Bold statement last week from Liz Terry Editorial Director of Health Club Management Magazine at the Annual Members Choice Health Club Awards, saying that there are too many “dreadful” health club managers running the UK’s clubs.
It won’t come as a great surprise to many industry insiders that the quality across the industry is varied to say the least. But it’s a subjective statement that needs to be clarified. Dreadful in relation to other managers in the industry? Dreadful in comparison to the quality of 5 years ago? Or dreadful when comparing against compatriots from other sectors?
From a recruiters perspective, we’ve found that a higher percentage of GMs that we talk to have lower skill levels and in particular lower levels of competencies around strategic decision making than 5 years ago. But is this indicative of the quality of staff that the leisure industry attracts or a result of a “paint by numbers” formulaic management model employed by so many operators? If people aren’t given the opportunity to make decisions, how do we breed strong decision makers?
It would certainly be an interesting exercise to use qualitative tools provided by companies such as Thomas International and SHL to map the abilities and attributes of GMs over a period of 5 years.
A goal of improving the quality of GMs is fine provided the operators can accommodate their skills and actually let them make decisions about their clubs. But which operators will be brave enough to allow the autonomy?