Episode 246

How to Show Up As A New Leader with Pete

In this episode, Pete and I talk about how to show up as a new leader. We talk about how to lead with humility and how to earn peoples trust, so if you are a new leader or leading a new team, this is a great episode for you.

[00:00:00] Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the Business Unicorns podcast. Today I’m here with Pete. How are you my friend? I am well. How are you, Michael? Yeah, I’m having a pretty good day. I was sick for the last two days, but I’m coming back around at full 70% energy today good day to sit in podcasts.

I’d say 70% of. Any MFF related energy is like 130% of everyone else’s. So we’re good.

That’s fair. That’s fair. Before we dive into today’s topic, which came from someone on Instagram I wanna just give a quick shout out to our listeners that if you are not on our email list yet, like what are you doing? And I say this as someone who is not on many email lists. But I think our email list, I think is putting out some great content on a regular basis.

Like every email we put out seems to be chock full of great actionable ideas. Pete, there’s an email from Pete once a week, Pete. What people, what can people expect from your emails? [00:01:00] Oh man. I was messaging back and forth with Craig today cuz he asked me about an email draft that’s set to go out tomorrow, Uhhuh, we record this on Tuesdays and I hit on Wednesdays.

And he said, I’m not sure I fully understand the terminology here cuz you mentioned the pages ahead. And I was like, Craig, you pulled what was like a shitty first draft of a potential introduction to all of this being a book. And just decided to make the weekly email. I’m gonna need to rework this one, but yeah, there’s everything in those emails.

I, I took the liberty of reviewing the next 10 days or so of subject matter that we’re churning out because I had to pull from that document when Craig asked me to modify, and it’s. Crazy how much we give away is what I would say. Yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff in there. There’s a lot of good stuff in there.

We’re sharing all kinds of tips from all the courses we teach. We’re sharing lessons learned from working with all of our Unicorn Society members. We got Mark’s YouTube, we got this podcast, another podcast. We also do a weekly roundup on Saturdays [00:02:00] now, so if you just want, to every, just, archive ’em all.

But on Saturday, Look at the roundup for the week. We tell you all the content we’ve created throughout the week in one summary, which I think is huge. So if you wanna join our email list, go to bfi everyones.com. Go opt in at the top of the page there, join our email list. And I promise it’s gonna be the one of the ones in your inbox that you’ll be looking inbox that you’ll be looking forward to.

Cause I think there’s a lot of high quality content. Yeah, do it just for the Saturdays. I missed the old John Goodman. Yeah. The pt d c weekly roundup. I remember I had an ambitious moment. Yeah, I remember that one too. Featured in there. I always wanted my blog to be in there back in the day. Yeah.

And since they’ve killed, or at least I think they killed it there’s a hole in the market for this and yours could fill that. It’s a nice Yep. Collective recap. Yeah. We’re starting right now with a roundup of just our content, but we’ve already talked about expanding it to other content throughout the industry.

So again, just even if you wanna join, as Beat said, just for the Saturday ones, I think it’s a really great summary of great actionable content every single week. Cool. Let’s dive [00:03:00] in. This one comes from this question comes from from Instagram. I don’t, I know the person I think they, they DMed us through their business account, but but this person asks advice that any advice we have for taking over an existing gym where you don’t know anyone.

So this person is taking over and starting to run an existing gym that’s already been in place where they’re coming in, quote blind, not knowing anyone. And I think for the sake of us giving advice, let’s just assume they don’t really know the staff and they don’t really know the clients, but they’re coming in and maybe bought this gym that already exists.

I don’t know. I think this is a fun question. So let’s dive in. Where immediately does your brain go, Pete? My brain wants to know who buys something sight unseen like this. But let’s say the check is clear, fun. Fun. Can I say fun fact? Yep. Yeah. Fun fact about this. I learned recently, I have a friend who’s a dentist and apparently it’s very common in dentistry to buy a practice, including all the staff and all the clients without really knowing any of them.

Just jumping, I have a friend who did it a few years ago running a [00:04:00] very successful practice and literally just You find a broker and you buy the place and then you show up one day and they introduce you as the new owner. There’s some industries where that’s very common, less common in fitness, but but I had the same question when I read that.

I was like, wait, people just will. Buy a spot. Yeah. But it’s happen. Yeah. I think if I were a franchise owner, I could see myself say, eating up some additional orange theories or something like that if I was already in the game. But this is also in my family business, Michael. I mean my the family business, which is a dying industry, but still exists, is home heating oil and Oh yeah.

My uncle’s the only one left in the game. Oh. Because they collectively got our generation out cuz they said it’s a dying industry. The fossil fuels isn’t really the path forward, but when he wants to scale, he needs to acquire economies of scale in his buying power. And he does just that. Yep.

