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You’re Only As Strong As…Your Aggregate Strengths

It’s no surprise that your business is only as strong as the staff you hire. Josh Leve, Co-founder and President of the Association of Fitness Studios, offers his tips to ensure that your studio is as strongly staffed as possible.

It has been said that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. While it may certainly be true that the weakest link in your staff may reflect poorly on your growing business, I tend to look at this adage as a “glass half empty” philosophy.

Negative employees, sometimes in the form of independent contractors and part-time trainers, may leave you struggling to maintain a healthy studio culture with a common focus on your business’s big picture. But if you take a moment to consider each employee’s individual strengths, you can move your studio from good to great.

Instead of evaluating your staff by its weakest link, consider the health of your studio to be the aggregate of your trainers’ strengths, minus your weak links.

Uncovering Your Staff’s Strengths

Let’s pretend that a man named Bill is a budding entrepreneur and highly successful trainer with the drive to follow his dreams and open a fitness studio. Bill lives in a world where failure is not an option, and thus he regularly leaves a trail of success everywhere he goes.

But Bill’s success has led him to unexpectedly assume the best in others, and when the trainers on his staff lack the discipline, drive or motivation that he has, he grows increasingly frustrated. Moreover, he is met with unsuspecting challenges when his trainers show up late to appointments, miss appointments altogether—or even worse, suddenly quit (taking clients with them, to boot).

Bill suffers from an extremely common problem that can be traced across industries, but the solution is something at which he is already incredibly adept. Bill has failed to routinely administer a needs analysis with each and every member of his staff.

A needs analysis is something he has done with every new client since the day he obtained his first personal training certification, yet it’s something he has never considered doing with his employees. However, it can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to truly uncover the needs of his team and, ultimately, to capitalize on his team’s strengths.

The Employee Needs Analysis

You interviewed them to determine fit within your organization. Eventually, you hired them. Now, interview them again as a new employee with the goal of uncovering how you can lead with impact.

Ask some of the following questions:

  • What was the best professional experience you can remember? Why did it have so much impact on you?
  • Who is the best leader you can think of, and why?
  • What are you the best at? What makes you so good?
  • Should you move on from the position you are currently in, what would you like to tell your future co-workers was the best experience you had working here?

Notice the common theme? Every question asks for the “best”. If you want your studio to be the best, uncover what will make it the best.

The Net Effect of Strengths Minus Weaknesses

It would be ignorant to assume that only promoting the strengths of your studio will solve all of your problems. It won’t. You do need to keep an eye on your weaknesses and work to remedy them. However, uncovering the strengths of your staff and promoting those will not only keep your independent contractors and part-time hourly employees more engaged, but it may lead to unexpected innovation that you may never have thought of without the help of your very strong team.

The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) is the only membership organization dedicated solely to the business of fitness studios. By building a stronger, more unified studio community, AFS members connect with others to foster business growth, save thousands of dollars on fitness products and services, and receive traffic generating opportunities to enhance profitability.

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