Yes Technology Does Liberate Human Capital. The Future Of Work Is Here.

In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, How Technology Liberates Human CapitalMichael Milken and Igor Tulchinsky posit that digital innovation, artificial intelligence and robots are opening new possibilities for workers across the U.S. economy. I agree and it isn't just happening in the U.S. While rapid change will be a painful process for some, in the end the future for humans is not being displaced by technology but instead interacting with technology to unleash human creativity, experience and insights . Technology is really a job creation machine; they're just new kinds of jobs.

A key challenge for industries, like health and fitness, medical, legal, finance and more, is understanding this change is already underway and therefore people need to evolve their skills and perspectives to take advantage of new opportunities. Business models need to reinvent themselves as well with this in mind. Innovation starts with me and you grasping this new era as an opportunity to leverage human capital.

McKinsey Global Institute reported in January of 2017 that almost half of paid work can be automated today with current technologies. Yet, 2 million manufacturing positions will go unfilled in the next 8 years according to Deloitte Consulting. This as a result of the "GAP" between employee skills and workplace needs and its just beginning. As hardware becomes cheaper and software become smarter the effects will continue to change industries and work itself.

So what should you and I do about it ? First, stay informed. Read books like Leading Digital , Digital Sense The Second Machine Age , and The Inevitable. Follow credible thought leaders on Twitter. Listen to great podcasts. Second, start thinking about your organization, career, and life with a 3-5 year minimum perspective. In other words what you are experiencing today will be vastly different in a 3-5 year window. Make sure you are preparing yourself with education and continue to upgrade your skills and knowledge. Finally, seek to align with organizations and people that see this future coming and have adopted or are adopting new paradigms of the future of work. Surrounding yourself with advocates and industry experts who are talking the new talk will help you embrace the upside of disruption. For my latest on how this is impacting the health club and fitness industry checkout my EHFF 2017 and my IHRSA 2017 presentations and more.

Bryan O’Rourke is a #CEO, #board member, #advisor, #keynote #speaker, #author and #investor, who has successfully expanded global brands for over 30 years. He is widely published and quoted in periodicals like Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on consumer, technology and fitness industry trends and is CSO of a well known Houston based health club chain. He and his partners launched Vedere Ventures, a boutique private equity firm in 2016 . Bryan along with the Fitness Industry Technology Council support the Fitness + Technology Podcast . Check it out today. Get his recent book the 9 Partnership Principles written with his partner Robert Dyer and other top fitness industry leaders. Bryan also released with Europe Active the bookCustomer Engagement and Experience In The Fitness Sector. To learn more visit or follow him @bryankorourke .

The 5 Eras of the Social Web - Fitness Businesses Better Pay Close Attention

The mega trends of rapid technological advancements, demographic shifts and global ism are enhancing consumer choice and its revolutionizing the nature of businesses, including the health club and fitness business. Consumer adoption of social networks is increasing at a rapid pace, therefore its expected that innovations will continue to match this rapid growth. What does it all mean ? We are just starting to find out.

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What Digital Darwinism Means To The Health Club Industry

Going through my morning content over tea I came across this from Brian Solis:

I love Brian, but what do you ask is he talking about ? I think I know.

Conveying to leaders in the health club industry, or leaders from many businesses and industries for that matter, that: 1) change is coming very fast and 2) the future will entail new business models and ways of doing things that will be very different from the past, often falls on deaf ears. While its lonely being the voice of a revolution amidst the monarchy, what Brian Solis is saying is true and Digital Darwinism is an important concept to explore. Here's why.

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Discussing The Health Club Industry With Rick Caro Over Breakfast

It's been a great year thus far in the fitness industry. What has made it good for me, my partners and clients, is the improving economy and our getting a few things done together. Helping people makes me happy and this is a people business after all. So when I have the chance to spend quality time with noteworthy and acclaimed industry leaders,  like Rick Caro, I really love it. It's a privilege and I always learn a lot. I also enjoy sharing these experiences with people who kindly follow my writing; thanks to those that do.

