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Roundtable Recap: Strategic Thinking and Innovation


On June 24, REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine presented the 12th installment of a weekly virtual roundtable series aimed at helping clubs navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, sponsored by Mio Labs.

Panelists included JoAnna Masloski, the COO of Wellbridge; Clayton Aynesworth, the owner and president of Castle Hill Fitness; Bill McBride, the co-founder, president and CEO of Active Wellness; and Blair McHaney, the CEO of MXM and owner of WORX health clubs. The discussion was led and moderated by Brent Darden, the founder of Brent Darden Consulting and chair of REX Roundtables.

Following is a summary of top takeaways from the discussion, centered around strategic thinking and innovation


  • Masloski stressed the importance of being both intentional and rational throughout this time. Social media and news media can paint a negative picture, so be considerate surrounding how many “inputs” you’re receiving and from where so you don’t get overwhelmed. 
  • The pandemic has forced many clubs to be inventive. For example, Aynesworth has completely redesigned his facilities to include 95 self-containing “fitness pods” throughout his two locations, each equipped with an air purifier, shelving, sanitizer and more. “We wanted to create a safe harbor for our community,” he said. 
  • “Innovation is not invention,” said McHaney. “It’s any incremental thing you can do that adds value to the consumer.” 
  • Consider what’s actually critical for your organization to execute during this time. For example, prior to the pandemic, Masloski thought people “needed” towels, hands down. But now they’ve taken them away and they haven’t gotten any complaints. 
  • Throughout this time, customers are much more apt to respond to surveys/give feedback. Use this to your advantage and ask your members what direction they’d like to see you heading. 
  • McHaney highlights the difference between market research and feedback. 
  • Aynesworth talks about the benefits of mind mapping to innovation. 
  • The panel discusses why good strategy is knowing when to say “no.” 
  • Aynesworth and McBride discuss the merits of SWOT Analysis, which outlines an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 
  • “Execute, evaluate and evolve” is a great framework to follow when seeking to innovate. In addition, use your core values as a guide. 
  • “Give the customer continued confidence in your decisions, but be open and willing to change,” said Masloski. 
  • The panel outlines the difference between strategy and tactics
  • When looking for inspiration, don’t forget to look outside the industry. What are other industries and brands doing? 
  • McBride shares helpful documents, including:

To access the on-demand version of this webinar, click here

UPCOMING: Don’t miss the 13th installment of our virtual roundtable series, “Successful Strategies for Shaping Your Future: Navigating Financial Uncertainty” on July 1 at 2 p.m. EST, in partnership with REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine and sponsored by Easalytics. Limited seats are available. Click here to reserve your spot.

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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