I just read a great article in USA TODAY, the No. 1 newspaper for all C+ students like me. It appeared in the Money section (think green). Here it is, “The Maker movement makes its mark.” If you’re a business leader or managing any aspect of an organization, and you’re not alarmed after you read this, you should be. How’s that for using fear as motivation?
Gosh, I am sleepy today… Maybe it’s time for a nap.
(Warning: The following is what goes through a C+ student’s mind while sleeping.)
We’ve really got to do something about these pesky, independently minded “entrepreneurs,” as depicted in the USA TODAY article. Let’s just be honest, get it out in the open. These types of employees, much too often, just won’t conform. First, they won’t fill out HRAs (forms) that ask for lots of personal health information, won’t let us stick needles in them, and refuse to be classified as patients. They tell us they just want to do their job, to leave them alone. Ha! Then they get pissed when we penalize them by charging higher health insurance fees for not participating in our programs. Bottom line (some of them have a big one of those, too): They just won’t do what we want them to do so we can get them to lead healthier, happier lives. Don’t they get it?
It’s all so disruptive and counter-productive when employees (partners, associates, stakeholders, team members, stars, comrades, colleagues, etc.) don’t do what they should to take better care of themselves. They need to listen better, right?
WHOA! I just woke up from a bad two-paragraph nightmare. I dreamed I was a wellness expert. It seemed so real.
This just in: If entrepreneurial types don’t find their work rewarding at your organization, eventually they just leave (because they can). Then, the remaining population obeys, complies, and participates — reminiscent of the peace, harmony, and tranquil music characteristic of Nurse Mildred Ratched’s mental institution before the character Mac (Jack Nicholson) got there, in the Academy Award winning movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” See this one if you want a blueprint for how to run a typical workplace wellness program.
Hey, here’s an idea! The C. Everett Koop Workplace Wellness Cuckoo’s Nest Award. “Koop’s Cuckoos.” See The Strange Case of the C. Everett Koop National Health Award. But I digress, back to the issue at hand.
Having started, owned, and run several successful (and one not so much) businesses in my life, I’d be the first to admit running a successful business would be comforting without the messy process of innovation. . . false starts. . . conflict. . . impulsiveness. . . creative destruction. . . rebellion. . . friendly dogs. . . emotions. . . bad coffee. . . the Jimmy John’s® delivery guy. . . Big Al the UPS® guy, and colorful, loud (and very quiet, but immensely intelligent) personalities all converging at one address every day. To say there were days I just wanted to scream would be an understatement. The dogs held us together. They prioritize better than we do. But without that cacophony of chaos, I am not sure how you make the world a better place? Because it seems to me that is the type of environment, as my friends Rosie Ward and Jon Robison like to say, “where people want to bring their best selves to work.”
I’ll take a passionate (even somewhat nutty) person over a person with healthy biological metrics every time. I’ll also take both those characteristics if they are present in the same person, but in a pinch, I’ll take the former and not worry about the latter.
In that USA TODAY article, Molly Rubenstein of Artisan’s Asylum (a better Asylum than Cuckoo’s nest) says, “People are moving out of big business and looking for an environment in which they have control over what work looks like.” There is that core human need — autonomy — again that’s responsible for so much breakthrough creativity.
Workplace Flexibility 2010, Why It Matters, in speaking to the demands on 21st century workers (listed in the linked source), says, “And yet, the structure of the American workplace has failed to adjust to this new reality. We live in a world of changing individuals and often-unyielding institutions.”
Clearing Up a Homonym
Words like “culture,” and “community,” keep popping up in mainstream business discussions these days. But when you hear a wellness expert use these same words, you can bet you’re experiencing a state of homonymy. The business person and the wellness expert say the same words but mean different things. The business person is talking about a form of freedom of expression through work. The wellness expert is usually talking about how an unyielding institution can pretend it’s not.
A healthful workplace culture, one that can be described as a community, is the kind of organization where people love to express themselves through their work. You might be advised to make your business attractive to the ones who choose to fly over all the Cuckoos’ nests out there. Just sayin’.
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.