Business owner and author with 25 years of entrepreneurial and executive experience in the health club industry featuring high levels of performance and breakthrough results.

Leadership

Leaders have great responsibility. They are responsible for success and failure. They must take responsibility for all actions under their authority. If a front desk employee in a health club is rude to a member it might not be the club operator’s fault but it is the operator’s responsibility. The operator or leader must address and rectify the situation. Many actions which occur in a health club might be unknown by the leader and are not the leader’s fault but everything is the leaders responsibility. Fault and responsibility are not the same. The most effective leaders take responsibility without blaming, but give credit for success to others. A leader should never say it is “not my fault”, or make excuses. This will set an example of what is expected of others.

A leader is someone who has followers. People follow leaders for a number of reasons. Some people follow because of fear. They fear that the consequences of going against the leader could be detrimental to them. It could get them fired. The problem with leading through intimidation is that the followers will leave the organization or will become hostile toward the leader when it is safe. A loss of power on the part of the leader can make followers feel safer and begin to challenge the leader. When leading through intimidation, it is just a matter of time before the leader loses effectiveness.

Some people follow leaders because they believe it is temporarily in their best interest. Followers will choose a different leader when a better opportunity presents itself with another organization. A leader will be most effective if he or she paints a vision of hope and opportunity. Followers who buy into the vision will be onboard for the long-run.

Once the leader paints a vision followers can get excited about, she must lay out a plan for the vision. Leading by example will demonstrate the leader’s belief in the vision and be an example of what is expected of followers. Without leading by example the leader will come across as just a boss. If the leader takes her turn cleaning the toilets the followers will follow when it is their turn.

A leader must always do what he says he will do. Tasks which are the leader’s responsibility must be completed on time. Leaders who do not keep their commitments cannot expect followers to keep their commitments. A leader who keeps his commitments will increase production in the whole organization through leading by example. Leaders who always do what they say they will do earn respect and trust. If a leader always does what he says he will do, followers know they can take that to the bank. Followers will also feel confident and secure. Leaders who do not do what they have committed to will just be seen as hypocrites when they project expectations on followers. This will cause followers to doubt the vision and feel insecure.

Followers will lose hope and faith in the vision if progress is not tracked. Progress is tracked through setting and obtaining goals. As goals are obtained, followers will get more excited about the vision and positive energy will be spread throughout the organization. If a leader is consistently positive about the vision, that positive attitude will trickle down.

Leaders must help the organization and followers in setting goals. “A goal without a plan is just a dream. A goal that is not obtainable is impossible. A goal that is too easy is not a goal.” (Main, 2006. p 9) Setting goals is a basis for evaluation. Goals should be a part of every health club business every day. Goals should be set at every level of a business. Goals must have timelines set for them or the organization will always be working toward the goal. It is easy for procrastination to set in without a timeline for every goal. The club operator or leader’s vision directs the goals. A goal’s feasibility is tested by working backwards from the goal. If the goal is to sell $30,000 in new memberships in one month, objectives are built in order to meet that goal.

The first objective will be to gross a minimum of $1,000 in new membership sales per day. If the average dues membership is $39 for first and last with a $129 processing fee that is $207 received for a dues membership. If the average paid in full membership is $400 then the club must sell three dues memberships and one paid in full each day. That is the second objective, three dues memberships and one paid in full each day. The feasibility of the goal is now coming into view. If a club has three sales reps working each day we must then set tasks that will help obtain the objectives.

The first task for each sales rep is to set six appointments for each day. Additional tasks are added that will help each sales rep obtain six appointments each day. Each sales rep has six appointments for a club total of eighteen. This should yield a 40% show ratio on appointment. That means seven appointments show up for a tour of the club each day. Each sales rep should have at least a 60 % closing ratio. This equates to four memberships each day. It is very important to emphasize that required tasks are not goals or objectives. They are requirements. Each person in the organization chooses to complete their tasks every day starting with the leader. When the tasks are performed at the required skill level the objectives and goals will be obtained. If a sales rep is not accomplishing an average of six appointments per day with a 40% show ratio and a 60% close ratio one of two things is occurring: a) the sales rep is choosing not to perform the daily required tasks or b) he does not possess the required skill level to perform the tasks. It is the leader’s responsibility to motivate the rep by re-emphasizing the vision and the rep’s future. If the rep is unable to perform the tasks it is the leader’s responsibility to lead the sales rep in increasing his skill level in the needed area. The leader must positively motivate and train the rep in order to increase the skill level of that person. If the rep continually chooses not to perform daily tasks it can jeopardize the positive environment of the business and undermine the leader’s authority.

The most important thing for a leader to remember is that leaders that perform to the level of their own expectations will earn respect and set a positive example. If a leader goes left but expects their followers to go right that is pushing not leading.

Reference:

Main, S. (2006). Total Health Club Management.

Main, S. (2006). Club Success Magazine, November

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