Hiring and management advice for Personal Trainers and Fitness Entrepreneurs.
Although many of us are “just” Personal Trainers and not large company CEOs, you’d be hugely mistaken to think tat you don’t have something to learn from the top business minds.
Their knowledge in running multi-billion dollar companies and leading them to even greater results has lessons that we can apply to whatever we do as well. It’s pure, usually unadulterated wisdom that will make you wiser for having been exposed to it.
With that in mind, I’ve been on a kick of reading and re-reading some of the classics from the all time masters, and one book I got through recently was WINNING by Jack Welch. Jack is considered one of the greatest business leaders of our century, growing General Electric under his watch into the biggest company in the world. He is especially famous for his innovations in management.
Jack made PEOPLE, specifically his people, ie his managers and their subordinates, his biggest priority. As a CEO of your own business, no matter how small, this is your biggest priority too. Running my training business, people hiring and manageing mistakes and problems were my biggest errors, and I imagine that’s the same for most trainers out there – this is a tough business to hire for, no doubt about that.
I wish I had read WINNING a long time ago, but better late than never. For this book club episode, let me write down some of the tips and lists Jack spelled out in the book. You should find this really helpful for how you decide to choose, manage, hire, and evaluate YOUR PEOPLE.
- Never let profit center conflicts get in the way of doing what is right for the customer.
- Give customers a good, fair deal. Great customer relationships take time. Don not try to maximize short-term profits at the expense of building those enduring relationships.
- Always look for ways to make it easier to do business with us.
- Communicate daily with your customers. If they are talking to you, the can’t be talking to a competitor.
- Don’t forget to say thank you.
- Leaner is better.
- Eliminate bureaucracy.
- Cut waste relentlessly.
- Operations should be fast and simple.
- Value each other’s time.
- Invest in infrastructure.
- We should know our business best. We don’t need consultants to tell us what to do.
- You have to evaluate – making sure the right people are in the right jobs, supporting and advancing those who are, and moving out those who are not.
- You have to coach – guiding, critiquing, and helping people to improve their performance in every way.
- And finally, you have to build self-confidence – pouring out encouragement, caring, and recognition.
- Self- confidence energizes, and it give you people the courage to stretch, take risks, and achieve beyond their dreams. it is fuel of winning teams.
- First characteristic is authenticity. Leaders can’t have an iota of fakeness.
- The second characteristic is the ability to see around corners.
- The third characteristic is a strong penchant to surround themselves with people better and smarter than they are.
- The fourth characteristic is heavy-duty resilience.
STRATEGY – WHAT’S AROUND THE CORNER:
- What scares you most in the year ahead – what one or two things could a competitor do to nail you?
- What new products or technologies could your competitors launch that might change the game?
- What M+A (mergers and aquisitions) deals would knock you off your feet?
- Getting the right strategy means you have to assume your competitors are damn good, or at the very least as good as you are, and that they are moving just as fast or faster. When it comes to peeking into the future, you just can’t be paranoid enough.
- How can we beat last year’s performance?
- What is our competition doing, and how can we beat them?
Hope you found that useful. Like I said, no matter what level you’re at, there’s a ton to learn from the masters. Another thing I love is that following them helps keep things in perspective. The 200 billion or so GE was worth makes whatever money goals or problems you’re having not seem so big after all!
Yep right on time Kaiser, soooo many points of this holds true to us as fitness professionals. The biggest downfall of this industry is the thought that so many trainers have the mentality that “I am the ONLY one who can deliver my clients results.” This is a straight path to failure and burn out. One of the most interesting lessons I’m learning right now is the integration of other trainers in my business and the role they play (and to what extent). Because of the level of service and what I have to offer to my clients, I’ve found that it is SO important for my company’s culture and survival to actually hire those on my level and more. I tried the whole, hire someone green so I can mold them… I found that wasn’t such a grand idea. When you surround yourself by greatness, and you make sure they are fairly compensated, recognized, and supported – and alternately and MOST IMPORTANTLY your clients even though they are having interactions with your trainers, YOU are the one recognized as the leader and orchestrator of unparallel service – your business can truly grow and succeed to the point of 6 figures and well beyond.
Oh and the invest in infrastructure – SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IMPORTANT! Have S-Y-S-T-E-M-S and protocols that can be easily duplicated.
Awesome post – you’re right this was REALLY GOOD, and it as written by a billionaire. There are lessons here that apply to EVERYONE.
Some really good info here Kaiser. I’m getting ready to hire my first couple of employees and I’ve got to admit it’s kind of scary. Thanks for focusing on it so much on the blog the past few months. It’s made the job a lot easier and given me much more info to work with.
Hey Rox – spoken like a pro – yes, the people you bring on reflect on you and end up influencing you as much as you do them, so it’s vital to accept only the best – stars nothing less. Earlier in my training career, when I was operating a large regional training department, I would hire whoever I could find and try to mold them – if they messed up, I looked at it as a failure on my part – big mistake! Once I got my own business going, I made character and personality the primary traits I was looking for, and didn’t accept any compromises. That made working with my employees and dealing with my clients and the mood and attitude in my business in general an absolute pleasure. I actually should have delegated and hired more, but that’s another story. Great insights and keep us posted on your accomplishments.
Glad you like it Terry – yes, these lessons are universal so they can apply to anyone at any level. If you’re a beginner a lot of this is easy to ignore or try to forget, but in general that’s a big mistake.
Hey Adam, good luck with that – as I pointed, hiring and managing is such a big issue, I’ve given it a lot of attention. Expect to see more on that.
On the flip side is leadership, our responsibilities as leaders to our teams. Expect to see more posts on that coming soon as well.
Great tips and info from Jack.