Posts in Values
Appropriate or Expected

Societal pressures and corporate norms nudge us toward ideas and behaviors that are “appropriate” or expected. But the rewards for creativity and individuality are well worth the effort.

Tom & David Kelley, Creative Confidence

With the CrossFit community having been around for over ten years now, it’s easy to assume we’ve figured out the best way to run a gym.

But what if we haven’t cracked the code yet? What if everybody is stuck building slight derivatives off suboptimal assumptions? What if we’re not pushing ourselves to see what we haven’t been seeing?

There’s comfort in the safety of the crowd, of doing things the way others have always done them. There’s also wisdom in that, in not trying to reinvent the wheel or fix what’s not broken.


But what if nobody tries to do things differently? What if nobody takes a chance, sees a different path, charts a different course? What if safety always wins the day?

I hope we never find out.

I’m not convinced we’ve figured this thing out yet.

There might be a better way.

Here’s to the brave ones who go looking for it.

ValuesPatrick Cummings
What Happens If We Don't Change?

Unfortunately, the one question that is rarely heard when a company embarks upon rapid change is, “What happens if we don’t change?”

Chip Conley, Rebel Rules

In the early stages of most businesses, the person in charge may as well get business cards that say: Chief Instigator.

Nothing is ever as good as they’d like & everything is considered a work in progress.

Then something happens once the brand has gotten a bit of a foothold. That same person starts to resist the very kinds of change toward which they once pushed.

An employee has an idea that seems just as likely to fail as it does succeed. A client makes a suggestion that would require a lot of work upfront for an uncertain payoff. Opportunities abound & each one demands another decision.

In the beginning, change is relatively easy to contend with because of the inherent risk already embedded in the act of starting something new, of creating something from scratch. Even the most positive & confident among us can’t help but recognize the very real chance of it all not working out.

But as we evolve beyond that stage, as the risk of failure fades like a distant shore, too often we steel ourselves against change. It becomes far easier to imagine a failure due to action than it does one resulting from inaction.

What happens if your members get bored, though? What happens to your coaches when they stop being challenged, when they stop learning, when you stop creating the room for them to grow? What happens to your passion when you settle & when you stop instigating?

The answers to these questions, certainly, isn’t to embrace risk & change recklessly. The answers exist in the balance between the gas pedal & the brakes, between small experiments & big changes, between action & reaction.

ValuesPatrick Cummings
Identifying An Enemy

Real or imaginary, identifying an enemy and dramatizing a threat will galvanize the community’s sense of separation, unity, and identity…[B]y defining the other, the cult [brand] defines itself.

Douglas Atkin, The Culting of Brands

The invisible enemy your gym is battling against is the status quo of a culture hooked on sugar, Netflix marathons, smartphones, & inadequate sleep.

The invisible enemy CrossFit HQ is at war with these days are the deep pockets & entrenched interests of industry & science who’d much rather they go away.

The former is a series of daily skirmishes. The latter is a war - one that won’t be won for years, if ever.

It used to feel like everyone was waging the same fight, like we were all moving the same direction, like the enemy of one was the enemy of the other.

If there’s a disconnect between the affiliate community & HQ these days, it’s likely in this redrawing of battle lines.

This is more of a communications problem than a values problem.

But it is a problem, nonetheless.

ValuesPatrick Cummingsvalues