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Entries in leadership (26)


Fit to Lead: Danish Prime Minister’s Running Meetings Set the Bar for World Leaders

On a rainy Monday in April, eight people ran about three miles around a lake near Marienborg, the official residence of Denmark's prime minister. But this was no ordinary jogging group. 

Seven of the runners were leaders and influencers from a variety of industries, from television to the corporate world. The eighth runner—and the person who called the meeting—was Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen himself.

Continue reading "Fit to Lead: Danish Prime Minister’s Running Meetings Set the Bar for World Leaders."

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4 Fitness Business Leadership Strategies from IHRSA 2017

There was no shortage of influential health and fitness industry leaders at IHRSA 2017 leadership track sessions last month in Los Angeles, and presenters and attendees alike were ready to share their tips and tricks to maintaining leadership practices.

Here are the top fitness business leadership strategies we gleaned from the best of the best.

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Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Business is Always About People

The Lessons in Fitness Leadership series highlights IHRSA’s industry leaders and thanks them for their continued commitment to growing, promoting, and protecting the health club industry. By sharing their business expertise, we hope that you will get to know them, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership.

Derek Gallup
New Evolution Ventures
Lafayette, CA

What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry?

Every day I wake up and launch out of bed energized knowing that I get to work with fitness professionals who are inspiring and passionate about helping others live healthier, more energetic, and longer lives by incorporating fitness into them. We have products and services that are not just good for people, they are the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we have ever found. 

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Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Focus on Being Rather Than Doing

The Lessons in Fitness Leadership series highlights IHRSA’s industry leaders and thanks them for their continued commitment to growing, promoting, and protecting the health club industry. By sharing their business expertise, we hope that you will get to know them, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership. 

Scott Draper
Club Northwest
Grants Pass, OR 

What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry?

The opportunity of serving others in wellness.

We see hundreds of examples of how we do this each day. It is truly about being present. I enjoy the day-to-day and the moment-to-moment experiences I have with others. Wellness doesn’t happen in the past or in the future. It happens in the moment. Those moment-to-moment conversations create wellness for not only those we are serving, but also for ourselves.

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Why You Should Turn Your Health Club Employees into Followers

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.

Is your health club staff as driven and productive even when management isn’t around?

If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘yes,’ your employees likely view themselves as subordinates.

“Subordinates may or may not do what you want them to do,” says Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “I always hear people say at night [after] the manager leaves nothing gets done. So you can’t be successful with subordinates.”

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6 Ways to Be a Leader in the Health Club Industry

I was recently interviewed by Chantal Broderick for a short segment on leadership for the Fitness Business Podcast. (The podcast with my interview is set to air after Christmas. I’ll be sure to share the link as soon as I receive it.)

Chantal asked for a quick tip or two on what people can do to become leaders in the industry. I quickly gave Chantal a couple ideas and have been thinking about additional steps to industry leadership ever since. Therefore, my more complete response is the following: 

First, it goes without say that to be a leader you must lead by exampleor “walk the talk.”

Second, you should always be in learning mode, what we refer to as a lifelong-learner, and you should show others your hunger for learning. (That’s why you see so many Industry Leaders sitting in the front rows furiously taking notes during IHRSA keynotes.)

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8 Experts Offer Advice on Becoming a More Effective Fitness Leader 

What does it take to be a true leader in the health and fitness industry? We spoke with some experts to find out. 

In developing the IHRSA's Lessons in Fitness Leadership series, we interviewed successful club owners and fitness professionals who are members of our Industry Leadership Council. Read on to learn their top leadership tips.

'Get Outside of Your Box'

Jim Worthington of Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, PA, has four pieces of advice for anyone new to the industry: 

  1. “Make time to 'walk the talk' and work out every day.
  2. “Read industry trade journals voraciously to understand trends.
  3. “Attend IHRSA conferences every year without fail.
  4. “Network with a vengeance with everyone in the industry." 

Scott Gillespie of Saco Sport & Fitness in Saco, ME, agrees with Worthington about the importance of gaining a broader perspective.

"Never lose the very special connection you have with the market you choose to serve, but get outside of your box!" Gillespie said. "Get and stay connected to the ever-evolving bigger picture through industry associations and groups—like IHRSA and the ILC."

For Bryan O'Rourke of Integerus Advisors, a consultancy to the health and fitness industry, the key lies with being a "giver" rather than a "taker."

"All great things take time, constant effort, and most importantly, entail us all working together to reach common goals," he said. "Giving to the ILC and being a leader who seeks to do things for others first, builds the foundation for all of us together."

Business and Financial Smarts a Must

As Janine Williams of Leisure Sports in Pleasanton, CA, notes, far too many health clubs aren't built to last. The reason? Operators lack the business and financial acumen to achieve long-term success.

"While you need to have a passion for fitness, you also need a solid understanding as to what ultimately drives profitability," she said. "This includes understanding the potential threats and opportunities within your marketplace and whether these threats and opportunities are internal or external by nature."

Chuck Richards of the Sunset Athletic Club in Portland, OR, believes the health and fitness industry is about to enter a period of rapid growth. With all the changes coming our way, many health club operators will have trouble deciding what to do next.

"Getting perspective is important," Richards said. "Look at the implications. Don't think you necessarily need to go in every direction all of the time. There are so many ways to be successful. There are so many opportunities. Going in too many ways will dilute your best efforts." 

