The idea of “pivoting” has become something of a joke in the world of marketing and business—a company is around for long enough that what they’re about and what they have to offer becomes stale, and they “pivot” to something totally different. It’s the business equivalent of jumping the shark.
In the next few months, we’ll be sharing a lot of news about changes happening at GMB (I can’t tell you more right now, but it’s exciting stuff!), but what we’re doing is far from pivoting. It’s just taking what we already do and making it 1000x better. The same values we established this company on are still the bedrock beneath every decision we make, every article we publish, every video we share on Facebook, and every product we sell.
So I wanted to share those values with you today. It comes down to 5 things:
Doing the right thing. “Is this a hell yes?”
A lot of fundamental decisions end up defaulting to what we feel is right rather than what’s going to create the biggest profit or receive the greatest adulation. But integrity is more than just “not lying;” it means maintaining alignment across all the different facets of what we do so that any two parts are clearly of the same whole.
How We Operate with Integrity at GMB:
- Our actions are always in line with our purpose.
- We often turn people away if we’re not the right fit for them.
- Every aspect of every process is working toward the purpose.
- The purpose prevails in the product.
Integrity is one of those things everybody thinks is easy and simple. “Just be honest and clear.” But integrating this many moving pieces takes work–lots and lots of hard work to make it all fit together. Ideas come up, and we get excited, but slowing down to consider the real impact on our goals and purpose can save months of wasted effort.
Living and working true to our purpose requires committing to a vision and designing processes that keep us together.
This means listening to people and responding like actual humans, without pandering.
It also means looking at things from different perspectives and trying to understand the context of thoughts and experiences that shape how people perceive things. Most of our best ideas at GMB have come directly from practicing to understand our clients so we can teach them better, so it’s a key differentiator that sets us apart from other companies.
How We Demonstrate our Empathy at GMB:
- We value client feedback.
- We’re supportive and take care of each other.
- Our desire to help each other and our clients is real.
- We engage with each other and our clients.
- Seeking to understand is the bedrock of our communication.
Misunderstandings about what empathy means can lead to resentment, passivity, and politics. True, deep empathy sometimes requires more toughness than love.
What Empathy \_Doesn't\_ Mean:
- Empathy isn’t the same thing as stroking people’s heads and telling them everything’s gonna be all right. It doesn’t mean we absolve them of responsibility or agree with their opinions and actions if we really don’t.
- Empathy isn’t saying “yes,” or keeping quiet when we have something to say.
- Holding back on critique or feedback to spare a team member’s feelings.
Our support team is the most obvious example of how empathy shows up on a daily basis. It’s simple to answer questions with stock replies or to point to an answer in an FAQ, but we focus on listening first and trying to understand the need behind the request/complaint/question before jumping to provide an answer. That way, even an answer we’ve given a hundred times feels like a genuine human interaction. Our clients can feel that the connection is genuine, and they love bragging about how much we care.
Physical autonomy is the main thing we teach at GMB, and so the concept of autonomy plays a huge role in how we work as a company, too. Autonomy is a distinct idea, that’s not quite synonymous with freedom.
Autonomy vs. Freedom
- Autonomy is about self-determination & doing your own deep work.
- One of the key differences between autonomy and freedom is that the former requires decision. Where freedom is a state of potential, autonomy is a condition of activity.
- Freedom is granted and received. Autonomy is developed and exercised with personal responsibility.
How We Work with Autonomy at GMB:
- Understanding our own unique values, qualities, and contributions.
- Allowing team members to contribute to any project or any aspect where they feel they can add value.
- Understanding and being able to work both autonomously and in collaboration.
One of the best things about having a large team working together is that we can collaborate and share our ideas. But if we’re not careful, that can lead to distraction and stagnation. Deep, focused work is necessary for producing our best. That’s why it’s so important to be disciplined in how we communicate and use tools together.
Since autonomy requires decision, learning to make good decisions is massively important. Being analytical, learning how to track and measure, and prioritizing are all critical competencies in an autonomous work environment.
There is always a better way. If not, we could just send our clients the latest issue of Men’s Fitness and call it a day. Learning is at the core of how we teach our clients, and it’s at the core of how we work at GMB.
How We Keep Learning at GMB:
- We provide a stipend to staff members specifically for learning (whatever they want!), and have learning workshops several times a month.
- We monitor and track loads of data that help us understand what’s working in our product, our marketing, and our internal practices so we can keep making them better.
- We gain knowledge and practice transmitting that knowledge. We teach.
- We are not afraid of change. We continuously assess our processes and systems to find and implement better ways of doing things.
It’s never anyone’s job to figure out why something can’t be done. If a path is blocked, we look for a way around. If there’s no obvious way to achieve an outcome, we look for lateral strategies. Develop a growth mindset by taking the attitude of learning and practicing into as much of your work as possible.
We’ve never taken ourselves too seriously, which makes us different from a lot of other fitness companies out there.
There’s a lot of serious shit in the world. There’s homelessness, racism, vast economic inequality, and a criminal shortage of good music being made by the kids these days. And we take our mission at GMB seriously too: continually improving our programs and offering the best damn support anywhere.
There simply isn’t a lot of seriosity left over for shit that doesn’t matter.
So we show that to our people. Fun is vastly underrated in fitness. The fitness industry makes things scary and heavy, so we try to remind our clients that it’s okay to have fun and do things they like.
How We Keep Ourselves Grounded at GMB:
- Our messaging promotes a sense of play.
- We post silly pics and videos.
- We make jokes (including lots and lots of dick jokes).
- We laugh at ourselves and others :)
- We make fun of our imperfections and encourage folks to enjoy themselves.
Of course, you can take anything too far. Especially if we reduce irreverence to humor, it’s easy to get off-message.
Here's What Irreverence \_Doesn't\_ Mean:
- Whacky, whimsical, jocular, silliness.
Humor has a place. Fun is vastly important. Poking holes in inflated egos is gratifying. But in the end, none of us are so special that anybody’s lining up for our clever shenanigans.
What We're About is What We're About
No matter what changes you may see from us over the next few months, these values are at the core of what we have done since 2010, and will be at the core of everything we do until, I dunno, an Independence Day-level alien invasion makes us close up shop. But until then, we’ll be here doing what we do best: teaching tens of thousands of people to move better, feel better, and have full confidence in their bodies.
Check out our full outline of the GMB Method to see how our company values come into play with how we teach.