To Get It Right, Get Comfortable With Getting It Wrong

October 28, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We have the good fortune of working with wellness managers across dozens of industries from around the world. Increasingly, we’re seeing many delay decisions in favor of studying an issue, collecting feedback, revising the plan, and doing it all over again. After a recent client call, one of our team members put it succinctly: No one wants to make a wrong decision.

The problem with this thinking is that avoiding wrong decisions really doesn’t guarantee wrong decisions don’t get made; it almost always means decisions — right or wrong — are delayed. In fact, we’ve probably seen more wrong decisions as a result of seeking total buy-in and 100% consensus. The people actually involved in the day-to-day work of health behavior change eventually wear down and capitulate to the loudest voice or the highest Hay points or a slim, yet wrong majority. And often the lengthy delay further hampers efforts to effectively execute services.


What New Wellness Managers Should Do First

October 28, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

You’ve just landed your first job as a wellness manager, in charge of an in-house or contract staff tasked with the tall order of improving a population’s health. What do you do first?

  • Get to know your colleagues. Resist the temptation to dive into work projects right off the bat. Learn about the team and encourage them to learn about you. Following a recent rapid expansion at our offices, we required everyone to take a 15-minute walk before 11 AM each day and do it with a different colleague for 2 months. On each walk, participants were asked to name something about themselves that others in the office didn’t know. We then turned it into a game at team meetings called “Who am I?” where clues are given and 2 staff members pair off to see who can make the correct guess first.

Goodwill and Bounceback: Initiatives That Win Over Participants

October 23, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Goodwill and Bounceback

Price and convenience are key decision points for many of our purchases. But we all buy some products or services that are a little more expensive or a little less convenient than others, sometimes for many years — a favorite restaurant, clothing store, bank, mechanic, hotel, fitness center. Why? Often because of a single instance where we experienced goodwill or bounceback. You can keep participants coming back for years, too, using these techniques; here’s how:


Is Your Wellness Program Stuck on Best Practices?

October 14, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

One of my frequent debates with longtime industry colleagues is the notion of best practice. The malleable term gets bandied about when someone wants to believe what they’re doing has somehow been ordained as the way to practice wellness. It’s all I can do to contain myself when among the list of program components is financial incentives.

The sheer ignorance of that position makes me immediately call into question everything else on the list, even though I know better. Indeed, in the right culture — and with skilled execution — biometric screening, health coaching, and visible support by senior leadership can be a net positive. But when an industry association or vendor trots out the best practices as if they’re criteria for success, and the list includes the notion that paying people to change is desirable or necessary, watch out. It’s not only patently false, but sets up the wellness program for long-term failure.