Chip Heath Talks About Change

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Chip Heath, who spoke at IHRSA on Friday immediately after the IHRSA Annual Meeting, did a nice job of knowing how long to speak and knowing what parts of his speech he didn't need.

With the annual meeting running a little long, Heath, an author and a professor in the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, told IHRSA officials to tell the audience that he was going to run about 15 minutes longer than the allotted time. During the last part of his address, Heath sped through a few of his slides to get to the ending, telling the audience that he wanted to make sure they got to enjoy the rest of the events at the show. Nice touch.

Heath's subject, "How to Change Things When Change is Hard," was about how often we think it is difficult to change when in fact, we change every day. The adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is not true, Heath said.

One example of our changing every day is getting married and having babies. Why on earth would we want to share half our stuff and half our living space if we didn't like or at least adjust to change? And why would we want to have babies, the biggest change in our lives?

If we don't like change, "having kids is a deeply dumb decision," Heath joked.

Heath also provided a way for club operators to influence change in their members by giving them a card with eight squares for each exercise class they take. If they fill up the card, they get a free class. Instead of giving members a blank card with eight squares, the cards should have 10 squares with two stamps already on them to give members the incentive that they're already 20 percent of their way to their goal.

To begin the annual meeting, David Patchell-Evans, founder and CEO of Canada's Goodlife Fitness Clubs, tried to loosen everybody up by telling the audience to rub the shoulders of the person in front of them. Hmmmm. Oooo-kayyy. Later, "Patch" told everybody to shake the hands of five people around them and enthusiastically congratulate them on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I had five people actually do this to me.

The new IHRSA Board of Directors was announced. Art Curtis, the CEO of Millennium Partners Sports Clubs Management/The Sports Club LA, was elected president of the board two days prior. Curtis is a knowledgeable industry veteran who has been a good source for us in the past. A worthy choice. Way to go, Art!

Two awards were announced before Heath's address. The Dale S. Dibble Distinguished Service Award went to Mike Motta, founder and president of Plus One Health Management Inc., and the award for Outstanding Community Service went to Patricia Laus, CEO of the Atlantic Clubs in Manasquan and Red Bank, NJ. Our Pam Kufahl recently interviewed Laus, who will be featured in an upcoming Executive Insights feature in Club Industry.

Laus thanked many of the industry publications, including Club Industry, for their support in chronicling her club's efforts in raising money to battle ALS. She also thanked Augie and Lynne Nieto for their support and pointed out that Augie has lived five years with ALS when most people make it to only three.

"Augie is, trust me, still in charge," Laus said.

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