Monday, April 18, 2016

Striving to empower positive, problem-solving team members to aspire to inspire to create a culture of yes

A hybrid of business speak and the language of motivational seminars has become disturbingly ubiquitous in the corporate world and has started to bleed out into other areas such as education. (Ever wonder why you keep running across words like excellence and success?).

This prospectus from SoulCycle (a company we need to be spending more time on here at the blog) offers a rich collection of examples. For those of you who have been lucky enough to avoid this sort of thing, I have highlighted some of the more egregious clich├ęs.


Our Company

SoulCycle is a rapidly growing lifestyle brand that strives to empower our riders in an immersive fitness experience. Our founders, Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, were introduced at a lunch ten years ago and quickly realized they shared a similar vision about the changing role of fitness in our society of over-programmed, always-connected consumers. Traditionally, exercise was viewed as a chore, a box that needed to be checked. We believe that fitness should be joyful, inspiring and help people connect with their true and best selves.

What started as a single, 31-bike indoor cycling studio on the Upper West Side of New York City has transformed into a high growth lifestyle brand that, as of March 31, 2015, comprised a community of over 300,000 unique riders in 38 studios across the United States and with social media followers around the world. We believe SoulCycle is leading the global trend towards healthy living and a lifelong quest for meaning, wellness and personal growth.


We Aspire to Inspire.    Our mission is to bring Soul to the people. SoulCycle instructors guide riders through an inspirational, meditative fitness experience designed to benefit the body, mind and soul. Set in a dark, candlelit room to high-energy music, our riders move in unison as a pack to the beat, and follow the cues and choreography of the instructor. The experience is tribal. It is primal. And it is fun.


During the class, the instructor leads the rider on an emotional journey that runs parallel to the physical workout. We believe the combination of the physical, musical and emotional aspects of the ride leaves riders inspired and connected to both the brand and the community.


Your Soul Matters.    We are a “culture of yes.” Our core values are service and hospitality. We believe every ride matters; every rider matters. All of our employees complete initial, as well as ongoing, hospitality training at our “Soul University” to ensure exceptional service across the organization. We empower our managers to treat their studio as their own business and believe this helps foster the entrepreneurial culture upon which we were founded. We care, we work hard and we work together as a team. We encourage our teams to ride as much as they can, as we believe that motivated, engaged and well-trained employees are the key to cultivating our rider communities. We invest considerably in celebrating our teams through programs (such as weekly “SOULccolade”) that reward hard work, creativity, resourcefulness and actions that embody the culture and spirit of our brand.

Pack. Tribe. Community.    At SoulCycle, our riders feed off the group’s shared energy and motivation to push themselves to their greatest potential. In becoming part of our community, our riders are instilled with greater awareness of not only their bodies but also their emotions. We believe this awareness leads to healthier decisions, relationships and lives. We are not a business that values only transactions, rather we create a community that cultivates and sustains relationships. Our immersive culture of inspiration and empowerment contributes to the engaged and connected rider base in each of our studios.


What Sets SoulCycle Apart

We believe the following strengths define our lifestyle brand positioning and are key drivers of our success:

Our SOUL: An aspirational lifestyle brand.    Great brands often begin with an authentic and powerful origin story, and at SoulCycle, we created a radically innovative business that has resonated with consumers and the press since day one. We believe SoulCycle ignited the boutique fitness category and remains the industry’s defining brand.

From the beginning, SoulCycle has attracted a following that includes business leaders, social influencers and celebrities who were drawn to the idea of an elevated, meditative fitness experience. The explosive growth of our brand is fueled by an ever-expanding core of passionate fans who develop a powerful, emotional connection to SoulCycle and are proud to act as Soul evangelists spreading the word to friends, family and followers. We believe the distinctive SoulCycle experience creates passion and loyalty and generates tremendous word-of-mouth brand awareness, fueling our growth.

Our riders arrive early and stay after class to socialize with their fellow riders, the studio teams and instructors. Riders voraciously consume, comment on and share content from our blog and social media channels. SoulCycle apparel has become the uniform of choice both inside and outside the studios. Our silver retail bags can be seen in airports, on street corners and in households across the country. We do not have a target demographic because at SoulCycle, ANYONE can be an Athlete, a Legend, a Warrior, a Renegade or a Rockstar. It is the place people come, regardless of their age, athletic ability, size, shape, profession or personality, to connect with their best selves.


We have been recognized as being an innovative force both within our industry and beyond, including our being voted one of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Fitness by Fast Company in 2013, and rated the sixth most influential brand on Twitter at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show.


What we provide: A one-of-a-kind fitness experience that inspires and delights.    Our focus is to change people’s relationship with exercise by creating a workout that doesn’t feel like WORK. We have accomplished this by consistently delivering an elevated fitness experience that is physically efficient and challenging, spiritually uplifting and above all else, FUN, paired with our focus on offering welcoming and personal service at every touchpoint.


How we do it: Invest in scaling our empowered instructor and studio teams.    We are truly in the people business and place our instructors and studio teams at the core of our culture. We are intentional about hiring people who genuinely care about others, and who show the capacity to cultivate and sustain meaningful relationships. In hiring our studio teams, we value positivity and problem solving.

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