Examine Your Culture

Thought exercises are usually stupid. So….here’s a thought exercise. But trust me, it’s going somewhere.

Whenever a large group of people get together and interact consistently, a culture is created. People like having things in common with other people and will begin to influence each other by strengthening those things, or creating new ones.

So what does this mean for you? Assuming your gym is one where people interact, BINGO there is a culture (or you gym might just have a bunch of dudes flexing in front of mirrors or taking pictures of themselves on cell-phones, in which case that sucks for you. Or maybe that’s awesome for you, so whatever.)

This is part of a three-part series on embracing and improving the culture of your gym.

First step: Figure out what your gym’s culture actually is.

So, here is the thought exercise: How would you describe the culture of your gym? 

PLEASE DO NOT USE THE WORD “FUN” or “COOL”. Anything can be “fun”. “Cool” means different things to different people. In fact, if you can only come up with one-word answers, take a few more minutes and flesh it out. If you still can’t come up with something, read the rest of this post, then take the week to observe what goes on around you at your chosen Temple of Fitness.

The more answers the better. Talk to another member or a coach at your gym and have a conversation.

Still stumped?

Here’s a question-asking cheat sheet (also, if you’re feeling gutsy, this might be a beneficial tool for your entire gym to use – copy/paste to your private Facebook page or gym e-mail list and see what kind of response you get say):

What do you feel the gym values the most?

What is the biggest strength of the gym? 

If the gym was a friend of yours, how would you describe their personality? 

What’s the most important weakness or the gym?

Still stumped?? Some more questions, then:

Values–  What does your gym feel is important? Health or performance? Fitness or competition? A total balance of skill or is there something that is slightly (or extremely) more important than the rest? Is there more focus and effort placed on the community or on the individual? Is variety promoted or is consistent progression? Science or simplicity?

Strengths – Coaching? Programming? The membership? Facility? Programs? Active community? Education? Community (but be specific)?

Personality – knowledgeable? Friendly? Serious? Hard working? Easy going?

Weakness – Is it a byproduct of a strength? Does it exist because the gym is unaware or unwilling to address it? Is this weakness necessary? How many people does this weakness affect? In what way does this weakness affect the gym? Does the gym wallow in this weakness because of laziness, or is this weakness just part of the growing and improvement process?

Put some thought and effort into this one.

P.S. I would love (and I know others would benefit) if you were to add your comments to this post, or to this post on the Facebook page – ESPECIALLY if you throw this question out to the entire gym.

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