Once Simon Sinek left the stage after Thursday's keynote address at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association show in Los Angeles, IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore asked the audience, "Wasn't that one of the greatest inspirational speeches you've ever heard?" I tend to agree.
Sinek, author of "Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action," tailored his presentation to the fitness club audience better than any speaker I can recall at an industry trade show. And one of his points touched on a comment Moore made earlier that morning. Moore had asked the audience, "What is the best health club?" The answer, Moore wanted to hear, was, "Mine!"
Sinek (photo to the right by Les Kamens, The Photo Group, courtesy of IHRSA) later asked a slightly different question: What makes a great club? The answer, Sinek said, is somewhere that makes you feel safe, where other members are like you. Sinek spoke about how great companies appeal to people's emotions, providing examples such as Apple, Southwest Airlines and Harley-Davidson (three go-to companies for any keynote presentation).
Sinek examined the percentage of the population that belongs to a health club, which has been measured anywhere from 15 percent to 18 percent. He said club operators should not focus on the 15 percent to 18 percent of the entire population, but rather the 15 percent to 18 percent of the population who believe what you believe.
Martin Luther King inspired millions with his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. Sinek said that the 250,000 people who went to Washington, DC, to hear the speech in person didn't come just for King. They came for themselves, Sinek said. And King's speech wasn't "I Have a Plan," it was "I Have a Dream," and people wanted to share that dream.
Sinek shared a personal story about a volunteer tour he took with the Air Force to Afghanistan. After his stay lasted longer than he had anticipated, Sinek changed his attitude of caring more about himself to caring more about others, and once he volunteered to help in any way he could, he felt much better.
Sinek concluded by reiterating to club operators that it is not your job to get everybody in shape. It is, however, your job to serve those who believe what you believe.