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MANAGEMENT SERIES


IN ASSOCIATION WITH


RUNNING LIKE CLOCKWORK


When planning a new schedule for your club, it’s important to consider the ‘Four Cs’: consultation, communication, co-ordination and compromise. James Bowden explains


‘I


f you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ is a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States, scientist,


philosopher and inventor. Other great men have also been credited for using a similar phrase, including Sir Winston Churchill. Whoever coined it first, the fact of the matter is it’s true. But as managers know all too well,


planning a club schedule is no small task. While essentially a paper exercise, it involves far more than spreadsheet skills. A good starting point is to follow the Four Cs: consultation, communication, co-ordination and compromise.


Consultation This is a vital process that precedes a schedule formation or major change. Customers and colleagues’ views can bring valuable insight into how your proposed schedule will work – or not. You may think you’ve thought of everything, but you can easily overlook small details which, if ignored, can


become big problems. When planning for Westcroft, we scheduled an indoor cycling class that clashed with another local one run by a dynamic teacher. A potential customer said he wouldn’t join us if the cycling classes clashed. I had a choice: change the schedule or poach the dynamic instructor (I did both).


Communication Communication with customers, colleagues and suppliers must be clear at the outset, during planning and once the schedule is up and running. Remember: communication is a two-way process


– it’s not just about you telling people what’s happening, but about listening to what they think and not being afraid to change your plans if necessary.


Co-ordination Co-ordination between colleagues can be a tricky business. Initially most people will want their class or activity to be held during the most popular time slots, starting on the hour or half-hour.


Allow 20 per cent ‘wriggle


room’ on new class schedules


The reality is you can’t run all your classes between 7.00pm and 9.00pm on a weekday and, even if you had 20 studios to play with, the car park and reception areas couldn’t cope with the influx. Staggering classes by 15 minutes can ease congestion in and around your centre. If clashes are inevitable, arrange same-time activities in separate parts of the building (eg studio, pool and sports hall) to avoid corridor congestion.


Compromise This is key. You need to consult with plenty of people, but don’t expect to please them all. Share the schedule as fairly as possible so all departments have a mix of prime-time and off-peak slots. Given sufficient notice, people can work around a new schedule, but one of the major errors schedulers make is to bring about change too quickly for people to adjust with comfort.


From parking to lockers, a customer will have


experienced at least three or four elements of your schedule before they start their workout session


58 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


Smooth customer journey The main aim of any schedule is to ensure that the customer journey is smooth. An enjoyable fitness session starts by being able to park easily. Moving quickly and cheerfully through reception to arrive in a clean, uncrowded changing room and finding an available locker is next. A customer will have experienced at least three or four elements of your schedule before they start their workout session.


September 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


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