Strategy Wheel for Operators

What is the Strategy Wheel?

It’s an Operator’s Guide to Achieving Operational Excellence, written by Blair McHaney, CEO of MXMetrics

The Origin Story

I’ve been a club owner and operator for almost 40 years - my first job in the fitness business was as a club owner at age 23. That journey went down a long-and-winding road that ultimately led me to launching MXMetrics.

From day one back in 1983, I always thought that delivering a great experience was key even as I struggled to figure out what that was. If I am good at one thing, it is the ability to learn from mistakes, successes and other people.

Perhaps the defining moment was when I created a set of core values for my business. From there I aligned those core values with every function of my business.

The result of that realization eventually became our Strategy Wheel which was guided by the great work of author and Harvard Business School professor, Cynthia Montgomery in her book The Strategist.

We hired Cynthia to speak at a conference and in the run-up to the event I was able to spend a good deal of time on calls with her and get a much better understanding of her Strategy Wheel framework.

Once I started to prove the Strategy Wheel concept and my business began to grow, I began sharing the concept with other club operators as a mechanism for making smarter decisions that are effective in executing your strategy.

My intention for this Strategy Wheel was to create a guide for Fitness Operators to follow as they work to achieve operational excellence.

Blair McHaney Founder & CEO, MXMetrics

The Origin Story

Once I started to prove the concept and my business began to grow, I partnered with Cindy Montgomery, author of “The Strategist” and of Harvard Business School fame, to create a more built out framework for fitness club operators.
Twenty-five years ago, I became an Owner/Operator in the fitness space. After a few stumbles that led to some unexpected challenges, I realized that if I could create a set of core values for my business, I’d now be able to align my core values with every function of my business. So I decided to create a Strategy Wheel of sorts.
My intention for this Strategy Wheel was to create a guide for Fitness Operators to follow in an attempt to achieve operational excellence.
Blair McHaney Founder & CEO, MXMetrics

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What to Expect

The Strategy Wheel is a framework I created for my two WORX gyms in Wenatchee Washington.  It details nine functions of my business that all tie back to the core value statement.

Our Statement: “To create exercise habits through effective programs and services graciously delivered at a great value.”
So each of the nine functions of my business needed to drive toward this goal. If we were to accomplish this as an organization, we needed to identify where to spend our resources - time, energy, money. As such, the nine segments of the strategy wheel were brought to life:
  • Sales and Marketing
  • People and Culture
  • Programming and Education
  • Facilities
  • Equipment
  • Services and Amenities
  • Operating Model Process Design
  • Facilities Management
  • Technology

Designing strategies for the business at large by evaluating each of these segments individually helped us identify gaps in our process and identify areas for opportunity and growth.

Breaking apart each segment and examining how to make that piece of the business  integrate more effectively with other functions business functions helped us make adjustments incrementally (so as not to overwhelm staff and members with big, sudden changes) and intentionally to create optimal experiences for staff, members, and leadership.

My desired outcome for this series is for you to fill your gaps and scale your business - creating a path to Operational Excellence.


Strategy Wheel

New Strategy Wheel Content to be Released on Thursdays


Sales & Marketing

The Sales & Marketing section focuses on the question of "Why is a Marketing + Sales Strategy Crucial to Your Club's Success?" A solid Marketing strategy is essential for you and your Club. The MXMetrics team will dive deep into specific tactics and lay out strategic plays other Operators have seen success implementing at their Clubs to create a more effective Sales and Marketing plan.
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People & Culture

In the People and Culture section of the Strategy Wheel, you will discover how to unleash your message to your team and mobilize them for independence. You'll also learn the value of positive perception, and how to provoke enthusiasm for what you do at your gym. And, of course, we will take a look at the part data plays in speeding up the feedback loop between members and management.
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Programming & Education

In this section of the Strategy Wheel, we take a deep dive into how Operators can lead the release of new, highly-engaging Programs by aligning them to the core values of their gym & members. But effective Programming also requires providing meaningful Education for members about what programs you offer that align with their preferences, schedule, & goals to help build sustainable exercise habits.
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Physical Plant

When thinking of what encompasses a Gym, what comes to mind for most is the variety of machines, the equipment and amenities that inspire physical activity for their members. But it's the overall experience of the physical facility itself that is a key element to your success and the driver of your Member Experience.
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Data from IHRSA shows that “equipment utilization was the No. 1 activity at health clubs”, even in clubs that are centered around group fitness or workout classes. Whether it’s a treadmill, an expensive Pilates Reformer, mat, or a rack of weights, your Members are utilizing the (hopefully) carefully-curated equipment that will help them form exercise habits and a healthier lifestyle.
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Services & Amenities

Unless you live in a very small, isolated town, your gym will not be the only place to exercise in your community. There are many ways to stand out from the competition as a Operator. For gyms though, all else being equal, it’s your offering of Services & Amenities that really can take your gym over the edge.
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Process Design

By improving process flow, you improve the member experience. When you improve the member experience, you create a more robust marketing department (your members), which leads to referrals, sales, and retention. So listen to your members on what they have difficulty with and work with your staff to find solutions that make the entire member journey smooth and seamless!
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Facilities Management

When it comes to keeping members happy, our data shows there are three main drivers to customer loyalty: friendliness, cleanliness and equipment condition. In this section of the Strategy Wheel we cover two of the three main drivers, both of which fall under the Facilities Management.
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Technology allows you as a business owner to create environments that reflect your club's theme, allow members to report issues with equipment, give you feedback in an automated fashion, and give your staff the easiest way to manage operations and member satisfaction. Having the right tools working together maximizes the staff and member experience, leading to less turnover.
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