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An Open Letter to the Fitness Industry Leaders of Tomorrow

Dear Future Industry Leadership Council Member, 

Chances are you already are a leader—you just aren’t aware of it. 

You may be asking yourself “How is that true? What does being a leader truly mean? And how are other people able to identify me as one when I can’t even be sure of that myself?” 

The answers to all of those questions lie in the singular character trait all successful leaders share—passion.

Passion is the key to unlocking and capitalizing on any opportunity that comes your way, and joining forces with people who share the same passions and interests puts you in the company of those who want to use their collective power to make a lasting impact on society. After all, if a group of people can get anyone to look at the world through a different microscope—even if it’s only for a few seconds—they have succeeded in using their passion to perform good work.

So, if you have this passion and can leverage its potential for change by working creatively with others to solve problems, then believe it or not, you are a leader. 

Continue reading "An Open Letter to the Fitness Industry Leaders of Tomorrow."

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6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders

Identifying and nurturing emerging leaders continues to be a challenge in our industry.  

It’s also one ofif not the most importantchallenges we face. In his IHRSA 2016 session, “Extraordinary Leaders: Develop a High-Performance Team,” Eddie Tock of REX Roundtables said, “research shows that improving leadership behavior has more impact on your company performance than any other investment.”

So, in looking at the leadership traits of many of our industry’s leaders, I’ve distilled those traits into six common actions leaders use to foster leadership in both their own organizations and throughout the industry.

To develop the next generation of industry leaders, current club leaders...  

#1. Lead by Example 

Most everyone replied that leading by example is by far the most important trait. Basically, the leadership traits you want to see in your club staff are the same ones they want to see in you every single day. Any form of leader should be professional, ethical, communicative, supportive, display a high work ethic, and be willing to share knowledge and experiences.  

Jim Worthington, owner and president of Newtown Athletic Club, who is known for “walking the talk” has said that being a leader in the industry has given him the chance to mentor employees as well as colleagues at other clubs.

#2. Are in Perpetual Learning Mode  

According to Leadership Hospitality, it is important for leaders to ‘be visible about their own need to learn. Great leaders are never more powerful than when they are shown to be in a learning mode.’

Our industry’s leaders are some of the best at sharing the fact that they are information and education-hungry. Allison Flatley, CEO of Corporate Fitness Works, has shared that she loves learning growth strategy from successful entrepreneurs and training techniques from experienced personal trainers. And Janine Williams, vice president of human resources at Leisure Sports, said that the most important leadership trait is “to ensure that you continue to expand the depth and breadth of your knowledge; not only in the health club industry but in business and financial acumen as well.”

#3. Cross-train to Develop Across Skills or Knowledge Gaps  

Our industry already understands the value of cross-training to build endurance, flexibility, and skill. The same applies for leadership learning as candidates that are rotated through various jobs gain first-hand experience and new expertise in many different roles. They also develop a broader vision of your club and exposure to staff dynamics and member concerns.

In his IHRSA 2016 presentation, "Developing NextGen Leaders," Brent Gallagher discusses the practical steps involved in establishing a team of next-generation leaders, including the need to train across areas to create a healthy leadership pipeline.

Continue reading "6 Actions Health Club Leaders Take to Develop Emerging Leaders."

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How to Empower Your Health Club Managers and Engage Your Employees

One of the consistently reported challenges to owning or managing a health club is finding and retaining quality staff—and even more challenging can be hiring effective managers.

If your tireless recruiting has paid off and you now have a promising management team, how do you make sure they stay and grow with you? 

The key is empowerment. 

Enable Your Health Club Managers to Take Ownership 

Empowerment starts with clear communication, continues with nurtured relationships, and carries over to the next generation of your management staff.

Enabling your managers to take a level of ownership of their contributions to your team will allow them to be more motivated, productive, and engaged in your club. As each individual is motivated by different things, it’s important as an owner or senior manager to get to know your managers and what methods of coaching and recognition will lead them to feel most empowered. 

During his session Strategic Culture: Three Keys to Creating a High-Performance Culture at the   2016 IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show, Rob Lewis of RBS Holdings, LLC said, “Professional development and career progression are among the most important things for employees when looking at jobs.” Lewis explained that owners and managers often only communicate the end result, when what is more important is to communicate the behaviors that produce that end result. 

Communicating your health clubs mission, vision, and values to your managers and enabling them to pass that along to hourly staff and club members, will keep your club culture alive and thriving. “Employee engagement is reflective of a good culture,” Lewis said. 

Clear Communications Set Employees Up for Success 

Another industry leader—Allison Flatley—offered her expertise in keeping your staff engaged in her 2016 IHRSA Institute session, “Staff Hiring, Training, and Retention.” 

The Corporate Fitness Works Chief Strategy Officer and IHRSA Board Member discussed the importance of clearly communicating job responsibilities, what the expectations are, how and when employees will be evaluated, where to find the tools they need to succeed, and how they can overcome obstacles.  

Whether you’ve just hired a brand new manager, promoted a stellar employee, or have a seasoned staff of fitness professionals on your management team, these are essential elements to fostering a sense of empowerment. Flatley also suggested using Gallup’s Q12 survey to help assess the level of engagement in your staff and identify areas for improvement.   

IHRSA’s Professional Development and Management Video archive is full of sessions and recordings from industry leaders, discussing many aspects of successful management skills, training tactics, and culture-creating strategies. These training tools and more are available to IHRSA members at up to 50% off non-member prices, online at the IHRSA store.