The Gymnastics Life
In a previous post I mentioned a series of emails I send out to our staff. I called them culture emails. Here's one of my most recent ones:
I'm part of a family of 6. I was the youngest and probably the least like the rest of my family. I'm most similar to my eldest brother, his name is Shane. We both like things clean and organized. You should see his apartment downtown: spotless. It should be in an ad catalogue for apartments or modern room decor.
Growing up I was very possessive of my things. I was a husky kid so my brother (other brother, Johnny) and I wore the same clothes and it drove me nuts when he would wear my stuff... I'm still salty about the Hurley hoodie he lost back in 2001.
I've always kept my room clean (unlike my sister, Heidi), made my bed, and hung all my clothes in my closet. Yes, I hang every piece of clothing I own, including T-shirts (I don't like creases).
I always kept my car clean and got routine maintenance. Owning a CrossFit gym, I always made sure everything was in order and things were put back to where they were supposed to be.
Owning Rev now, many times you will see me moving blocks, mats, or wedges when I get in or after I coach a rotation.
Aesthetics matter A LOT to me... you won't see me type in all caps often but thats how much the visual aspect of how things look matters to me. ALL CAPS and emphasized.
The same applies to how we visually look as we coach. Our customers stay and watch their kid(s) which is awesome. Our lobby is huge so it allows many parents to view classes.
They're always watching so, the way our gym looks and what we look while coaching is unbelievably important. Especially because they can't hear you coaching (unless you coach as loud as me HA HA).
So what should our appearance visually represent? Here's my top 5:
1. Be in the Universal Ready Position.
- This is the position of being ready to give a critique. Stand up straight with your shoulders back, hands on hips (jazz hands if you're feeling funky). You can't be ready if you're sitting down or holding a clipboard. If you're ever tempted to sit down do 10 squats and 10 burpees and I promise you will perk right up I'll even do it with you.
2. Be on the move and stay on the move.
- If I'm not spotting I'm moving and constantly giving corrections. This helps keep my energy up too.
3. Keep the kids in front you, always facing the customers.
- We want the customers to see our pretty faces engaging their kid. This also ensures you have eyes on all stations (unless you need to turn your back to the parents in order to be spotting a station on the correct side-- safety first!)
4. Be prepared.
- Know the lesson plan and the warm up (Flow Master-- this is on you to help set up). Making the warm up fun and getting the kids excited to do good gymnastics should always be a priority. Change it up each week and get creative. Heck use the ninja blocks if you want?
5. Use your 15 minutes between classes to get yourself jacked for the next class.
- First talk to customers for 2-5 minutes after class, then use 3-5 minutes to do whatever you need to get ready, maybe check facebook or post to your insta story . I like to slam some coffee and pop a fresh piece of gum in. Use the next 3-5 minutes to recheck rotations and set up a fun warmup then get in the lobby to take roll for your excited students!
I absolutely love Gym Owners Facebook Groups. I was in two when I owned my CrossFit gym, as well as the Gymnastics Owners and Managers group. I love it because it's a great place to seek answers and share Best Practices.
December 4th, 2018 marked 12 months in business. We had just made hire #30 (we started with 9). A lot had changed in one year. We were in no way the same business Day 1 as we were on Day 365.
I decided to take to the exercise of writing a series of emails about our gym. In this series of emails I would go over why we started, what we value, what kind of culture we want, why we make changes, why we work hard, why we do what we do, etc.
Currently I'm on my twenty-fourth email.
And you know what? Our staff loves it! I've heard on multiple occasions that it, "peels back the curtain on us as owners".
As much as you want to think not, your employees do see you in a different light. It doesn't matter how close, or how good of friends you are. You are still the owner and they are the employee. In a sense, your the wizard behind the curtain.
But the good news is, I think this bridges the gap. There's something about the medium of the written word that opens lines of communication that verbal can't always do.
Instead of having a several all staff meetings (usually someone always can't make it) or a meeting that goes for 2 hours. I write to my staff daily what's on my mind or things I would like to work on, etc.
These series of emails has created openness with our entire staff and has even helped address issues that we didn't even know existed.
So here's my challenge to you owners or a managers. Write to your staff daily for 20 days. That's Monday-Friday for 4 weeks and watch your culture change for the better.