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In his first six months as CEO of the company, Don Faul sat down with the host of Effort Over Everything to discuss the future of the company.
He said that humility has been important to keep at the top of his mind. He admits that while he tries his hardest, there are other people who can give him more knowledge. Humility is one of the core values of the team, which is something they need to lead with.
- Faul: “(We) lead with humility, integrity, and principle. People and partners need to be confident in the brand they’re working with.”
During his first week as CEO at the CrossFit Games, Faul has been on a listening tour in which he has been able to hear from members of the community about what values and actions are important to them. HQ compiled the data and came up with a list of deliverables they are working on.
- Driving Growth to Affiliates
It is Faul's goal to change the misconception that people view CrossFit with that can push people away from the local gym. First, he wants to change the idea that it's dangerous. The sport can sometimes turn potential athletes away because it is only for the elite, but he wants to make the sport work alongside affiliates.
- “I think about how we have a ton of people out there that (. . . )that could benefit from what we have to offer but think that CrossFit is dangerous or intimidating and it’s only for elite athletes, and (they) need to get in shape first,” Faul said. “When I think about our ability to attract those audiences and keep them, we have to make sure that the CrossFit brand is one that they want to associate with.”
The potential for growth of the company is very exciting despite challenges. The goal is to have 30 million participants by the year 2030.
- Faul: “The biggest takeaway for me is the richness of the opportunity, the richness of the impact – I didn’t anticipate how incredible that was.”
- Supporting Affiliates and Coaches
One way to bring more people into affiliates is to support the owners and their coaches. Increased education and a structure and pricing plan adapted to new goals are some of the plans the team is working on.
He was inspired by how many people do it because of their passion. He says the revelation that he is working with very motivated people motivated him to start new programs.
- Faul: “Every day, every week, how do we do a great job of helping these intrinsically motivated coaches and the affiliate owners that support them get better every single day?”
HQ has plans to support the autonomy of affiliate owners while giving them more tools to boost their brand. There is a plan in the works to give affiliates with higher-level coaching staff a better place in internal search engines.
- Building a Strong Business
Faul and his team are trying to create a version of HQ that is sustainable and successful. He talked about changing tides and moving the business model away from a startup survival mode that worked in the early 2000s to something bigger.
Faul is trying to make HQ a healthier place to work.
- “Shifting the culture of a brand that’s been around for two decades is hard but we’re gonna get there,” Faul said.
The cornerstone of all operations going forward is this. The team decided to only broadcast media that featured everyday athletes in order to make them more accessible to potential athletes.
He sees the Games as a valuable asset and wants to help elite athletes become ambassadors of the sport.
- “When we think about the role of the sport moving forward, it’ll continue to be essential for us,” Faul said. “I think of sport as this not-so-secret weapon that we have.”
Between growing the brand, supporting existing participants, and healing internal issues, there is a lot of optimism about the future of the sport.
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