He buys up other, basically he’s just buying a list, but he does tend to get equipment and bodies with it. [00:05:00] And I think that the rules that we will suggest here for gym acquisition will apply there as well. Cuz we’re talking about accumulating talent and basically this comes down to how do you evaluate the talent and how do you show up with, I’d say the humility it takes to earn trust quickly.

And in this case I’m talking about with your team, cuz I think you need to get your team. In lockstep before you start worrying about helping the community. Cuz you can’t fix the community yourself and the team becomes the extension of you from the moment you make the acquisition. So I think my first piece of advice is not to forget about the clients, but to put the team ahead of the clients on your hierarchy of initiatives.

And maybe you completely disagree. Yeah, said. No I’ll, yes. That I’ll plus one that, can I ask a follow up question? Yeah. When you say, come in with humility, can you just talk more about what that actually looks like, when you’re coming [00:06:00] in to try and, invest in your team.

What does it mean to come in with humility? Imagine you’ve been hired into a new division. Let’s say you’re in corporate. And you have you have the gravitas to get a leadership role in the org as a whole. I use this terminology. Yeah. Cause my wife talks to me about Salesforce and her experience every day and they’re always hiring.

Yep. And sometimes you’re told you’ve gotta hire internally within the organization as a whole, but you got somebody who’s coming in and maybe has not been under your specific arm of the operation. Yeah. They’ve earned the time there to have oversight of a team, but they’re showing up and they don’t fully understand.

The service they’re selling or the community they’re serving, or the client roster, and nobody knows that better than the people that they’re about to supervise. And as stupid as it sounds, this happens every day of the week in corporate. Yeah, it happens constantly. And the ones who come in with the attitude, [00:07:00] I’m king, shit.

I just got hired to be your boss. Here’s how things are gonna go around here are gonna fail because their team. Whether they like who they’ve acquired or not, are either gonna stay on board and passive aggressively work a, they’re gonna do their job, but they’re gonna hate the new guy who came in disrupting Yeah, their cadence, or they’re just gonna look for an alternative option, they’re gonna look elsewhere.

And you don’t want to be rebuilding a team when you don’t even understand what a good team member looks like. When you don’t understand what success looked like in that unit before you got there. So you have to show up prepared to say, I don’t know what I don’t know, but I have, I’m an accomplished leader of people and earn their trust from there.

I’m interested in your two sense though, because you’re the person I’d go to for coaching on this if I found myself in a perfect advance. Yeah, I think that’s I think it’s so beautifully said, right? Like a part of going in and getting your team in order first is going with a [00:08:00] humility that you just, they know a lot more than you do on day one.

And going in and asking a lot of questions, being really curious. And I’ll go even further though. I think the first thing I was gonna share is a plus one of that, or the next level of that is not only do you need to go in curious, but I would say that in the first few days and weeks you wanna go in and celebrate what already exists.

You wanna go in and be the biggest possible cheerleader for how great the team already is, for how amazing the clients and community already is, and then you can position yourself as a steward of what already exists and someone who hopefully will make it even better. Because the last thing people want in a new manager and a new leader in any context is someone who comes in like a bull in a China shop on day one.

Swinging around their ego. Tell everyone, how much, what their vision is for the future. It’s hold on dude. How do you know what the vision is for the future? Before you’ve got to know us, do you even know what we want the future to be? So not only do you want the humility, but I think it even more than that, I would [00:09:00] say go in celebrating.

Celebrating what already exists, making sure people feel seen and heard for the good job they’ve already been doing for the community they’ve already built for the connections they already have. And, and I think with that humility, you might be invited to participate, you might be invited in, right?

They might be so glad you’re there because they felt so seen and heard by you, that you become part of what already exists before you start becoming a change agent. So you have to win to your point, win their trust, win, win their yeah, win their trust before they trust you to be a steward of their community.

Yeah, exactly. So I think we’re your vision of the future, doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the present. Yeah, that’s it. And I think it’s the number one challenge. I think even, I guess to expand this advice to not just people who are taking over a new gym, but any new person who’s in a new job, especially a management or leadership job, in the first few weeks and months, I think you do exactly what Pete says.

You go in humble, asking lots of questions, having lots of humility, treating all of [00:10:00] them like the experts, and also celebrate. All the great things that they’re already doing. Find things they’re doing well and celebrate those. Because you know what people need when they’re forming new relationships? To be positive ones is they need praise.

