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Interview with – Jonathan Acott, Director of Operations, Skiplex Ltd

Who are you and what is your current job role? Jonathan Acott, Director of Operations for Skiplex Ltd. Responsible for the management and opening of a chain of indoor ski centres. How did you get to this position…what was the pathway and what did you do before? I’ve worked in a number of industries but the last decade has been in Leisure. Having been involved in both private fitness and leisure management I wanted a new challenge with something refreshing and different. I’ve progressed from Personal trainer through centre management onto project roles and now to hear. What are the challenges in this job? There are a number of challenges, the largest of which is that this is a new concept so all of the intrinsic issues of a new opening are magnified by virtue that we are selling a new idea into a new location. Who has influenced you the most in your career and why? My Father shaped my management style massively, giving me my most important Management tool which is never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. I’ve also learned a lot of what not to do from a series of managers but the last really positive influence was Steve Brown at Fusion Lifestyle who marries empathy with pragmatism effortlessly. What do you do to switch off? Triathlons, Golf when I can and now I also Ski. Any Pearls of Wisdom or strategies for success that you would like to share? Apart from my Father’s advice I also believe strongly that to build a business that is going to last you need to put aside ego and built a culture that is right for your customers and your staff not for the Board of Directors. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges facing the leisure industry at present? The two key issues for me are the on going issue of the industry ensuring it’s place in the employment pantheon as a worthy career path and not as a last resort or an easy option. Secondly the leisure industry has evolved a lot over the last decade but mainly through new entrants to the market, in a static market the incumbents need to evolve to keep pace and unfortunately the investment in new ideas or new ways of challenging the status quo is lacking at the moment from “the establishment” so the question is how do those incumbents develop and change or offer something different when the energy is going into profit maximisation.


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