Knowledge is power; What exactly does go on when you aren't there?

It's the beginning of a new year! many of us view this as an opportunity to start fresh and analyze our business, life and methods of operation so we do not become redundant year over year.  In regards to business operations, I had something come to mind while visiting a health club today regarding "off peak" hours.

For those of you that don't know, I spent a considerable amount of time in management and leadership roles prior to the role I find myself in today, so I feel when it comes to the subject, I have an exercised opinion to share.

So, off peak hours, those times of day when you close your eyes and pray that the opening supervisor you hired to unlock, lock and manage your enterprise when you are not there will own up the expectations you set out for them.  That they will cary the message to the patrons of your environment when you the operator is not there.  Can you depend on them to do their job when no one is looking? What a weighted and often times scary situation! I am sure you can relate, it's simply not possible for you to be at your club from 5am-10pm, 7 days a week! so you must trust someone else to take care of your people while you sleep... So how do you ensure that the environment does not shift out of your scope of desired wishes when you are not there?

I wanted to share a few different tactics I have used in the past, and then open up the feed to share best practices, especially in the climate of New Years, new members... retention is at an ultimate peak of concern.

1. Communicate your expectations and follow up when you see them not being executed.

Clear, concise operational procedures that are universal is a key to employee success.  They must know what you expect and have a clear understanding of what it looks like to embody it.  Role play with new employees, give them a written check list of opening and closing procedures.  More often times, you know your club like the back of your hand, and we forget that the new employee can't learn simply via osmosis, they must be led to discovery and then followed up with to ensure execution. 

2. Pop-in visits

Stop by when you are not scheduled and do not call ahead to let anyone know you are coming.  Take the 6am class even though you are not 'scheduled' until 9am, you might be amazed at what you learn. It's fairly simple, the best way to see what happens when your not there, stop in when they know you aren't normally there, put on a ball cap and be one with your members, do some on the fly research. If it's beyond you being incognito and everyone knows who you are, have a friend they don't know stop in and report back, you will learn a lot and be armed with useful knowledge to coach to. 

3. lead by example

Practice what you preach; this is so simple, but truly inspiring when done correctly!  If you have asked your employees to leave their cell phones while working, you do the same.  If you have asked for smiles and eye contact upon check in at the front desk, hang out at the front desk and set the tone for how it should look.  If you make it look easy, and inspire while leading, your employees will not have a reason to not follow in line with the tone you set.

Let me know, Lindsey Rainwater what it looks like to manage to your expectations at your Fitness facility!  I love the transparent exchange of industry knowledge.  The more we know, the better we can be!