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13 May 2021

How can spas reimagine the future? Asks ISPA keynote Seth Mattison
BY Katie Barnes

Mattison's human-centric approach resonated with spa leaders

Mattison's human-centric approach resonated with spa leaders
photo: Seth Mattison, FutureSight Labs

COVID-19 has presented our industry with a chance to reinvent itself, said thought leader Seth Mattison at ISPA's Stronger Together Summit.

Mattison, the founder of FutureSight Labs, helps leaders from organisations such as Johnson & Johnson, IBM and The Walt Disney Company prepare for the culture of the workplace years from now.

His human-centric approach to business resonated with spa leaders as he shared four strategies to help them confidently move forward following the pandemic.

"Find and activate the idea of self-compassion," he said, explaining that leaders need to take care of themselves before they can support others.

Part of his advice in this respect was to 'name the emotion'.

"In neuroscience, until you can articulate something, your brain disregards it," he says, "but those emotions don't just go away, they manifest themselves in stress and illness."

He also suggested that leaders find the time to 'reframe the story'. "You need to ask yourself 'what can I do now, that I couldn't do before'," he said. "What's your spa story, how can you reframe it and sell it to your team?"

Mattison's second strategy is to 'expand what's possible'.

He recommended spas take a wider lens to your business, looking at what might happen in three to five year's time and what's possible in the longer term.

If you do that "you can strategically position your business to take advantage of what's next," he said.

Think like a scientist was Mattison's third tip. Not by wearing a white coat and working in a lab, but by continually experimenting as spas start to operate again.

Businesses that come up with new idea after new idea and trial them are the ones that will evolve faster than the competition. "But don't let ego and pride get you stuck on one notion," he warned, adding that it's important to acknowledge what doesn't work so you can quickly move on.

His final piece of advice? "Mobilise the magic," he said, explaining that the magic isn't the spa business "it's you and your people and once you ignite your magic, that builds resilience in your team."

The best way to do this is to create community centred cultures where you have shared rituals and values that you check in on regularly so that people feel like they belong to something greater than themselves.

"You have the infinite power and capacity to do this," he concluded. "You wouldn't have been put into a position of leadership unless you had this inside you."



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