Whether you consciously know it or not, when you choose a gym you are committing to a long-term investment in yourself. Therefore, it is essential that you understand that each gym has a different set of values and a unique culture. It’s important to know how that culture will impact you and your passion to train. How will your values and goals align with the gym you choose?
I’ve decided to apply organisational theory to this discussion in order to break down the types of culture most commonly seen in businesses or groups. Obviously, not all organisations or gyms will fall into these categories precisely and you may often find that gyms have a mix of the various traits. For the sake of this discussion, let’s look at the four types of organisational culture as proposed by Quinn and Cameron: Clan, Adhocracy, Market and Hierarchy. The key attributes of each type are illustrated below.
In my gym for example, I feel that VT1 identifies most with the clan structure; we exhibit a fun and laid-back atmosphere with a diverse member-base. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and it is not unusual to see our coaches hosting or attending gym functions and events. However, this style is not for everyone and we have witnessed people come and go that valued a more rigid traditional approach or preferred a solely a tournament focus. Where does you gym fit in?
Some gyms pressure students to compete, our team generally does not, rather it encourages that everyone give it a go simply because there are many valuable lessons to be learned from competition. It was possibly the perception that fun and competitiveness aren’t linked that mostly influenced his decision. It’s not uncommon to hear laughing and music while we sweat, this may be interpreted as “not serious”.
So I have a few questions for you readers, to help people make an informed decision before they join up to an academy.
If you’re a student, what do you think the culture of your gym is and does it align with your goals and values?
If you own a gym, what culture has developed over time or what have you done to influence a certain sort of culture at your academy?
Finally, if a new student walked in today, what perception would they have of your gym and how would that differ from reality?
See you soon,