DRAFT – yellow hat

Lou is an awesome online PT. She uses Coaches Eye, HRV4 and an Apple Watch where possible to gauge intensity, recovery and form. Her audio and visual sessions with her clients is spot on. She has set up a range of motivational challenges for her crew, runs small group sessions, as well as large group and family offerings. So far it’s going grand but she has plenty of more room in her week for more sessions.
Her challenge is marketing herself.
Not keen to walk the marketing road by herself, she approached a gym chain and offered to be a ‘Satellite Trainer’, available for online sessions to their members.
While virtually all members with PTs said they preferred to see their PTs at the actual club, the club recognised there may be an untapped market of people that could not get to their location and/or as often as what they would want – in order to justify paying for a membership, or were time poor, or nervous of going to any gym full stop, or didn’t want to be recognised in public, but all people who nevertheless may know and trust the ‘brand’ of their gym. For these people an array of offerings inclusive of being able to tap into Satellite PTs like Lou could be the ticket? It may also mean the club could better cater for members that were on holiday, sick, injured or away and indeed why not incorporate Satellite physio’s, dietiticans, counsellors etc?
The gym chain decided to take Lou on and to run with the idea on a bigger level, calling this arm of their business the ‘Satellite of Love’ . Within a week they had established 10 satellite services using PTs and professional health affiliates. All Satellite Pros paid the gym a weekly rent and agreed to wear the club’s branding in all online sessions with the club’s members, to offer the members discounted rates and be part of club promotions and to promote and refer back to club services. The affiliates have also been given great deals to pass on to their own clients, to purchase a ‘Satellite’ membership with the club.
As a result the gym chain also created an array of new membership packages. One was a satellite only package and others supported a bi-monthly visit to the club and use of one satellite professional per month. Another package emerged for new mums and injured athletes who found it too challenging to get to the gym.
A year later. The idea is going so well in terms of tapping into new markets that the demand has led them to create a course’ for any PTs who want to learn about being an effective Satellite PT as well as the chance to become one of their Satellite trainers. Lou heads up the training programme which is also named after her, ‘Reed’s Satellite of Love Course’ and which she is about to launch into the US.
The clubs is now trialling an offer of face to face sessions with any Satellite trainer who is more than 100 km from their club – so as not to compete with existing, club located based trainers. Their club, originally in four locations is now Satellited into 32 locations!
Okay – so it’s a made up story…but could it be real? Are parts of it already happening?
I whipped this up to show the yellow hat principle in action which I used to talk about in my times of a tutor and which I think may be handy now.
It’s all about taking a situation and blowing it up a little, in a good way, and then a little bit more and then a little bit more, then a lot!
Essentially you keep asking how could an idea or scenario be even more successful, how could even more people win from it, how could it benefit even more people in more places.
It’s best done in groups of 5 or so people that are as equally enthusiastic about fitnessey stuff as you. In the first stage of development everyone wears a yellow hat which means, no one suggests why the ideas won’t work. Everyone just keeps building on them, for an hour if you are in a classroom environment or workshop, for a day or a week or a month if you’re in a business role to come up with out of the box ideas. Ideally it’s all a bit like tag or some of the games people play in improv training, in that you throw out an idea and the next person builds on it and passes it on.
Key here is: a) everyone shares, and b) everyone cheers each person’s effort, they positively acknowledges it and definitely no raised eyebrows or wtf comments – which will put people in the group on unequal footing and quickly shut ideas down.
I’ve done the exercise dozens of times with groups, and been part of ones co-ordinated by others, and can guarentee lots of great door opening ideas will come from it. Some ideas some people will love and some will love other ideas and sometimes it will give people completely different ideas from the ones being thrown out but which will benefit their situation i.e. it opens the doors of the mind.
This idea could have easily forked off in 100s of directions. Lou may have decided not to approach a gym chain but to instead build up a hub with 20 of her favourite health and fitness pros in it, create an online ‘club’ and offer it to an Airline (back when we had them) to offer their travelling staff, or via Fonterra to all the dairy farmers, or who knows what else.
Back to this story, if the group is then keen on pursing one idea a bit deeper as a group, then everyone puts on a black hat and possibly invites in some non-fitnessey people to the circle. The question to play tag with is: – why will this idea not work? And to toss out every crazy idea possible. And finally –to ask are the reasons valid and how can we combat them.
I’ve seen people do this whole process in just a few hours, on all sorts of issues and problems and create amazing things out of it and be better prepared for life’s eventualities– but key always is – don that yellow hat for a good amount of time and don’t let people take it off until some positive, exciting, juicy ideas are flowing.
Who could you form a group with?
What idea could you throw out for development?
Could you don your yellow hat and add a layer to my story?