The other day I attended a seminar on the importance of corporate wellness programs, and the positive ROI that can be gained from their implementation. To get to the seminar from the lobby, there were 2 choices – a flight of about 40 steps, or an elevator. I took the steps, after all this was a seminar on “wellness”. While walking up the steps, I noticed an elevator packed with “executives” from various local organizations with a line forming for the next ride. I thought – “They’re attending a seminar on corporate wellness, and they can’t even walk up a flight of steps… they just don’t get it.”
So many times executives spout the importance of new initiatives like wellness programs, safety programs, or improvement projects like Lean, Six Sigma, etc. They talk about how great they are and how everyone should embrace them so the company can improve, but when push comes to shove, their actions indicate they really don’t believe in them. Instead of becoming a new way of operating the company, a true change in the company culture, it remains simply just a program to try to improve profitability, either through reduced healthcare costs in the case of wellness programs, or operating costs / revenue in the case of Lean/Six Sigma. They “talk the talk” but can’t “walk the walk”.
When starting new initiatives it is essential to clearly understand the purpose – the reason why you are starting the initiative and be able to articulate it to every employee, board member and customer as needed. Then comes the relentless constancy of purpose – which comes not only through articulating the purpose, but in living it. And that’s hard because it means change – not just the organization changing, but personal change from the executive. It requires constant re-evaluation and “looking in the mirror.”
So how do you “get it” – by getting up each day and asking yourself, “am I getting it?” then by going out a proving it in words and deeds. Remember, actions speak louder than words. So when implementing the new wellness program, next time, take the steps.
Let me know your thoughts!