Core Values: Why Your Gym Needs Them

October 14, 2019
Core Values: Why Your Gym Needs Them
Every business needs a set of values to operate on. These values will guide your management, your staff, and your clients in the same direction. Understand why setting your core values will steer you clear of drama and chaos, and how it will be the driving force of your long term success.

Have you ever had to deal with subordinate staff members or coaches? Do you ever wonder why your staff or clients don't respect your business like you think they should? If so, you likely need to go thru the exercise of defining your core values and getting those core values understood by your team members and clients.

Every Business Has Core Values

Whether you realize it or not, you have likely already build your entire gym around your core values. These are the ideas and things that matter most to you. For some gyms it's about "having fun" and "being inclusive", while for others it might be about "doing work and getting results" and "being exclusive". There are no one right or wrong set of core values, since they are personal to how you want your business to operate.

The Benefits of Having Defined Core Values

Taking the time to think through and define your core values will have lasting and impactful effects on your business.

  • It will help you define your culture. There's a saying "your culture will always be defined, if not by you then by someone else". Culture clashes are the primary reason for all the drama that happens in gyms (people dating coaches, pets in the gym or no, kids on the gym floor or no, competitive or not, etc)
  • It will attract the right people. People like to be around like minded people. If you clearly define and explain your core values to your staff (and even your clients) it will strongly attract the people who agree most with them. Those people will work best in your business.
  • It will weed out the wrong people. Similarly to the point above, and perhaps more importantly, it will repel people who strongly do not agree with your core values. This will save you an invaluable amount of time and drama.
  • It will get everyone rowing in the same direction. This will be the eventual flywheel to your businesses success - and it has to be started for it to compound on itself. Similar to rowing in a lake, the more inertia you build up, the easier each successive stroke is, and the more team members you have rowing in the same direction, the faster you can build that inertia.
  • It will give you a guideline to hire/fire/review against. Your team will end up being your most important asset, and having this set of core values will make personnel decisions much clearer.
  • It will define to your employees what you expect from them. Giving your team a clear set of expectations helps them do better, faster, and in line with what you are looking for.
  • It will give you customers guidance. Consumers always like patronizing businesses they believe in - give them that reason.

How Core Values Work

If you think of your business as a Row Team, you want everyone rowing in the same direction, on the same cadence and with the right power. Core values help get your entire team seeing the same vision and understanding the same goals. This will get everyone rowing together, and get your fitness studio looking like an Olympic-caliber rowing team. Similarly, if you clients see that your team has a clear direction and focus, they will fall more in line with leadership. All of this leads to more efficient and smooth day to day operations of your business.

Process of Picking Your Core Values

  • The goal is to get to 3 to 7 core values.
  • Core values should resonate a belief and be clearly defined.
  • There are no "right" core values. Find ones that reflect your philosophies.
  • Start by jotting down a brainstorm of everything you can think of. Consolidate and refine from there.
  • You likely already have a model coach or employee. Think of traits that makes this person exemplary and dive into those. Are any of those core value material?

Example Core Values

  1. Achieving ultimate human performance
  2. Being the best coaches
  3. Being compassionate to clients needs/wants
  4. Best hour of their day
  5. Making sure everyone has fun
  6. Winning at all costs
  7. Helping the most people we can
  8. Quality of quantity
  9. Quantity over quality
  10. Honesty and professionalism
  11. Accountability and transparency
  12. Team over individual
  13. Data over feelings
  14. Helping everyone (staff and clients) achieve their goals
  15. Creating a family / community / Being their "third place".
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