has over 30 years of experience across many sectors of the hospitality industry, including service, gastronomy, management and operations. His numerous roles include COO of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Area Vice President of Northern and Central Europe for Hilton, MD of Hilton International Germany and currently he is CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group. These positions have seen him stationed across Europe, and now, working with Emaar in Dubai, UAE. Emaar owns and manages a selection of midscale and upmarket hospitality assets and brands, and is a premier global provider of personal, innovative and memorable lifestyle experiences.
Failure the key to success
We caught up with at the TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event that was held in Dubai’s Sheraton Grand Hotel on April 24, 2018 to talk to him about the mistakes he made and lessons he learned in his career thus far. As many successful people in business will say, Harnisch asserts that he has made many mistakes along the way, but that he has learned more from them than he has from his successes. Harnisch started his career in hospitality as a waiter, and it was at this early stage in his professional life that he made his biggest mistake and learned his hardest lesson. When he transitioned from service to management, he was solely focused on his own ambition, and this generated resentment among his team. So he learned the hard way that you can’t get to the top on your own, and that it is important to remember the people that are helping you to get there.
Harnisch was pragmatic about his approach to dealing with his mistake. He took on a mentor and career coach, who acted as a sounding board and gave Harnisch advice and guidance. He was able to become a better team player, something which fed into another major thing that he learned later in his career. He has found it useful to be able to learn from the people around him, but not to mimic them. This is also pertinent when it comes to leadership, and Harnisch’s advice to an emerging manager is to create their own style of leadership that works for them. Managers should be flexible in their leadership, which is as much about who is being led as who is doing the leading.