Club Industry 2015, October 7-9, was the best Club Industry Show I’ve attended in recent memory. The energy and buzz were palatable, and I, personally, was thrilled for Club Industry as an organization and our industry at large. Everyone who knows me knows that I bleed IHRSA in every way, yet I also love Club Industry as the show I started with in my career as an attendee working at a small club in Fayetteville, North Carolina and the first show I presented at on a national basis. I believe in a big tent. The IHRSA Show is typically on the West Coast, but it will be in Orlando, Florida, March 21-24, 2016.
The Club Industry Show has always been significant and held a nostalgic place in our industry, especially for the Mid-West/East and East coast. I’ve been honored to work with Penton Media and Club Industry in helping with the content and success of this past year’s event. And, our Leadership Track this year was a resounding success. Brent Darden, Frank Ancharski and Allison Flatley made it so! They are three of the finest of the finest industry professionals! We delivered an integrated curriculum that also allowed each session to stand alone in content and take-aways. The “graduates” gave extremely positive initial feedback of the program. In my opinion, it hit the desired mark dead center. Here’s a summary of the curriculum and highlights. Next year will be an even bigger and better event for Club Industry as it moves to the new Hyatt venue!
Club Industry 2015 Leadership Track
The Curriculum: Five integrated courses culminating in a panel discussion with Leadership Certificates issued to those that attended four of the five sessions.
#1: Leadership and Management for Fitness Leaders – Brent Darden, Principal, Brent Darden Consulting: Effective leaders set direction, align resources, inspire action and accept responsibility for results. They understand that multiplying and inspiring the performance of followers is one of a leader’s greatest gifts.
- Leaders must be “keepers of the club culture;”
- Practicing the art of organizational evangelism is a leader’s role;
- The “tell me – show me – involve me” formula empowers followers;
- Full spectrum leadership means seeing the big picture and making decisions with all constituents in mind;
- Identifying and implementing pride builders is accomplished by: (1) empowering front-line associates, (2) explaining the “why” of everyday work and (3) rewarding and recognizing employees in a personalized way.
#2: Strategy and Financials – Bill McBride, CEO of Active Wellness & BMC3: Strategy and the Financial Delivery of Results are the bedrock of business success. You must have a plan in every business endeavor and be able to measure the impact of the plan on financial results. This session was about planning, designing your approach and delivering/measuring success (and failure) to make course corrections.
- Leaders are the drivers of strategic thinking on all aspects of your business;
- Proactive strategy is key versus reactive actions;
- Strategy drives customer metrics and customer metrics drive revenue outcomes;
- Strategic thinking is required in every department and every personal area of responsibility and accountability;
- Every club owner, manager or department head benefits from some structure around strategic thinking and outlined strategy;
- Vision, mission and core values are foundational and shouldn’t be taken for granted; revisit often and include in planning;
- A Strategic Plan is a must-have in delivering as designed;
- Use strategy for your decision making, with a firm understanding of your market and competitive landscape;
- Create your Value Proposition (Price/Offering) and Value Chain (Expense of Delivery); don’t let it happen by accident;
- Understand the financial metrics involved in achieving your strategic plan.
#3: People Performance for Fitness Leaders – Brent Darden, Principal, Brent Darden Consulting: People, performance and priorities are three “legs of the stool” that are the foundation of great organizations. Focusing on these elements drives culture and meaningful outcomes.
- Leaders must absolutely ensure alignment and engagement of followers;
- Winning the talent acquisition war is critical and deserves priority attention;
- Diligently identify, fortify and multiply the “right” kind of staff members;
- Use the “leaders invitation” to build commitment;
- Igniting the discretionary energy of team members takes consistent and targeted effort;
- Remembering to distinguish the “important” versus the “urgent” is key to long-term success.
#4: Unlocking The Service Within Us – Frank Ancharski, Chief Operating Officer, American Family Fitness 24/7: Most importantly, understand that each one of us has within ourselves the ability to improve our service offering and develop/nurture a Servant Leader mindset… and that it can be taught and shown. It may take some time and patience; however, each one of us has within ourselves a key if you will, perhaps one we never even knew existed, to unlock the magic of service towards another human being.
- Never discount the hiring process. As we know, due diligence for recruiting and hiring right makes finding those with “the keys to service” much easier. I’ve found that good recruits in this business want to help, serve and make a difference. They are just not quite sure how at times. Starting with that base from the hiring “gates” goes miles in unlocking that which is already within all of us;
- Doing such locksmith type work can eradicate the attrition challenge we face, and service is the way to success;
- Mission can be translated into service delivery, and service is and must be a team game;
- Sharing is a hallmark of learning from each other in this business;
- We have stories to tell of “Faithful Service,” sharing real life examples with our teams paints the service picture for them;
- Promises are our bonds and cannot be broken nor made lightly, and they must be kept… for ourselves if anyone else is to unlock service secrets and maintain our team integrity;
- We told a secret, THE SECRET of love and gratitude leading to the Law of Attraction (We get what we think about);
- Lastly, we watched videos of what it is really like to understand the TRUTH, truths of service and truths of appreciation.
#5: Programming for Fitness Leaders – Allison Flatley, COO, Corporate Fitness Works: To ensure successful fitness programming, know your target audience. You must remain focused on the needs of your target audience by leveraging your demographics and member analytics. And, most importantly, don’t try to be everything to everyone.
- The goal for fitness programming is engagement: engagement to drive retention, revenue, positive behavior change and/or new members. To measure success, collect relevant data that supports your goal and be a self-advocate;
- Successful fitness programming is dynamic. Be willing to take risks with programs, dare to be different and create a FOMO (fear of missing out) with your membership. The leadership skills needed for successful programming are learned at a young age through play. Bring that element of play to fitness programming, have fun with your audience and seize the opportunity.
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As you can see from the advice of our advisors, the program was chalk full of extremely valuable advice and learning. These were just some of the summary highlights. Please consider attending next year for a deep dive in content, real life examples, interaction and a “boot camp” on leadership that will most definitely make any attendee much better. This year’s lineup made me a lot better! Thank you for those that sent their team or attended personally.
Some of the best training and development programs we have:
- The IHRSA Institute (Aug 2-5, 2016) – A deep dive immersion program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This is the most comprehensive deep dive club management program currently in existence.
- Club Industry Show – Leadership Track (October 12-14, 2016) – A Comprehensive program that I promise will deliver ROI for developing our teams and us individually in a 1-day format.
It’s a given that EVERYONE needs to be at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando, Florida (March 21-24, 2016)!
Remember the analogy: “Is it better to train and develop team members and have them possibly leave after training OR not to train them and have them STAY?” We all know the answer; we must commit to more training and development to ensure the success of our people and our businesses! Let’s take advantage of the opportunities, programs, Webinars, Podcasts and live interactive trainings our industry has to offer.