Life is all about learning. Every engagement that we all do is an opportunity to learn something new. At my age and with my current job, there are a number of individuals who come to me asking for advice about work, about decisions that they need to make, personal problems, and just about anything that they are comfortable asking me for my point of view. I have also had the opportunity to engage with colleagues and friends where we get to share our experiences with work and we learn from the process.

As I have been growing in my career, I have also the privilege of engaging with other managers from other sectors other than the fitness industry. It is amazing how much you can learn from these interactions as each one seems to have a different way of managing people but with both of you having the same objective – that is to hit company targets. Again, you could pick a management principle or two which you can also apply in your respective fields.

One of my recent interactions with a young manager who works for a bank introduced me to a principle that is probably alien to the company that I work with. ER, as I call him, and I come from two different ends of the spectrum. He is a man of a few words having worked on the administrative side of the bank compared to my “sunny” personality that can be associated with my sales background. I ask the questions and he answers them. I end up steering the conversations, most of the time.

During one of our meetings, he shared his work concern that involved the team that he was working with and me, being a more experienced manager, went on to listen and coach him through his concerns. That was when I heard him speak about his “Sunshine Principle”. His “Sunshine Principle” did not appeal to me initially, not until a few weeks after. It was then that I asked more about the logic behind the principle.

This was how ER explained to me his “Sunshine Principle” – “Balance of life. Time sa work. At time sa family or play. Sunshine kasi di ka aabutin ng gabi sa office. May araw pa pag alis mo. When u bring balance, there’s sunshine.” He also shared to me that this principle has allowed him to manage his team to work within their work hours that significantly reduced his cost on overtime. On the other side, it motivated and disciplined his team more.

Having a thought about this principle, I looked into how I can incorporate the principle into my style of management. I decided to put the principle into place with a strong focus on member engagement, customer service, and getting my staff to use the product. I had to tweak the application and yet keep the principle in its true essence. The idea was to get all back office employees out on the floor gym at 5.30pm in workout clothes to either workout or just simply engage with members. This would allow us to still see the sun shining through our windows as it sets.

The principle has already been in place for the past two weeks and the feedback that I am getting from my staff was that it has allowed them to spend more time with their members apart from the fact that their members enjoy seeing them working out. I have also noticed that my consultants have a different energy when they are in their workout clothes. They have a different vibe when they do their presentations. As a result, we were able to improve productivity with my Membership team.

One of the remarkable feedbacks that I got was from a member. She asked me what we were up to with us in workout clothes every evening. She actually noticed that all of us seem to be working out. I shared with her my thoughts about the Sunshine Principle and the step change that I took in terms of service delivery and staff welfare. She told me that it was a great idea and that it gave the club a different feel in the evening.

It was a great feeling to actually see the Sunshine Principle working in my workplace. It has generated a new buzz in the club and has created a new discipline with my staff and managers. It has also prompted me to also work on my fitness regimen. The principle shared by my good friend, ER, has not only changed the culture in my club but has also initiated a change in my personal outlook.

As a senior manager, I am used to being approached by individuals seeking advice on their concerns but in the same process I also get to learn or pick up new ideas that open up my creativity or challenges my way of thinking. These interactions are in fact a two way learning process for both the coach and the coachee. The great thing about this process was the engagement with another individual from another field of expertise. I would like to thank ER for inspiring me to put his Sunshine Principle in place in my work area.

Keep the balance of life. Get out and get a little sunshine. It can do wonders.