The 10 Essential Questions that Smart Health Club Operators Should Ask

The 10 Essential Questions that Smart Health Club Operators Should Ask

Attitude is the single most important factor in getting and keeping customers. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” Having a good attitude is critical as the fitness industry soon goes into its busiest months.

Your attitude accounts for the majority of your success. It is the outward expression of everything you are and has the single greatest impact on the people you deal with. The development of a positive mental attitude is therefore an indispensable prerequisite of success. Even in a difficult economy, the best sales people are still successful, mostly because of their attitude and work habits and not because they are selling the best deal.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A man becomes what he thinks about most of the time.” You control what happens to you by controlling what you think about yourself, the people around you and your situation. When you begin to understand and apply the power of your mind in selling and in life, your desired future becomes closer to reality.

In addition to having a great attitude, smart leaders ask smart questions, such as these 10 essential questions:

  1. What matters most? Figure that out and focus on it. What was important two years ago may not be important today. With your leadership team, clarify priorities and commit to keeping them in focus. In his book “Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable,” Patrick Lencioni refers to this as organizational clarity.
  2. What is one problem I can turn into an opportunity? Think about the skills that helped you achieve past business successes and figure out how to apply them to the challenge at hand. You grow by building on strengths, not by fixing weaknesses.
  3. What do employees need to hear from me? Be careful about sending the message that people need to hear. Think from your employees’ point of view. If they do not feel understood, they will not listen to you anyway. Resist the urge to tell employees how they “should” think or feel. Inspiration does not have to come only from motivational speeches to the masses. It should happen more informally, too. Lencioni calls this over-communicating your organizational clarity.
  4. What is my customers’ greatest need? Be relentless about knowing and meeting that need. Skip the surveys—pick up the phone and ask. Talk to your members and, more importantly, talk to nonmembers. Listen and understand first; then get busy offering solutions.
  5. How can I create new business relationships? Seek opportunities that offer mutual benefit rather than just looking at what is in it for you. Even in these days of social media, significant relationships begin with real dialogue rather than a tweet.
  6. How can I be more strategic? Strategic planning is not an event; it is a discipline. Get serious about setting direction, always starting with a big picture view. Resist the urge to discuss and deal with tactics until you are clear about what you want to accomplish. Even then, do not check strategy off your list; put it into daily practice.
  7. How can I make swift yet smart decisions? You cannot afford to overanalyze. Clear the mind clutter that plagues you and make way for informed, decisive actions. Slow your thinking during the planning process so you can make faster and better decisions later.
  8. Which of my leadership skills could I improve? Your personal effectiveness affects the success of the business. Pick the skill that most needs your attention—e.g. listening, coaching or problem-solving—and strengthen it. Small changes can make a big difference; just ask those on the receiving end.
  9. How will I recognize success? You will not know if your club is on the right path if you have not determined some key markers or indicators. Moreover, not all measures of success are quantitative, so consider how you will know when a result feels right.
  10. What is my biggest fear, and how will I face it? Own your fear before it owns you, and decide how you will confront it. If you do not, it can be damaging, even deadly, to you and your business.


Ed Tock is a partner with REX Roundtables, a global organization that runs roundtables for business owners and chief executives. As a consultant, he has worked with more than 1,000 clubs since 1983.

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