richard synnott
By Rich Synnott of Active Entities

One of the most gratifying rewards as a consultant is when the people at the companies that we work with embrace the changes to systems that we recommend. A large club that we started working with in November just had their best sales month ever. The membership EFT increased by 17% in January. Non-dues program revenues were up as well. Not many clubs can claim those results in these challenging Covid times. The people with whom we work always had the commitment, they just needed some better systems that focused on accountability, for them and their staff.

Customer service guru, Jane Storm said, “The benefit of accountable leaders is that they are able to create effective structures where their staff know what is expected of them and can then improve the business for their customers.” In a short time, we helped rekindle the importance of establishing measurable goals, requiring a meaningful weekly report from everyone that shows progress toward those goals, and publicly sharing the success of reaching the goals.

This seems simple enough, but the larger a business is, the more ”silos” get built, and before long not everyone understands how they fit into the big picture of the company values and its mission.

There are a number of steps we’ve found successful in our approach to improving accountability:

people working out in a park

Step 1: Review job descriptions annually

The integrity of a job description may change over the course of time and often become outdated.  Additionally we’ve found job descriptions are often tailored to a specific individual and when that individual leaves, the skill sets it was based on often don’t match the replacement employee.  By reviewing the responsibilities each job has with employees (we like to do this in an annual review), it reinforces the detail that often gets lost throughout the year. 

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Step 2: Create concrete and measurable goals for each employee

Ambiguous goals are a threat to accountability. To that end, establishing numerical goals each individual is responsible to achieve is imperative to reinforcing what employees will be held accountable for.  A tool we’ve found very useful is a “Balance Score Card” that consists of four categories:  Staff Development Goals, Financial Goals, Facility improvements, and Member Services.  Each Manager creates a score card that becomes the basis of weekly and monthly individual meetings to ensure they are focused on what they set out to do.

active entities results assured program member celebrating with their management team

Step 3:  Inspect what you expect

Setting up goals is the first step towards success.  Maintaining the focus is the second step.  Celebrating wins is the important third step.  Recognizing achievements not only instills confidence in the employee but motivates staff to reach for even higher goals.  The energy that comes from celebrating wins is contagious and an important part of the positive culture clubs seek to create.  For more information on the Balance Score Card and accountability methodology contact Rich Synnott at Active Entities: