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The SoulCycle phenomenon

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan reveals the secrets to their massive success

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In this episode of the Tony Robbins Podcast, we are bringing you front and center to Business Mastery, where Tony recently led a panel discussion with the business leaders behind some of today’s fastest growing companies – companies that are simply on fire. Companies like SoulCycle.

Chances are, you’ve either been to SoulCycle or have at least heard someone raving about their experience. Because it has taken the fitness world by storm. And one of the key players behind this new fitness phenomenon is CEO Melanie Whelan.

Melanie has served as SoulCycle’s CEO since June of 2015. And in just this short time, she has helped take the company from 7 operating locations to 70 jam-packed studios across the nation serving over 4 million people a year. And they are still growing at an exponential rate.

So what makes SoulCycle such a powerhouse? How did they create so many raving fans? And how have they managed to consistently maintain their revolutionary customer experience while scaling at such a massive rate?

These are just some of the questions that are answered in this episode, as Tony and Melanie delve into SoulCycle’s innovative workout culture, their unique hiring process, and the customer experience that they’ve built so consciously that it has created raving fans in every location.


Part 1

[01:07] Ana introduces the episode
[02:30] Tony welcomes Melanie Whelan
[02:45] How Soul Cycle was built
[03:45] Soul Cycle gave people a way to connect to each other and to themselves
[04:45] Giving their customers a unique experience
[05:20] How the CEO of 6 Flags created a new culture
[06:20] How Soul Cycle has sustained customer experience while scaling
[06:50] The state of Soul Cycle when Melanie joined
[06:55] Getting very clear on their core values
[07:10] A culture of “Yes!”
[07:30] Hiring in a way that reflects their core values
[07:35] Hiring for attitude and aptitude, not for experience
[07:50] The key characteristics of a Soul Cycle employee
[08:10] Their online central training repository –  “The Wheel”
[08:20] How they deal with new issues and problems
[08:35] Creating freedom within a framework
[09:20] How do you test for consistency and excellence?
[09:30] Southwest Airlines’ technique for hiring
[10:00] The power of behavioral interviews
[10:30] Running shadow shifts so potential employees can assess the reality of the job
[11:15] The transitions of the company
[13:00] Why Soul Cycle is like a “tribe”
[13:30] The bike is the vessel to create the change
[13:45] People come for a workout, but they stay for the breakthrough
[14:15] Creating an addictive, connected experience
[15:10] What separates Soul Cycle from the other spin studios
[16:00] The power of being a mission driven company and investing in their teams
[16:30] The biggest challenge the company has faced
[18:00] Be clear in your intention and transparent with your goals
[18:30] “We never dreamed this business could be this big”
[19:00] Audience questions
[20:15] Creating an environment of hospitality
[21:15] How Soul Cycle utilizes the collective energy
[22:50] Using retail as constant marketing
[23:30] The physical and emotional reasons people go to Soul Cycle
[24:30] Being in the experience business
[25:00] Expanding their demographic

Part 2 (Behind The Scenes)

[01:08] Ana introduces this special episode
[01:40] How Melanie became involved with Tony Robbins
[01:45] Looking for inspiration, and finding the Tony Robbins podcast
[02:10] Starting your day with 3 practices of gratitude
[02:35] Grounding yourself in what is good
[03:00] Soul Cycle’s gratitude process
[03:45] Melanie’s experience on stage with Tony
[04:40] The energy at Business Mastery
[05:30] The unique experience and connections formed
[06:15] Harnessing the power of potential
[08:00] Soul Cycle’s future plans for growth and expansion
[09:00] The challenge of scaling a live experience
[09:55] Artist, manager, entrepreneur
[10:30] Melanie’s personal challenges and how she overcame them
[11:30] Building a team where each member has complementary skill sets
[12:00] The importance of listening


How to build a team that works – Tony reveals his core processes to determining what potential employees are the right fit for your company.

What disruption really means – What “disruption” really is and the keys to innovative success.

Why you shouldn’t quit your day job – While the stereotype of the risk-loving entrepreneur who gives it all up to take a giant leap of faith into the unknown is no doubt prevalent, the truth is that entrepreneurs may lean the other way when it comes to risk.

Team Tony

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