Tell me if this describes a team that you are part of or manage at work:
We just aren’t all on the same page.
We seem to be working toward different goals.
No one seems to know what’s expected of them.
Any of that sound familiar?
If so, you are not alone my friend. These are some of the most common concerns Mark and I hear from managers and business owners that we work with — and that makes sense.
The nature of the fitness business is that we often work on teams that have to be very coordinated and highly functioning. Trainers have to be singing from the same songbook with a cohesive coaching style. Sales staff must be consistent in how they describe and sell your services and products. It is essential that front desk staff uniformly set the tone for your clients when they walk through the door.
As managers, we use a shit-ton of different tools and tactics to create cohesion, trust and consistency on our teams. And in spite of our best efforts, our teams are perpetually feeling disconnected and directionless.
I have a secret weapon that can be a game-changer for building mutual understanding among your team. It’s one of the most powerful tools I know for achieving this and it’s something your team doesn’t even know they need.
It’s a vision statement.
Okay, bear with me. That sounds kinda boring, I know. I wish I had a sexier name for, but I don’t. I beg you. Suck it up, and keep reading.
A vision statement is a way of articulating your shared direction and purpose as a team. Imagine your team is a group of swashbuckling pirates roaming the seas to hunt for treasure. Well, a vision statement is like your North Star. Even among the chaos of looting and pillaging in your quest for gold, you all have a sense of true north. Your sense of direction and place is grounded by that northern light in the sky. (Sorry, that was an elaborate analogy that wasn’t really necessary.)
Sports teams use vision statements. They might call it a slogan or motto, but they use them just the same. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” is one of my favorites from the Friday Night Lights. (Damn, I miss that show!) Every episode, the Dillon Panthers would shout that phrase like a primal war scream before charging onto the field as a unified force of football bad-assery.
The Dillon Panthers didn’t just know what it meant — they felt it in their bones. Sitting on my couch watching the show, as someone who is not a sports fan, I could feel it in my bones.
That’s the power of a well-crafted vision statement. It clarifies for everyone on the team your shared vision of what your team looks like when it’s doing great work. It is a mandate on how you are called to show up every day.
Quick side note: To be clear, this is different than a mission statement which defines the actually work you do. A mission statement says what you do, a vision statement says more about how you do it.
How you create a vision statement is totally up to you. There are no rules. It can be super short, or really long. It can be highly poetic or fiercely practical. The one thing your vision statement must be is powerful.
When someone on your team reads it, they should be moved. It should evoke a feeling that is the essence of what it means to be on your team, doing the work you do. It should paint a picture of what it looks like to be giving 110% on your team. And for that reason, vision statements are highly subjective. What one team finds powerful and inspiring, another team could find cheesy and frivolous.
For that reason, I can’t tell you how to create your vision statement, but I can tell you that having one can make all the difference.
To illustrate my point, I have shared Mark Fisher Fitness’s vision statement below. As you’ll see, ours is super long and probably not right for most fitness teams. But for us and our culture it totally works. Our vision statement is a point of pride at MFF and perfectly captures the spirit in which we want to show up every day to serve our Ninjas (clients).
One last disclaimer before you read it, you should know our vision statement was lovingly adapted from an Ohio-based healthcare company (of all places) called Summa Health. They had a beautifully articulated statement about their role in serving patients (which they have since changed) that inspired me to create the statement you see below. So, shout-out to Summa!
MFF’S TEAM VISION STATEMENT
You are what Ninjas (clients) see when they arrive here.
Yours are the eyes they look into when they’re nervous and insecure.
Yours are the voices Ninjas hear when they step outside of their comfort zone and when they push themselves harder than ever before.
You are what they hear as they stare at themselves in the mirror and try to create a new version of their body and their life.
Yours are the comments Ninjas hear when you think they can’t.
Yours is the intelligence and caring that Ninjas hope they’ll find here.
If you’re careless, so is MFF.
If you’re unkind, so is MFF.
And if you’re powerful beyond measure – so is MFF.
No Ninja can ever know the real you, the you that you know is there – unless you let them see it. All they can know is what they see and hear and experience.
And so we all have a stake in the collective energy and attitude of everyone who works at MFF.
We are all judged by your performance.
We are judged by the compassion you show, the knowledge you share, and the fires your spark.
Thank you for being a constant source of light.
Got questions about how to create a vision statement for your team? Comment below. I’m here to help!