Raising the Bar Issue 8 - Page 7

Today , mixed messages are being put forth . “ Stay at home .” “ This one machine is the end-all !” Or “ Technology will take care of everything .” In a nutshell , let ’ s monetise social distancing as best we can .
There is always a fragile balance between doing what is right and doing what is best ; and there is no doubt that desperate times can produce desperate measures . But the real question is where the line is drawn . Today ’ s narrative – or truth – is vastly different than it was 18 months ago . An example of this is a former club owner who could not sustain his business due to the restrictions brought about by the pandemic . He once scoffed at home gym products but today he is selling a “ magic ” fitness mirror . His truth has changed .
So , what is the truth for us now ? How honest is the industry being with itself , its members , and each other ? Honesty can be defined as the “ willingness to listen and discuss options and strategies that apply to the diversity of our clubs ”, but is that actually happening ? Whom do we rely on for direction ?
In the midst of a crisis the truth can be missed in the “ fog ” of war ; meaning , different states , or even regions or towns , have had varying mandates , and continue to do so . In the United States , IHRSA has been a reliable advocate in the past , but during this tumultuous time the President of IHRSA resigned and the Board ’ s Chairman stepped aside , leaving a large gap in the organisation . The early messaging to “ stay open ” was loud , when in many cases it was strategically not sound to try and operate at 10 to 25 per cent capacity . Many independent clubs couldn ’ t afford to let alone know how to .
Transparency in decision-making promotes accountability , and provides important information as to what leadership is , or was , doing . The truth is transparency was slipping even prior to COVID .
Our industry MUST be known for its integrity . While being honest is often perceived as being harder than being transparent , I would suggest maintaining integrity may be the hardest core value of all to sustain .
The truth is simple . The fitness industry was grouped with bars , gaming establishments and casinos during the pandemic , and was as close to being considered “ essential ” as Tic Tacs are considered medicinal ! General rules for small boutique fitness entities were similarly applied to multi-purpose clubs because political decision makers were not informed about how different each type of entity really is . Instead of being looked upon as a resource , the industry was a pariah … a breeding ground for COVID . While our industry leaders shouted , “ we must stay open !”, to do so took such a financial toll that it sounded the death knell for over 20 percent of existing clubs in the States .
I ’ m intrigued with where we go next . What truths will be put forth ? How does OUR industry find common ground and collectively come forward with
BOBBY VERDUN , GEOFF HAMPTOM & RICH SYNNOT
Bobby Verdun ( President and Founder ), Richard Synnott ( Vice President ) and Geoff Hampton ( Vice President for Business Development ) make up some of the Active Entities Consulting team . This award-winning group of experienced professionals are committed to supporting active living entities as they strive to be the epicentre of activity in their respective communities . Learn more at www . activeentities . com
honest and transparent best practices ? IHRSA acting President Darden has been a remarkably steadying influence , which I applaud ; but important longterm decisions must be made without bias , and that ’ s hard to do when you ’ re in a temporary seat . There are some relationships that are connected to other facets of the industry that are politically and / or financially motivated that may not be the best for our industry .
The integrity of the industry moving forward , will be dependent upon how transparent future leadership is . And this applies no matter where you live . That is the truth . ®
ISSUE 8 / RAISING THE BAR 7