How Will Change Happen In The Fitness And Wellness Industry ?

I write about change; the change that is coming as a result of mega trends in technology, globalism and demography and the need for the fitness and wellness industries to change to reach their promise. But how does change happen ? Made to Stick authors Chip and Dan Heath describe change in their latest book Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard. They set out a framework for 3 ways change happens:

1. Direct the Rider (the conscious mind), eliminating what looks like resistance but is more often a lack of clarity by providing crystal-clear direction;

2. Motivate the Elephant (the subconscious), eliminating what looks like laziness but is more often exhaustion by engaging emotions to get people on the same path as you; and

3. Shape the Path (the situation), eliminating what looks like a people problem but is more often a situation problem, by making the environment more conducive to the change you seek.

So in watching the 60 minutes story last night about the Tunisian fruit vendor 26-yr.-old Mohammed Bouazizi, and how he set himself on fire out of frustration which resulted in a Facebook fueled revolution in the otherwise peaceful nation, I wondered about change. Obviously Bouazizi indirectly embraced all 3 of the frameworks, ending his life as a result. How tragic. Watch the story below and tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think about change ? Does it happen peacefully and slowly or more often is it started by a spark that fuels a sudden revolution ? What do you think needs to happen for fitness and wellness to become more of a part of our culture and ethos ? Who will be the catalysts ?


About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Exercise and Relationships - Can It Really Get That Bad ?

This morning I grabbed my IPad over tea to catch up with the WSJ. In the Living Section was this article by Kevin Helliker: A Workout Ate My Marriage. As Kevin writes, "Exercise can set off conflict about family, free time; Errands vs. English Channel.

Now being involved in fitness and wellness I wondered, is this as big of a problem as Kevin thinks ? I mean we are always talking about the fact that people don't exercise enough. How often are people exercising too much and if so can it lead to the end of a relationship ? I guess its possible and happens but how often ?

I happen to be married. My wife Maureen works out 6 times a week with a combination of ballet, weight training and cardio. I work out as well (at the same great club stone creek club and spa) and as frequently but we rarely work out together; only when we play tennis, cycle or take a BODYPUMP class. While our regime of training did not evolve until the past decade, its never posed a problem. In fact, we talk about it and enjoy doing the things we do when we do them together. So I was wondering, aren't there more couples and families who are positively impacted by training and keeping fit than negatively impacted ? Aren't these examples extreme cases ? I wondered after reading this part of the article:

The effect of extreme exercise on divorce rates isn't clear. Even if research showed a higher rate of discord in homes where just one spouse is an endurance athlete, exercise could be a consequence, rather than a cause. Among endurance athletes, though, resentment on the part of spouses is a common topic. The phenomenon may develop into what Pete Simon, an Arizona psychologist, triathlon coach and blogger, calls "Divorce by Triathlon." "I often wonder how many lonely wives, husbands, children of triathletes are out there wondering when the insanity is going to end," he wrote.

Now Kevin is a good reporter and Pete is an accomplished coach but couldn't we read more about how exercise is bringing families and couples closer together ?

What do you think ? What is your experience ? Do you know of a situation where working out broke up a marriage ? Do you think couples and families can be closer as a result of being active ? If so, please share your views with me, Bryan O'Rourke. Can working out too often make marriage and family life that bad or make it better ?

Near Term - The Enemy of Progress

Reading Harvard Business Review's blog "Is the U.S. Killing Its Innovation Machine" I am reminded of the continual challenge of quality managers and entrepreneurs : the need to balance the near and long term. In fact most, if not all, of the significant challenges facing organizations today result from the failing of leadership to convey the value of long term goals to stakeholders for fear of the near. The "Tyranny of the Ugent" as Hummel wrote.

Its easy for people to "demand" results: particularly when there is so little understanding as to how those "results" might be achieved. Sadly many believe such demands are a sign of leadership: funny as that is. This is faulty thinking that is at the center of huge failings ( think GM and the recent Wall Street debacle as examples).

The principal role of intelligent leaders is to illuminate their organization's and industries about the need to choose between the status quo and a future of greater potential. As the article, "Pleasing Wall Street is a Poor Excuse for Bad Decisions" put it: good decisions rarely have much to do with the near term. No matter if you are a public or private enterprise, for profit or not for profit, the near term result should never be driven at the cost of the big picture. Dr. Ed Catmull, founder of Pixar, who wrote the article notes, among other things:

Managers who focus on maximizing short-term profits end up driving out things that generate long-term value — like R&D. They use all sorts of excuses when they make those decisions, including the need to please Wall Street and create shareholder value. But they're just excuses for poor thinking.

We need business leaders who have a respect for technical issues even if they don't have technical backgrounds. In a lot of U.S. industries, including cars and even computers, many managers don't think of technology as a core competency, and this attitude leads them to farm out technical issues. But we live in a technical society; technology is just fundamental to our way of life. Technical understanding should be a core competency of any company.

Watch Ed's description about how his firm, Pixar, was and is able to innovate. He is a smart man and I concur with his views. Near term results by the way are NOT at the center of their success but other more important things are. What do you think about that ?

CK Prahalad - Visionary of Global Management Passes at 68

On occassion we are fortunate and benefit from the insights and work of special people. When they pass it is noteworthy and sad. Such is the case with the distringuished professor CK Prahalad, who was internationally recognized for his research in corporate strategy and the best ways top management can navigate the often-complex waters of running large, multinational corporations.

As a Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Strategy in the Ross School of Business, Prahalad was a well-respected and deeply admired member of the community, both as an expert in his field and as a teacher. In 2009, he received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman — an award given by the president of India to men and women who make exceptional and praiseworthy contributions in their respective fields. In the same year, the Indian government honored Prahalad with the Padma Bushan — the third highest civilian award in India — for his distinguished service to the nation. The Times of the United Kindom also named Prahalad the most influential business thinker on its The Thinkers 50 List in October 2009.

For many reasons this Harvard professor and author attained notarity. Among many publications, he had several international bestselling books, including “Competing for the Future,” “The Future of Competition” and “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits.” A visionary who saw the unique contributions the emerging global middle class is and will have on the world, he once was quoted as saying:

If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up.



Switch Author to Speak About Change at IHRSA


The upcoming IHRSA event in San Diego will feature Chip Heath, author, with his brother Dan,  of Made to Stick and their newest book Switch. Heath is a great speaker and his books are even more enjoyable. His latest book is an interesting forray into how change occurs. It involves an elephant, a rider and the path. This is a very topical speaker for IHRSA and the industry as changing is something every industry, and most of all fitness and wellness, needs to be quite on top of. Hats off to IHRSA leadership for having Heath at the event. See the book review below.