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Why Mastering This Will Help You Dominate

By December 31, 2018Uncategorized

Recently, I’ve experienced a shift in my way of thinking in terms of what makes a business successful. Now, I’ve been in business in one form or another since the age of 14, and the training industry specifically since the age of 19. Here I am today at 33, definitely not a newcomer to the scene, and I’ve begun to change my way of thinking around the formula for success. Even in the early part of this year, even into the middle stages of business, I definitely thought there were some very specific things that were going to move the needle, such as a fancier website, better gym equipment, more training for my coaches. More, more, more, that was my solution.

So, what’s changed, right? I’ve been sitting down and interviewing some of the people I really look up to, not even isolated to the fitness industry, but very successful business owners. And I began asking a lot of questions around how they became successful. Oddly, across all their different niches, I realized the answers looked really similar, and I noticed they all did one thing really well: they always took the easy wins.

Today, I’ll offer an example of how we’re doing this in my gym. It’s something we’ve been doing for the last 24 months. Before we get there, though, I want to tell you an anecdote about the early stages of my gym. Because one of the things that matters most to me is my team’s health, i.e. how people actually get along (or don’t).

Just a few months ago, I received a handwritten note from one of my team, saying “When you say that our business is like a family, I truly get it.” I appreciate that so deeply, and I believe we actually have a true family–I feel it. But, it wasn’t always this way. I’ll be honest, in the past, tension was very common amongst the team. It was a competitive atmosphere, driven people were trying to be successful, and that’s a formula for friction. Now, friction can be great for certain aspects of the business, but it’s also very important to promote the health of the team. I know we’re in a good place now because I’ve got team members who describe their work as their dream job. I’ve got members on my crew who’ve been with me for over eight years. They’ve left chiropractic and physical therapy practices. We’ve attracted others from out-of-state or other affiliates, in search of a more professional setting.

How? We restructured our team health and what we’ve been focused on for the past 24 months. I’ll tell you all about it, as well as why I think it has been critical not only to the servicing of the business, but also to the membership and the overall health of the company.

In the early stages of business, it’s common to focus on more. More nutrition coaching. More specialty courses. More of this. More of that. But there’s a cost. Speaking for my team and my business’s experience, what we were lacking was the mastery of these skills. That’s why, in the past 18-24 months, we’ve “dumbed down” (for lack of a better word) our coaching development to a level that would make most coaches’ heads hurt. Yet, I can confidently say that the last six times my team has come together for coaches’ meetings, they’ve been our best, ever. Now, I’ve got coaches who are Precision Nutrition-certified. I’ve got coaches who are WAG-certified. All of my coaches have OPEX training. I’ve got a few who are L3-certified, and all coaches currently on the floor coaching are at least at L2. To put it simply, they are by no means uneducated. Yet, here’s how stupid simple our coach development work has been broken down lately…

Here’s a real example from just a few Saturdays ago: We came together for a Coaches Dev meeting and practiced the workout intro. At Fast Factory, we have a very specific process to properly intro a workout. There are three distinct phases: intent, benefit, and what success looks like.

Intent: Making sure athletes aren’t simply looking at the reps and the big picture, but rather understanding why we’re doing it. There’s a method and a madness, and we ensure the intent resonates with them, i.e. why it matters to them.
Benefit: From there, we shift into the external benefit they’ll receive outside the gym by doing this workout.
What Success Looks Like: What will make this workout, this day in the gym a success.

At this particular meeting, to drill workout intros, I created seven different workouts and passed them out to the room at random. Coaches got just two minutes to study the workout, then they had to intro the workout to their peers, touching on these three points. Then, the group offered feedback.

You were talking too fast, you skipped over this.
You’re not making enough eye contact.
You need to slow down here.
You don’t have enough movement.

And we just drove it home. I want you guys to think about this, we didn’t drive home the class. We drove home the three minutes of how you start a class off. Later, I was asking our coaches, “What did you think of coaches development?” And they were like, “That was one of the best sessions. I can’t believe I still have that much to work on, that I could be that much better at it.”

Why share this with you? Because as you head into 2019, you’re likely thinking that the way to get better in business is to think about all the things you need, right? What I want you to understand is, you’re very likely trying to grab too much too soon, just as my business was. I don’t know if this analogy will stick or not, but imagine you’re walking through an apple orchard. You’re hungry. You grab an apple and you take a bite. And then you’re like, “But I have to grab the next one.” So you grab this apple and then you grab this one, and you just keep taking one little bite from each. Catch my drift? What you’re doing is wasting the full value of what that apple is.

So many of you are wasting business opportunities because you’re implementing at about 10% or so. So, here’s my challenge to you:

You don’t need more. You don’t need to understand all the super secrets of advertising. You don’t need to know all the secrets of sales. The simple truth is, you need to understand the 20% that delivers you 80% of the result–and you need to be really, freaking good at that.

