What can spin-class teach us about running a business? Or, rather, how do you set the pace for maximum productivity, creativity and successful execution? Kate Newhouse draws from her experience on bikes and in CEO roles to advise.
I found my analogy for this article in the unlikeliest of places; Boom Cycle (only two-minutes’ walk from our office in Hammersmith) is an hour of rotating thighs, rousing voices and, in the midst of all the sweat and darkness, a resilient spin-class teacher.
Her role is simple; she must draw the best out of work-tired professionals and motivate them towards (we hope) visible results. You can see where I’m going with this; discounting the headband, the spin-class teacher embodies much of what I strive for in my own role as a CEO. So, here are some fitness-inspired tips for getting on the business bike and steering a company forward.
Each Boom Cycle teacher is different. There is Bangs, who takes an anarchic spin on the army/military style (lots of shouting!). There is another, Anna, who is uplifting, encouraging and brings people together and then, last night, there was Hilary; a Duracell bunny who could not have been more energising or infectious with her enthusiasm if she tried. My first guiding principle is to be authentic. Not everyone is going to love your style, but who cares? There isn’t one style of leadership that works and anyone that says there is, needs enlightening.
Lead by Example
I watched in awe, last night, as Hilary with her infectious enthusiasm brought around 20 tired and fed-up people to whooping and bouncing around all in synch. It is a core human trait to emulate behaviour that is shown, so lead by example and people will emulate you.
Hilary, also, delivered well-timed reminders on checks – “tummy in, shoulders back” – each time, I checked myself and my exercise was the better for it. However conscientious we are, we all need reminders and, often, realising this and reminding myself of this means that I try to communicate more often and in varied ways. It is unrealistic to expect a single email means something is done exactly as you envisaged and will always be from then on!
Lastly, as I watched Hilary spinning her hair round and “surging” like nothing else, I realised it helps if you are just that little bit fitter. You need the mental and physical strength to galvanise other to take action. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself so I remind myself by going to Boom Cycle and getting enough sleep!
In summary, if you can be authentic, lead by example, communicate well and keep yourself fit, you’ll be well on your way to better fitness and better business!
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