Breakfast Near New York's Grand Central Station

Having scheduled financial meetings in New York during the week that began with the 4th of July, I didn't expect to hook up with industry veteran Rick Caro. After all, it's a popular time to be out of town on vacation. So when I received his email graciously accepting my offer to meet for breakfast on Friday July 8th, I was surprised. Rick had spoken to me several times and even attended one of my IHRSA talks this year. His reputation as one of the leading health club experts and a founding member of IHRSA proceeded him; I was glad we'd be able to sit together and visit. His suggestion was to meet at Grand Central Station and go to a local spot nearby.

"What's Going On Bryan ?", He Asked.

Rick explained he had just returned from a wonderful trip in France with his wife and a group of friends, who vacation every year together. He was relaxed, casual and full of wonderful stories. We chuckled when he commented, " if one more person asks me about the Gold's and Bally's deal...", to which I responded , " you noticed I didn't." We laughed again.

Obviously I can't give away the details of our long breakfast as it touched on a number of confidential topics . Fortunately, Rick and I both advise highly placed and influential people in the business. During our long relaxed meal we shared some very candid views. You can't buy those types of conversations; they're invaluable. What was most interesting though were a couple of key themes we touched upon during our time together. Perhaps these were a reflection of our similar experiences. Nevertheless, I was happy to learn that Rick  Caro and I shared common philosophies on some important matters and our talk left me with 3 items I think are important to share.

1. Mentoring: We discussed the need for the health club industry and it's organizations and participants to do more to mentor and help develop leadership. This is not a surprise from a founder of IHRSA;

2. We Don't Know Enough Yet: We agreed there is a tendency in industries to jump to conclusions about trends and the basis of these trends without having hard data. Hard data is good and thoughtful analysis is better;

3. The Health Club Industry Needs More Outsiders To Help It Evolve Forward: Many of the leaders of the health club industry are cut of the same cloth. The advent of new trends and business models requires skill sets from the outside to enable a prosperous progression.

Tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, do you agree with these three observations about the health club industry ? Please share your thoughts and comments and thank you Rick Caro, for taking the time to share your views and experiences with me over a nice breakfast in New York. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Do You Have A Social Media Policy For Your Organization ?

One of the biggest questions I get from fitness industry leaders including YMCA executives and health club managers and owners is this: "Can We Control How Our Employees Use Social Media and How Do We Do It ?" The main point of the question is concern over what an employee might do given how that could reflect on the business.

its a good question and it really involves a few issues rolled into one.

The first is this: "What is your social media strategy?;

The second is, "What is your culture?"; and

The third question is, "Where is your business located?"

Many organization's don't really have a clear social media strategy and until one is established how you might benefit from or be harmed by employees participation in the strategy will be unclear. You need a plan with defined outcomes. If your employees are very clear about what your brand represents and how you want and need to communicate that to the world, implementing an integrated policy around that strategy is much easier (see my post on the transformation of customers and organizations - Empowered).

The first point closely relates to the second of culture. How much control do you really want to have ? Some organizations are far more controlling than others. They might chose to govern and control ALL content regarding their business in the social space. While this often is very short cited and limits the upside of social media, it would have a significant implication on the rules. Some organizations have more open cultures. I've actually seen a social media policy for employees that simply said, ""Be on brand, be interesting".There isn't a cookie cutter answer and what is even more challenging is that good social media strategy requires continual learning, so policy and practice is going to change over time. You need flexibility.

Finally, the legal rules on employment policies vary from state to state. You will need to reference your legal counsel to take a look at the policy initiatives you have to confirm they are enforcable and act in tandem with your overall employment policy practices.

Here are many examples of social media policies for you to review. Its a great tool. My thanks to the Social Media Governance Organization for sharing them.

So tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, does your organization have a social media policy ? What is your culture like and how has social media played into it ? Watch the video below.