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Operations: Culture of Leadership


Many companies often find themselves in the difficult situation of having to hire effective leaders for their staff. What happens even more often is that when they finally decide to bring someone on, they realize that the individual does not fit within their company’s culture, and they have to repeat the hiring process multiple times. We recently had to go through the process of hiring seven new supervisors and three new department heads all at the same time, however the experience of doing so couldn’t have been any easier. In fact, the most difficult part of this situation was having to decide which of the 10 highly-qualified applicants to bring on.

I forgot to mention one important factor — every one of the applicants were current employees on our front line staff. We are lucky to be able to do this because of the emphasis and development of our strong company culture. At Gainesville Health and Fitness, culture is defined as the way we do things around here. It’s the fever everybody catches when they join our organization. We create a learning and challenging environment that develops leaders — the first aspect of our culture.

In doing so, we encourage our staff to always accept responsibility for their behavior and take ownership of difficult situations, and follow through with all tasks they take on. We demand professionalism at all times through appropriate communication, manners and through their physical appearance. We expect the dedication to always go the extra mile, while maintaining an energetic, enthusiastic and positive attitude, no matter what type of day they are having.

We empower our staff to be fearless and willing to take aggressive mistakes through well-planned and executed decisions. And last and definitely not least, we create knowledgeable employees through daily coaching, seminars, books and many other educational opportunities, which are available to them every single day.

In this environment we find that we are able to develop a community of leaders, and when faced with the situation of having to hire a new supervisor, department head or even managers, we know we can always look from within. So before the next time you find yourself having to hire new leadership, review your company’s culture and ask yourself — are you on the path of developing leadership amongst your staff?


Adrian Antigua is the operations manager for Gainesville Health and Fitness in Tioga, Fla. Formerly a desk manager, Antigua is heavily involved in customer service and staff training. For questions on operations, e-mail Antigua at AdrianA@ghfc.com.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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