabotaging what could be our best, and most fruitful endeavors – the ones that scare us.

Know Your Enemy

These sabotaging behaviors manifest in many forms: fear, insecurity, doubt, and strong desires to simply give up rather than go on. Adam Sicinski at IQMatrix compiled a list of self-sabotaging behaviors to watch for and defend against:

  • Fear of failure, taking risks, and making mistakes
  • Inability to plan ahead, and consider the consequences of our actions
  • Inability to SAY NO to others.
  • Inability to admit mistakes or errors.
  • Constant worry
  • Setting unrealistic expectations.
  • Complaining about people, life, circumstances or perceived bad luck.
  • Procrastination, and it’s evil twin Perfectionism
  • Focusing on what isn’t working or on wishful daydreams

These self-sabotaging behaviors have consequences that can affect every aspect of your work. The primary and deadliest consequence is paralysis and a sense of defeat before you even begin.

Throw Water On the Fire

Behavior patterns and recognition of these patterns is at the core of solving this problem. To recognize these patterns you must be self-aware, and to be self-aware you must daily recognize and call your self-sabotaging behaviors by name. By isolating the behaviors that stand in our way, we can understand what causes them and fight back!

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Dual-Mentorship: Take Your Leadership Development to the Next Level

Down through the ages, there has always been a generation gap – the struggle between the “Good Old Days” and the Glorious Future. This battle has carried into all facets of life, especially in the business world.

While one generation thinks kids should be seen not heard, the other looks at their elders as dinosaurs.  This attitude threatens to stifle a company’s leadership development by fueling an “us vs. them” atmosphere.  Business moves too fast to let these attitudes affect your organization’s growth.

Dual-Mentoring: A New Twist on an Old System

To keep your company running smoothly for years to come, you need to find and develop leaders. One way to work on this is through dual-mentorship – pairing up older, more seasoned executives with younger millennial employees.

I was reading an article by George Llopis titled “Thought Leadership Is the New Strategy for Corporate Growth,” While Llopis’ article was focused on thought leadership, one suggestion could be applied to dual-mentorship.

He encourages companies to look for two groups of leaders. First, find the game changers – those that “are applying new ways of thinking to propel growth, innovation, and opportunity.” Next, find the subject matter experts – those that have been around to see the transformation made over the years and have implemented proven solutions.

Take a look around for those game changers in your organization. It would be reasonable to suggest that you could find them in your younger class of employees (i.e., Millennial). They are keeping up with technology, what is happening around them, and using it to make a difference.

And pair the game changers up with your subject matter experts – your seasoned employees who have seen what has (and has not) worked over the years. They are your “go-to” knowledge.

Once paired – let the magic begin!

Final Thoughts

In today’s business world, you have to stay on top of everything. Leadership development is one key to the continued success of your organization. And with the fast-paced climate we operate in, growth doesn’t necessarily mean a top-down structure.

Llopis made an interesting observation about today’s business culture that is a great reminder that us vs. them just isn’t working anymore:

Diversity of thought is undervalued and misunderstood because people just want to hear themselves talk about what they believe are the right solutions – rather than being more open-minded to embrace new perspectives, regardless of hierarchy or rank.

When you utilize a dual-mentorship strategy, each level learns from the other, thus developing new leadership muscles.

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Want to Communicate Purpose?
Let Your Company’s Advocacy Do the Talking

More than offsetting the impacts of “giving back,” a conscious company demonstrates a profound commitment to specific purposes beyond profit. A company’s purpose is far bigger than the company. Socially conscious businesses are tackling recidivism, world-hunger, and refugee crises worldwide.

Your Values are Your Brand

The bond between consumers and advocacy is stronger than ever. Brand, in many cases, is being superseded by advocacy. Earlier this year, Uber found out the hard way that being on the wrong side of your customer’s ethics can be devastating. What sounded like a good way to increase profit, turned away a substantial number of new and current customers.


Companies can avoid similar disasters by employing a more conscious mindset. To become conscious, a company has to do a little soul-searching. I’ve outlined what it means to be a conscious company, and how to gauge your progress toward full consciousness. Now you know who you are, and know where you stand. Improvements are made by structuring your business to achieve your advocacy goals, and attracting the right leadership to execute.

Get ALL of Your Ducks in a Row

All organizations have stakeholders, and it’s tempting to make sure some stakeholders are happier than others – the board of directors, for example – but conscious companies resist that temptation. By creating an alignment between the interests of employees, shareholders, suppliers, customers, and the community, conscious companies spur innovation that can be game-changing.

Successful advocacy programs require the proper framework. This framework strengthens your relationship with your tribe, and significantly impacts the causes you advocate. By creating your framework first, you ensure that the company’s advocacy vision is complete and consistent.

Tap Into The Power Of Social Media

Customers are using social media sites to review products, submit inquiries, and interact with the company. This means that a conscious framework must integrate social media into its advocacy. Beyond a social media presence, businesses must tap into the power of social media by informing the audience, engaging with calls-to-action, and sharing the progress made through social advocacy.

Leave the Light On

Remember, successful leaders aren’t discovered, they’re made. Up and coming social entrepreneurs look for opportunities to drive social change. These leaders understand the value of cultivating conscious capitalism. By structuring your business to fulfill that purpose, companies welcome the elite talent flocking to the conscious companies.

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Are You Brave Enough for Leadership Development?

Do you remember your first business mentor? That sage who took you under their wing and “taught you the ropes” of your chosen field?

More than likely you’ve had a few mentors along the way, each having their influence on your development as a leader.

You’ve probably spent many hours and thousands of dollars on books, seminars, or consultants to help you develop your and others in your organization develop leadership skills.

Think about all those times you and your team left the office, spent time with a leadership development trainer in a sterile environment, and then tried to put those ideas into practice in “the real world” of your company.

How did that work for you?

Maybe It’s Time to Rethink Leadership Development

Over the years, I’ve sought various avenues to develop my own leadership skills. But one thing I learned is this – leadership is not formulated in the cold confines of a seminar; it happens in the trenches of everyday business. It occurs when we look up from the latest and greatest leadership guru’s book and look to our team.

Mentorship from the Bottom Up

While contemplating the evolving landscape of leadership development, I ran across some interesting articles that have a new spin on the old topic of business leadership development.

Typically, when a company considers its plan for training future leaders, it’s often assumed that training should begin from the top and filter down the ranks.

But some CEO’s are looking for a new alternative to the same rank and file. They are reaching out to the Millennials in their organization and creating a reverse mentoring relationship. For example, Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle’s CEO, relies on her Millennial mentor to keep up with the times and understand the younger generation.

Leadership Development as an Agile System

Some experts in the leadership development field suggest that current methods of leadership training just aren’t working.One such expert is Deborah Rowland.In her article, Why Leadership Development Isn’t Developing Leaders, Rowland claims that “Too many business leaders today are out of touch with the employees they lead.”

Maybe she is right.

Final Thoughts

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving. Old ways of doing leadership development does not necessarily translate into continuing success.

You need to find and develop leaders within your organization to serve not only your customers but also serve the mission of your business.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned the benefits of seeking out the Millennials in your organization. This is a fantastic group who want to make a difference in the world. They have their ear to the ground, untapped insight, and an amazing ability to change quickly.

When it comes to finding leaders, consider not only how you can help your protégés grow as leaders, but also consider what you can learn from them, such as, books to read, apps to download, or, more importantly, discovering a different point of view.

Skip this step, and you may be overlooking a powerful secret weapon.

Are you brave enough?

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Be the Right “fit” for a Conscious Leader

Social entrepreneurs are driving corporate advocacy and changing the way companies look at business. This conscious capitalism recognizes that consumers are drawn to companies and products that actively advocate for positive social change. Consumer loyalty is driven by the causes that matter to them most.

To be conscious, businesses are changing the way they form and structure themselves, and most importantly, changing the way they hire. These companies have to start from the ground up to build the kind of company that attracts a Conscious Capitalist.

Gauge Your Company’s Consciousness

As Plato stressed, know thyself. This goes beyond your mission statement and straight to your core principles: what is your company trying to accomplish? Focusing on what makes your advocacy unique, and what makes its approach effective, is the first step toward communicating those principles to your customers, and to potential leadership candidates.

Nathan Havey, a founding Partner at Thrive, suggests determining where a company is on their path to being conscious. He outlines five levels of business consciousness:

BAD ACTOR –  Lie, cheat, and steal to make a profit.

At this stage, a business has an almost total absence of purpose beyond making money, and lacks ethics and concern for others.

RULE FOLLOWER –  Obeys the letter of the law.

