Video Article

When CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman outgrew the 1,250-square-foot space where he was training athletes in Santa Cruz, Calif., he had a realization.

“I said, ‘Well, ya know what? I don’t know anything about business. Nothing.’ So I better go to the bookstore,” he tells an audience at the State Policy Network 20th Annual Meeting in Florida. “And there wasn’t one book on the shelf, not one, that told me how to improve my product or service.”

The Virginia-based State Policy Network describes itself as a group focused on improving the practical effectiveness of independent, non-profit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks.

With few resources to guide him, Glassman made a checklist of pros and cons to determine whether he should find a bigger space or not. He asked himself, “Is this a good business decision?”

He explains: “And the mindset was that business is about makin’ money, ’cause if you can’t pay the rent, you won’t be in business. But then it hit me in just a blinding flash: ‘Wait a minute. I’m not trying to make money. Money’s what happens when you do something right.’”

Coach trashed his checklist. Instead, he looked at the pursuit of excellence. He asked himself, “Will it be good for clients?” and shifted his focus to virtuosity as a trainer.

“It was going to make a salient, powerful difference for the clientele,” he says.

He adds: “Excellence is obvious to everyone. It’s just that easy.”

Coach Glassman says he doesn’t understand business, but he does understand excellence.

“I believe that business is the art and science of providing uniquely attractive opportunities for other people,” he says. “That’s what we’ve done. That’s it. Nothing else.”

CrossFit, Glassman says, is in the business of value and wealth creation.

“I have a real problem with any business activity that isn’t about value creation,” he explains. “Money is essential to run a business, but it’s not why you run a business. It is not what makes business grow. Businesses grow on dreams. Trying to make money is no way to run a business.”

Video by Hayley Parlen and Noor Greene.

12min 33sec

HD file size: 305 MB
SD wmv file size: 150 MB
SD mov file size: 68 MB

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Additional reading: Professional Training by Greg Glassman, published Jan. 1, 2006.

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32 Comments on “Pursuing Excellence and Creating Value”

1

wrote …

We are incredibly lucky to have you as our leader. Thank you for everything you do Coach.

2

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Another example of why CrossFit is the best thing in the world.

Thank you.

3

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Coach continues to amaze me. Great product and a huge heart. I love what Crossfit stand for.

4

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This is everything I have ever dreamed of. To be apart of this community is beyond words. Thank you Greg Glassman for creating this for the world. You have started a legacy of a positive, co-creative community that will raise the consciousness of everything everywhere. You have done more than you may know. Thank you!

5

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...so fortunate...thank you

6

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Wow....profound thought.

7

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Thank you Mr. Glassman for giving me the opportunity to own my facility and operate my own business! Thank you for not being like the other 99.9% of people in the business/political world! The list of thanks might get long so I will stop there, lets keep building that circle and forging elite fitness! -Muskegon CrossFit

8

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I am so very fortunate and proud to be a part of our Growing CrossFit Community. Everyday i walk into my CrossFit with a sense of pride, that through excellence, i have the opportunity to impact on my athletes lives. CrossFit has given me this opportunity to own and operate my own business to dream big and go for what i want. Thank you to Coach Greg Glassman and all those who have collaborated to build CrossFit to what it is today and the continuing efforts to make it more. Thank you for the opportunity, to allow people who are passionate about effecting peoples lives through health and fitness to live there dreams. Words don't describe how amazing it is to be apart of it all! - CrossFit Collingwood

9

wrote …

I think that it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of SPN attendees had never heard of CrossFit or Greg Glassman prior to this speech. But CrossFit is a powerful story that touches on many aspects of our lives: business, family, community, to name a few. Glassman told it with clarity, humor, and grace. Man, it was refreshing to hear an accomplished entrepreneur, businessman, coach, teacher -- call him want you want -- talk about excellence and moral authority in business. Very powerful. Yeah, not many that day had heard of CrossFit or Glassman prior to his talk, but the buzz about his speech was palpable for the remainder of the conference. I hope that many, many others have the good fortune to hear him tell the CrossFit story. It was a thrill to meet Greg Glassman and his staff from HQ. Thanks for joining us. You guys are terrific.

