Ten years and three affiliates after starting my first affiliate in my garage, I’ve learned that your gym’s culture is a direct reflection of who you choose to be in and outside of your box. This realization is a combination of observation and personal experience. I have watched the group dynamics in many other boxes, and personally felt the effects of my interactions (good, bad, and in between) within the walls of our own affiliates. I bring each perspective to the table in this conversation to say; yes I may be calling you out, but I also called the guy in the mirror out to reach this conclusion.
Some of you are a combination of owner/operator/coach while others take on more distinct roles. No matter where you fall within that hierarchy, you make up some part of a chain that affects and is affected by top-down leadership. The concept is simple in theory but demanding in practice. It is my job as a gym owner to make this a great place to work. This sort of thinking has a direct impact on my staff and sets the tone for their interactions with each other and our customers.
Most of you aren’t reading anything new up to this point, but the next step is where we make the connection between your leadership as an owner, and the daily culture that the individual member experiences. That connection is the very foundation of the social structure of your community, and is your staff’s interactions with members. If I can influence the staff’s motivation, mood, and sense of community, they both consciously and subconsciously pass those positive (or negative) vibes down to the individual members. The final piece of this puzzle is the most fun to watch: as you begin to focus your efforts on being a great boss, you begin to see the interactions between your members take on the culture you are creating at the top.
We all reach points as owners and coaches where something happens that should alert you to being on auto-pilot a bit too much, and those are the times when we must take full responsibility to instill change. Every once in a while there is a coach or member that really tests this theory, but nine times out of ten they are the type of person begging for meaningful human interaction. It’s those times that you’ll need to make the decision to either blame them, get rid of them, or take the time to show them that at YOUR gym, we’re here for each other and are in this together.
Written by Drew Crandall