At this stage, a business will obey the rules of the game, and also take full advantage of others however it legally can. These companies won’t do something proactive for non-fiduciary stakeholders unless it is legally required.

FAIR PLAYER –  Do no intentional harm, but “business is business.”

A business that has an ethical core of “do no harm.” Its leaders will not consciously act in a way that takes unfair advantage of, or inflicts pain and suffering on people. They will, however, compete fiercely to maximize shareholder return, which they see as the purpose of their company.

GOOD CITIZEN –  Take measures to have a net-positive impact.

These companies accomplish a net-positive impact by encouraging employee volunteerism, contributing to a wide range of charitable concerns, and striving to create an enjoyable workplace culture. Investing in social capital and goodwill creates important returns.

CONSCIOUS COMPANY –  Embody a specific, measurable purpose beyond profit.

A company is aware of its power to achieve a specific, important purpose beyond profit, and is structured to fulfill that mission. Growth and profit remain important, but no longer for their own sake – they are a necessary factor of achieving the purpose.

To Thine Own Self, Be True

By knowing thyself, a business can focus their efforts toward a goal that is in line with their culture and practices. This attracts strong leadership candidates that will continue to carry the banner. With knowledge of self fully developed, companies can move on to a structure that excels with social advocacy .

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach



Saving the Environment Begins at Home

– Create a Company Culture Zeroed in on Conscious Capitalism

As a business, it is easy to focus on the bottom line, or making your shareholders happy. Sure, you might think about your brand and how you can show the market that you care about the environment or your community.

Maybe you donate some money to disaster relief or use items made from sustainable farming techniques. Possibly your company encourages volunteerism by your employees to prove that Brand X supports their local community.

But saving the environment begins at home– starting with your employees.

In a previous post, we talked about capitalism’s bad reputation as a poor gambler and an awakening within the business world called Conscious Capitalism. We further elaborated on the benefits to your organization when you think beyond profits and hire leaders focused on the higher purpose of your conscious company.

Now, you might have read that post and thought, “Conscious Capitalism? C’mon! That’s an oxymoron.” I encourage you to take a peek at John Mackey and Raj Sisodia’s fascinating article ‘“Conscious Capitalism” Is Not an Oxymoron.’

Their point is this:“business as usual” is no longer working.

When a company hones in on their higher purpose of making a positive impact on the world, they seek out the interdependencies of all the stakeholders within an enterprise.

All the stakeholders include your staff – executive and frontline.

Mackey and Sisodia claim, “Conscious businesses have trusting, authentic, innovative and caring cultures that make working there a source of both personal growth and professional fulfillment.”

Have you developed a company culture that is zeroed in on conscious capitalism by providing personal and professional growth opportunities?

Zeroing in on Conscious Capitalism Begins with Your Company Culture

If your business truly wants to make an impact on the world, you have to start with your company’s culture and your staff. When you do, your whole business reaps the benefit, such as:

  • Employee Happiness – One of your most valuable assets clocks out at the end of the day and goes home to family. Many look at their time with your company as just a “job” or a “paycheck.” They are not vested in the enterprise. Encourage personal and professional growth, and they become heavily invested in the company’s vision leading to…
  • Employee Retention–Hiring and training new employees is expensive and time-consuming. Investing in your staff shows them you care. When people feel cared for, a sense of community and loyalty develops – resulting in employee happiness (see point #1.)
  • Brand Loyalty – Even if you provide training and personal development opportunities, some employees will choose to leave your organization. But they will always have with them the fact that you invested in them as a person. They, in essence, become your brand’s evangelist.

Final Thoughts

As a leader, you have the power in your hands to develop the right environment to support conscious capitalism. But you can’t do it alone.

While reading “Successful Women in PR: Leaning In & Climbing Up,” Kristin Daher, president of Powerhouse Communications, explains it best, “Understand that you can’t do it all. It’s important to invest in the development of the people around you because you are only as strong as your team. Whether that means providing your team with the resources they need to grow professionally or equipping them with the tools to better serve your clients, it’s of the utmost importance that you surround yourself with people who have skill sets that complement your own.”

Invest in your team’s growth and reap the benefits of employee happiness, employee retention, and even brand loyalty.

Remember, you can thrive in the pursuit of your passion and excellence.

Tom Spry, Executive Recruiter & Coach

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