Collaboration Versus Competition
At the beginning of the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit in 2016, I gave a very short opening address about three things that enable change. Point number three, was something very important to me… and this is why I choose Collaboration instead of Competition.
The mishfit Model:
Collaboration was a very big part of my business model when I franchised mishfit. We were one of the first fitness businesses who implemented formal relationships with Women’s Health Physiotherapists. I created something called the mishfit care package. This encouraged all of our clients (whether they were leaking or not) to visit the aligned Women’s Health Physiotherapist. Ideally, the WHP’s had a Real Time Ultrasound so women would have the visual to see their pelvic floor contracting on screen. And yes, I do understand the limitations that the RTU has, but it was a very soft approach to get otherwise reluctant women to invest into their pelvic health.
The mishfit Care Package achieved much more than this though. This appointment went a long way in helping our clients understand who Women’s Health Physiotherapists were and what they did. Especially in a time, when many women did not know such a service existed. Many would go on to have long patient / therapist relationships as they were a trusted professional and especially as our clients went on to have more babies.
Another beneficial relationship also developed between the Women’s Health Physiotherapist and the mishfit trainer. This meant that tricky questions could be asked and answered. Also that the mishfit program could be individually modified for particular clients to include the exercises specifically given by the physio. This ensured that the exercise was executed correctly and that women were supported in doing their homework.
How it was achieved:
This relationship did not happen by chance. And in the early years, I really had to prove my salt to each WHP practice. I did this by taking in each of the 10 week lesson plans from our program (now called EVEolution™) and providing all the paper work templates, so the background administration process was minimised. I also outlined how the package was sold as part of the Standard Operating procedure of on boarding a new client. Also how clients who did not take it up when they began training with us, were gently reminded to uptake this session regularly and periodically.
I believe this business initiative has benefitted myself and the other trainers and the many, many women across Victoria over the 10+ years it has been running. And I still encourage the Fitness Professionals who undertake my Personal Training education programs to visit and create a relationship with their local WHP, by using the same strategy.
To me Collaboration,
makes so much more sense,
And I am not the only one.
I want to share with you three other ways in which I am seeing this (perhaps) abstract concept becoming the norm.
1 Community Collaboration
Unless you were living under a rock last week, no doubt you saw this article.
It has had an extraordinary amount of shares… and I think for all the right reasons, as many people shared their outrage of a CrossFit trainer encouraging her clients to ignore the signs of her client’s struggling pelvic floor. And I quote directly from the article:
She threw out her knee sleeves and socks because they were so saturated and thought her shoes were filling up with pee! But hey, who cares when you can front squat 250.5 pounds?
Liza wants other women to know that accidental peeing happens when lifting, running, or jumping on the trampoline with your kids! “There is disinfectant and paper towels all over the gym, so if it happens, finish the lift and clean it up after — a little pee is worth it.” She adds, “I’ve seen people profusely sweat, bleed, and vomit all over the floor, so what’s the big deal if it’s pee? Guess peeing your pants is better than pooping your pants!”
The comments on the page of the article, all called out this behaviour. Collectively, we combatted two common, but alternative facts:
- That it is normal to leak when working out (It’s common, but not normal)
- That this is a weak bladder (No, it is a weak pelvic floor and it needs to be addressed)
This was an excellent example of community collaboration.
2 Professional Collaboration
The education space for Personal Trainers is large and diverse. However, it is very small when you look at education for Fitness Professionals around women’s health / pelvic floor information. Often scarcity means competition, but I think that that is a state of mind.
Recently Jen Dugard, who runs “Safe Return to Exercise” Workshops for Fitness Professionals invited me to attend, free of charge. Even though I run a (competing) course EVEolution. Jen did this, because like me, believes in collaboration instead of competition. The result? I further admire her professional integrity and am able to promote her courses to Fitness Professionals because I know exactly what she covers in the course. Our courses are quite different, and will appeal to different trainers.
Fit Pro Magdalena and WHP Heba Shaheed regularly team up to support Sydney mums
I have also seen a real growth in fitness businesses collaborate, not only with their local Women’s Health Physio’s (and the other way around) but also with other related services such as dietitians and even styling guru’s.
3 Event Collaboration
Every professional has a limited budget on what they spend on their professional development and in an environment where typically a Personal Trainer does not make a big wage, the competition can be very fierce in the event space.
In two weeks time, the Australian Health and Wellbeing Summit will be held in Melbourne and I want to shout out to Leanne Hamilton who is driving force behind this event. Lee started this event in 2015 and because we did not know of each other, it just happened that our events landed on the same day! We met not long after this and Lee purposefully moved her Melbourne AHWS to the middle of the year, so that we would not clash for future events.
The Australian Health and Well-being Summit is a little different to the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit, because the information is for the general public, as well as Fitness Professionals. It is a very reasonably priced day to listen to some really great information. And the trade show is excellent too.
This year, I will be presenting at this event along with some really great speakers… many I have heard before and can thoroughly recommend them!
I have 5 double passes to the event EXPO to be given away!
If you want to win, email me here with your name and address and I will post them to you!
If you are in competition mode with your people who work in the same field as you and share the same space – either geographically or online, I challenge you to think differently about this. The benefits of collaboration are real and tangible… not just for your clients, but also for your personal development and the bottom line of your business.
However, your mindset has to be one of what can I give, rather than what can I receive.
This is the mind set of reciprocity.
That was why I have invited FILEX in the past to be involved with The Platform and last year asked Lisa Champion to be the Ambassador.
I would love to hear how you have collaborated and what benefits it has brought you!
Please write your experiences in the comments below!
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