10

wrote …

Thanks must be given to Coach for his ingenuity, for his integrity, and for never selling out to those who are interested in making him rich. I bet he sleeps very well each night knowing that He is the wealthiest man in the world. His gift to us is simple: Go out and excel at your craft, enjoy the coaching, enjoy the teaching enjoy each person you come in contact with, live in the moment and create change in those that come in contact with you. So simple and so altruistic that it boggles the mind that it hadn't been created. I am so thankful that I am able to come to my gym and turn the lights on and just dream of making a change in my communities lives. Thank you Coach Glassman. CrossFit Northland in Kansas City.

11

Chris Sinagoga wrote …

What comment could I possibly post that would do Coach and lectures like this justice?

As a 23 yr. old also with zero business experience, I find these videos incredibly motivating and uplifting. And priceless.

Thanks from the Champions Club/CrossFit Athletic Group

12

wrote …

I'm going to watch this over and over and over. Gracias Coach!

13

wrote …

The world has hope with people like Coach in it

14

Mike Reid wrote …

Coach Glassman.......you are an amazing man! Thank you.

15

wrote …

Principled people live principled lives. I am so proud to be affiliated with a community led by moral values based on "what can I give?" rather than "what can I get?"

16

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This is so brilliant and inspiring. We already know that Coach formulated new fitness protocols (many of which ran contrary to decades of orthodoxy) as he developed CrossFit, but I'm also beginning to understand how he is now applying the same kind of revolutionary thinking to business. How many people could resist the idea of cashing out and becoming an overnight billionaire? How many people could look at the entire "pie" of economic activity created by something they founded and think "I'm just going to focus on making the pie bigger so I can take a smaller slice and leave more for other people." Yet he has done both these things because he remains inalterably committed to the ideals and values that got him here in the first place. I believe he is simply incapable of being otherwise.


Someone could base an entire course or seminar at a business school on the ideas he sets forth in just this one video.

17

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love this!

18

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Awesome video! I wish I was there to hear Coach speak. This is why I look forward to opening my own box one day: because I want CrossFit to positively impact others lives like its done to me. I'm interning as a trainer at my box now, but even as an intern I love it! Thank you for the opportunity you give us, Coach.

19

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Awesome stuff!

20

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I couldn't agree more with this concept. I firmly believe in it, too. So glad to read this coming from Glassman as well.


The way I actually like to state that in my mind usually goes:


"Wealth (rather than money), happens when someone solves a problem for someone else. Wealth is definitely a consequence of the first. Money - which is actually an invention of mankind - is nothing but a symbolic representation of a favor that someone has done for somebody at some point."


That's why I always tell to my friends, every time they wonder what business could they start, and they ask me "what could they do that makes money?;" and I answer to them, "don't focus on that; rather think of what problem is still bothering someone out there, and if you could figure out a way to solve it - try to find something that somehow makes other people's easier or better, then start doing it, act on it, as best as you can, as committed to it as you can, and then let wealth come by itself as a consequence of all that."


I guess just like in a squat, where until the legs are not in the right position, doing what they're supposed to do well to solve the rest of the body's other problem at that moment, which is to deliver the completion of a lift, all that won't happen if the legs don't start doing their own job for others right first.

21

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This is the very essence of excellence.

22

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Absolutely amazing!!! This is how it should be done.

23

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This is the best video that has ever been in the journal!! Absolutley inspiring!!!!

24

wrote …

This is, without a doubt, one of the most profound statements I have ever heard. What Coach is saying goes well beyond simply running a business, working in a gym, or even CrossFit itself. Absolutely incredible, thank you.

25

wrote …

Coach,

Please consider a TED talk along these lines. Yours are truly "ideas worth sharing".

26

wrote …

Amazing!!!!!

27

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I totally agree! Go for it Coach! Open the (TED) world's eyes!

28

replied to comment from Joshua Hromis

Congratulations to you for believing in the dream

29

replied to comment from Bill Maynard

Bill, you captured it so well. Cross fit is not simply a business revolution, it is also a business revolution. Unfortunately we have move away from a model of striving for excellence and instead seek the quick dollar. Hopefully this revolution will continue to grow.

30

wrote …

Guru is the WORD I now use for coach G.Thanks you give me hope in humanity NAMASTE!

31

Andrew Carter wrote …

Pure awesomeness! This is a man with vision and morals. Grateful to be here and sharing in it.

32

wrote …

Amazing

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