They need to know that you like them, and on, on the basis of that, you can accomplish so much. But if you go in day one pointing out what’s wrong and sharing how you’re gonna change things, I think you lose. So many people, and I’ve seen it happen and I’ve done it. I’ve done it in my early management days where I would go in and I thought what everyone needed from me as the new manager was to share all my ideas.

On day one, everyone’s slow up, dude. We tried that a year ago. That doesn’t not gonna work. Why don’t you listen for a little while first? And that’s, I think, what Pete and I are recommending here. Yeah. What else comes to mind as important in those first few months? Let’s make it actionable.

I. If I were to acquire a new operation with a new team right now, the first thing I would do is I’d take the playbook we have in [00:11:00] place with our coaches in Unicorn Society where we publish our superpowers. Right? Yep. So new Member Unicorn Society. I had it happen today. Someone said I had my first call with Wheels tomorrow.

What should I talk to wheels about? I wanna make sure I optimize it. And I said, Hey, we’ve already done this homework. We have a bullet pointed list of like really what we excel at. I would read that thoroughly and believe it to be true cuz we didn’t just throw a bunch of shit at the wall and declare new areas of expertise we actually collect and we talked about it.

I’d walk in with my new team and I’d meet with them all individually and I’d say, what are your superpowers? I want you to pat yourself on the back. What are you world class at? And then I would ask them to tell me 1, 2, 3 things that they see as superpowers of their peers. And I’d figure out where the overlap exists because when I start seeing it once, that might be somebody who has a false perception of where their strengths lie.

But when I start to see the same thing show up 2, 3, 4 [00:12:00] times, then I know what I’m gonna leverage as far as skill sets go. Yeah, and I would ask the community to audit themselves and their peers and I’d take all that information, put it in the same place, and I’d map the superpowers of my team and start thinking about how I can allocate their kind of human resources the most effectively so that people feel like they’re winning and I know that we are doing what we can.

With what we have right out of the gate. Yeah. And that’s not a huge ask. That’s a cup of coffee with anywhere from one to maybe we’ll say 10 people. I don’t know how big we’re talking team wise. Yeah. But I’m gonna assume our audience doesn’t have coaching staffs of in excess of 10 bodies. And if they do, sorry, I’m not talking to you.

Yeah, I think that’s so smart. I think, it’s getting people on your side by celebrating for who they are and what they’re good at. And that goes for your team. That also goes for your clients, right? Take five, 10 clients to lunch, to coffee. Get to know them. Get to know, the super connectors and your community, getting to know them gives you all the data you [00:13:00] need for making the change you might wanna make.

But you need to know what, where are the levers and police hidden? Who are the people who are gonna be the ones who. Have have influence over this community to make the change. Cause then I think, for me, if I’m gonna be actionable about where I put my energy and resources, I think all of that.

So this is all of that. And for my team, I would wanna solve some of their problems early on. I’d wanna find what has been not working for you in this job, in this role for a while, and can I find some quick wins? Can I solve something that the previous owners just never solved? For whatever reason, can I prove to you in the first few months with my actions and my words, that I actually interested in you having a better experience with me at the helm than you had with the previous person?

Not to. Demean them. But to say listen, I am coming in hoping to make things better. And that goes for all of you. What are some things that are not working for you? Do you need new equipment, new resources Is time off Confusing? Is pay shit? What is the thing that’s the biggest pain point?

And can I come in and [00:14:00] start making some progress on that? Because once they see the results of your good intentions, once they see your good intentions put into action that makes a difference for them, then you can take them anywhere. You can lead them anywhere that you know you want to go. Yeah. Be a giver, not a taker.

Right Out of the giver. Yeah. Yeah. 100%. It goes to Adam Grant’s book Givers and Takers. I think it’s a good one to read in this context. Alright. Anything else you wanna add to this topic? I know we’re right about our time here. We’ve had to do a short one today. Anything else that comes to mind you wanna add?

No, it’s ended punctually. Yeah, we’re ending punctually. Yeah. So listener whoever asked this question, I hope it was valuable. And even if you, dear listener, are not taking over a brand new gym, I think some of the things we mentioned here are so valuable as you yourself hire, manage new people or you’re building managers in your business, making sure that they are coming in and doing all the things we talk about, leading with humility, asking questions, celebrating wins, getting to know people first, all of that, I think is just a best practice for any new manager in any context. Thanks for this chat, Pete. [00:15:00] Listeners, if you found this valuable, please leave us five star review everywhere you listen and email us pete@businessphoenixaccords.com, michael@businessunicorns.com. Let us know who you want us to talk to on this podcast.

Next, or what topics you want us to cover. You can ask us questions, we’ll answer them right here on the podcast. Have a kick ass day, Pete. See you all in the next one. Likewise, go sign up for the email.