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Building Trust and Improving Communication Across Departments

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building trust and improving communication across departments

Three tips for building trust and improving communication across departments.

Trust is the foundation of any high-functioning team.

But how exactly do you build trust within an organization? In particular, how do you do so within a business like a gym with different departments, with sometimes conflicting goals?

These questions and more were recently tackled in a Club Solutions Mastermind Group meeting on the topic of building trust and improving communication across departments. Following are key takeaways from the discussion.

1. Align Everyone to a Common Goal

According to Jon Brady, the president of Midtown Athletic Clubs, it’s important to align department heads to one common goal that can be achieved in one year or less, and that different departments can work on together. 

“We use a technique we learned from the Table Group to identify our one most important thing, which is something we aim to complete within the next six to 12 months, and then we build our plans all around hitting that one thing,” said Brady. “We call it our Quest and everything we do across the clubs and the corporate office have to align behind us achieving our Quest. It is a great way to engage and align all of the departments and functions within the organization and leads to incredible collaboration and increased communication. It also gives us a ‘rallying cry’ for everyone to get behind.”

2. Reinforce the Greater Meaning

The fitness industry is unique in that its services provide a direct, positive impact on the health and well-being of communities. But this can be hard to remember in departments that aren’t customer-facing, such as the back office.

As a result, be sure to reinforce the positive impact being made to all department heads — fitness and otherwise — and make them aware of the role they play in the business’ bigger picture. This will increase department buy-in, making collaboration easier.

3. Create Opportunities to Foster Connection

Just like your members are craving social interaction and connection, so too are your teams. As a result, it’s important to create opportunities for department heads to gather and build camaraderie. At Chuze Fitness, this has taken the form of off-site retreats, though COVID has made this difficult.

“Pre-COVID we would take district level leaders and above to events like the Battlefield Leadership Program in Gettysburg, or do offsite time with one another,” said Cory Brightwell, the CEO of Chuze Fitness. “Retreats mainly focused on 80% of the time just have fun, 20% let’s work on leadership elements. Nothing replaces being together.”

How are you building trust and improving communication across departments? Let us know at rachel@peakemedia.com.

Interested in learning from other operators and sharing best practices? Gain your own personal group of senior advisors by joining a Club Solutions Mastermind Group. Email Bob Surface at bob@peakemedia.com for additional details.

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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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