Posted by: drewdice | March 21, 2011

The Doctor is IN!

Many moons ago, when I was running sales and marketing for health club chains, one of our primary concerns was the launch and sustainable success of our sales professionals. Viewed as a very transactional business, health clubs have a very bad reputation for lining people up, signing them up, and not caring if members actually used the clubs or reached their goals. My goal was to shift that perception of our clubs, the culture and the performance of our sales people. The initiative of changing the perception of our clubs in the eyes of the consumers included, among other things, shifting our sales model, the mentality of the sales staff, and impact our clubs had on the communities we served.
The mindset we emphasized adopting when meeting prospective members was one that a physician may take when interacting with patients – not only seeking to always do good and help the “patient”, but also making an assessment of where the client “was” along a health continuum, so we could then gain an understanding of how the client arrived in their current state, diagnose the root causes of issues, and prescribe the appropriate interventions. Today, at RWD, the mindset is very much the same.
When discussing the health of a business initiative, sometimes, looking at the initiative much like a patient (or health club member) lifecycle helps to bring a new perspective to how an organization can achieve maximum business impact. As I see it, there are three states of an initiative during which organizations should put that initiative in the examination room:

• Prevention – before the initiative moves forward (mapping, planning, strategizing)
• Control – the initiative is in the execution phase
• Reversal – the initiative is “done” (is it ever really done?)

In any of these stages, leaders, executors and front line performers should consider what the organization strives to accomplish in successful execution of the strategy and/or initiative (intent)? Who is ultimately driving the initiative forward to completion and ensuring alignment throughout the organization (vanguard leadership)? What processes will be in place to connect what people have to do in their roles (keeping this part simple, clear and without redundancy increases the likelihood that performers will know the plan and stick to it) (process integrity)? What will the organization do to get people ready to execute their part of the plan, not only today, but over time, as the business needs change, roles shift, and the organization evolves (people readiness)? What obstacles could prevent success, create drag, and distract focus from the desired state (organizational context)?
With this framework in mind, my recommendation is then to consider:

• How healthy is my initiative?
• How do I know?
• Is what we are building scalable and repeatable?
• How do I know?
• Would I bet my job on the success of this initiative, based on what I know now?

Regardless of your initiative, I encourage you to adopt this view, check the health of your patient, regardless of the place in the overall lifecycle, and take the appropriate interventions – STAT!



  1. As a loyal prodigy and mentee of Andrew’s from his health club days, I can attest first-hand to his extrodinary efforts to change the culture of sales professionals in this industry. I still use many of Drew’s innovations in the needs analysis process when training health club sales people. Sales is merely a “transfer of emotion” and “a feeling of commonality” between seller and buyer. If you can connect with your prospects on these two tenants, you will do well.

    • Adam K,

      Thanks for weighing in on the subject, sir. I’m glad, but not surprised that you have continued the mission forward – I am also sure you have continued improving the craft, and the impact you and your sales teams are having on the community.

      Hope to see you soon!

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