An Important Secret About The Competitive Health Club And Fitness Industry

I know , please don't give me a hard time about it. I just keep trying to make sure you're paying attention to what is REALLY going on out there in this great big world of ours. Admittedly its hard, when our heads are down and we are slugging away at obstacles and opportunities everyday. But things have changed, really changed. So please think about this the next time you sit down to evaluate your business, your profession and our industry. You see the way we think has got to change if we are to remain relevant.

I've mentioned Rita Mcgrath before . As one of the leading thinkers in global innovation, Rita is now coming out with a new and compelling book titled, The End of Competitve Advantage, How To Keep Your Strategy Moving As Fast As Your Business. in this book lies some secrets for us to use when it comes to our future. Here's and excerpt from the book:

Are you at risk of being trapped in an uncompetitive business?

Chances are the strategies that worked well for you even a few years ago no longer deliver the results you need. Dramatic changes in business have unearthed a major gap between traditional approaches to strategy and the way the real world works now. In short, strategy is stuck. Most leaders are using frameworks that were designed for a different era of business and based on a single dominant idea—that the purpose of strategy is to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Once the premise on which all strategies were built, this idea is increasingly irrelevant.

As with other industries this is the predominant thinking embraced by leadership in the health club and fitness industry today . Failing to collaborate and the myopic view that competition is primarily derived from others within our space is flawed thinking. As with other industries, increasingly competition is going to come from other industries. We need to change how we think. Otherwise many will likely fail and be left to their demise in a wake of denial. Opening our eyes to Rita's view point is an excellent tonic for us to take as we examine the reality of many of our businesses today. I hope you will find this thinking helpful.

Check out Rita's brief video below as she explains the concepts behind the End of Competitive Advantage and please let me, Bryan O'Rourke, know what you think about her views.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit . To learn more contact Bryan here today .


As 2013 Arrives How Most Organizations Planned For It Was Wrong

Conventional wisdom is getting a swift kick in the rear thanks to the fact that business is changing so quickly. The environment of business has entered an age of extreme uncertainty . The result is tremendous opportunity for those who can navigate it well. However legacy thinking creates a big obstacle for some less nimble groups burdened by old school thinking; let me explain why.

Relying on high degrees of assumption to knowledge ratios when attempting to do new things can lead to costly blunders. Therefore when evaluating business strategies planning processes must change. Many businesses, however, have not changed how they plan because their leaders arrogantly believe they know the answers and their assumptions are right. That's a mistake.

As professor Rita McGrath so eloquently shares in the video below, when exploring new opportunities where organizations are unable to rely on past experience, discovery driven growth is a better method of planning. As she puts it, " when you are operating on assumptions, being right is not a solution because you don't know." Rita is correct, in areas that have great uncertainty, planning to be right is not a wise choice.  However planning to take on initiatives that embrace new conceptsat low cost , while learning from them quickly, is a more prudent practice.

Check out Rita's video and if you are able her book, Discovery Driven Growth . Is your business trying new things while assuming it is right ? Let me Bryan O'Rourke hear about how you conducted planning for 2013. Was it via the Discovery Driven Method or some relic of planning from the past ?

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Can Health Clubs Achieve Renewed Growth ? Yes - By Applying New Disciplines

I get to hear from a lot of leaders in the fitness industry and as a result I learn a lot. As we know, the health club industry saw tremendous growth for a number of years that slowed significantly as the result of the rapid surge in competition and a slowing economy. Now, with the economy rebounding what should we learn from the past as we proceed to the future ? This is a timely question and I have a view - the health club industry needs to approach new opportunities with new disciplines.

Its time to rethink how we approach new business development in general as opposed to just picking up where we left off during the last boom.  Here's how. Professor Rita McGrath, in the clip below, outlines key disciplines essential to what she terms discovery driven growth. Central to her message is that leaders and managers should recognize the higher level of uncertainty that exists in business today and adapt their growth process accordingly. Rita is right, and the health club industry should heed her warning. As Rita explains, companies must apply new approaches. Could this be relevant for club operators ? I think so and her views are timely.

Watch the video below, share your thoughts and tell me Bryan O'Rourke: how can the health club industry best achieve new growth? Do you think Rita McGrath is correct ? Is the barrier to growth in the heallth club business more a function of how we approach growth as anything else ? Must health clubs change their assumptions about club operations, the marketplace and growth strategies to achieve better results and how ? I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

How Can Fitness And Wellness Businesses Achieve Growth in 2011 ?

If you've followed me for long, you know I am a big fan of Rita McGrath. Well its that time of year for many of the companies I own and work in as well as for our strategic partners and clients - we are all planning for 2011 and we are all still reeling a bit from the economy while trying to figure out "how we could grow". Rita has an excellent view on planning for growth. Her notions are on point: so many companies don't plan for growth very well.

An important notion McGrath shares is one of the ratio of assumptions to knowledge. Often because an organization or its leadership has had success in the past leading there is a false belief that they will be able to replicate that success in new growth initiatives. Problem is there ordinarily isn't enough knowledge about the new growth area to succesfully create reliable plans from inception and a "dysfunctional" dynamic is created around planning for growth. Leaders plan thinking their plan will be right instead of realizing the high ratio of assumptions to knowledge and accepting their plans will more likely be wrong.

As a result most leaders need to rethink planning and strategy. Many leaders should stop thinking that planning is about being right. They should also stop thinking failing is bad. Low cost intelligent learning is invaluable and businesses have great opportunities to improve how they learn to create value but this thinking remains uncommon today. The implications of this thinking to organization's planning processes are significant.

Watch this interview where Rita and her esteemed co-author explain their concepts. It is an invaluable approach in this day and time and you should consider adopting it in your organization. Contact me, Bryan O'Rourke, and share - How is your fitness or wellness business planning for growth in 2011 ?

How to Lead Growth During Turbulent Times in the Fitness Business

Rita McGrath shares brilliant insights into how leaders should handle turbulent times in this interview. All industries are being touched by tremendous change and the fitness industry is NO exception. As Rita notes the difficulties of leading through tremendous change are generally broken down into i) being open to the facts and not falling victim to past success; ii) the ability to diversify, iii) having discipline with new endeavors and iv) exiting less appealing and older investments. Watch this interview as Rita shares her views on how change can be best navigated. More than anything you MUST accept that reinvention is now a necessity and unless businesses in the fitness and wellness space get on board there will be very rough seas ahead.