It’s the same component my team brought back. We were stacking so much complexity onto our coaching. And it’s important, of course, it’s all important. But we sat back on our heels and looked at this complexity and we said to ourselves, before we get crazy with getting so advanced, let’s make sure we’re crazy relentless with the basics. And so, for the last two years, we’ve focused on the basics of our coaching. To be clear, I don’t mean making our coaching basic, but rather I’m referring to the basic fundamentals of coaching.

Now, I’m tossing the challenge to you. Stop trying to tackle the advanced stuff. It’s overwhelming you. It’s stressing you out. Worst of all, you’re not able to implement and go slowly and ensure the stuff that you do implement, you master. So slow down. Don’t move on until you’ve completely mastered the task at hand. Touching back on drilling the workout intro… My team went back and forth, discussing all the things they could execute on better. They reached a consensus that they could do so much better. So, we’re going to practice workout intros for another 30 days and then we’ll revisit and retest that skill. We won’t move on until we’ve mastered it.

I’ll admit, I’ve had general managers from other gyms come to observe our meetings, and I get nervous to say, “This is what we’re talking about today” because it’s so basic. But they’re blown away by our ability to double back and focus in on those things. The truth is, when you get in front of your peers and you create that grading scale and set the bar of “here’s what greatness looks like, here’s what mastery looks like,” what you realize is that the coach is actually only good. And if they’re just good, that’s the killer of being great. So, I’m asking you to really challenge your coaches to be great before they move on to that next skill. Are they great at making people feel secure? Are they great at the 3-minute intro of the workout? There are so many things to be great at before stacking the complexity on.

Do that task. Take all of your coaches, teach them how to intro a workout. Here’s the intent.

Here’s a bad example: “Today we’re going to do Fran. It’s 21-15-9 thrusters and pull ups.” That is not the intent. That’s the description. That’s how we’re going to do it.
Here’s a good example: “Today, we’re going to do a workout that’s short and fast. It’s going to make you feel like your lungs are bleeding. At no time should you ever take a break. That’s the intent. Some of you guys might know it as Fran. The workout is 21-15-9 thrusters and pull ups.”

Intent is established. Now we move on to the benefit of why we’re going to do Fran: “It’s going to push your ability to use oxygen and it’s going to skyrocket your heart rate. That heart rate is going to push throughout the rest of the day, and what you’ll find is that you’re going to feel the effects of this 3-4 minute workout hours afterward.” So, a couple things:

It’s going to help you burn more fat throughout the day.
Make sure you have protein and some other good healthy carbs a couple hours afterward because your body’s going to want to recover. It’s going to need to recover.

What is the benefit? It’s going to help us burn fat throughout the entire day. Right? So we established intent, now we have the benefit of what Fran is going to do. I’m not trying to talk scientifically about aerobic capacity and all these other different aspects of intent. I’m trying to keep it like, “Hey, when you do Fran really fast, it jacks up your heart rate and helps you burn fat.” That’s why most people are there anyway, right?

Then finally, what would make today a success? “Today, a success would be for those of you guys who’re here taking on the workout, I want no breaks. We’re going to modify down so that if we’re doing ring rows, we do all 21 ring rows. If we’re doing thrusters, we do all 21. The goal is unbroken. The goal is that everybody’s done between 3-5 minutes. Okay. So we also don’t want anybody done below two and a half minutes. We’ll modify up. But, again, we’re trying to establish that when we commit to the exercise, we’re going unbroken. We’re moving as fast as we can.” We’re creating a means to define success in the workout. We’re trying to define what a bright spot would be that day.

Again, try this exercise with your team. Provide them with the foundation, print off a bunch of workouts and get them up in front of the room. Can they nail it? Can they establish an understanding of why we’re doing such-and-such workout, how it benefits them outside the gym, and what success looks like that day? And drill the little things. Footwork. Capturing and holding the crowd’s attention. Energy. Volume. Pulsing the volume of their voice to keep the attention of the room. Cadence–are they talking way too fast? That’s a lot, and it’s only three minutes. Imagine what you could do to your entire business when you focus on mastery instead of figuring out how much shit you can do at a really, really average level.

That’s what I want to see from you in 2019. If you want to become great at business, if you want to become the 1% in the market, if you want to make your competition absolutely irrelevant–it’s not about doing more. It’s about being the very best at the things you do. That’s what’s going to separate you from the crowd. It’s not about doing more. Focus on what it is you do. Focus on the specific niche and become the best at that. Deliver the world-class experience nobody else can touch because you literally nail it down every month, every week.

So that’s my challenge for you guys. Go back and nail the basics for 2019 and watch your business succeed.

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