by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

At Health Enhancement Systems, we’re big believers in checklists for important decisions. Here’s one for you to adapt as you evaluate future or existing partners: 

  • Focus. The product or service you’re purchasing must be a core competency of the vendor, not some add-on to what they really do for a living. If it’s not their strength, it won’t be yours either. 
  • Value. This criterion is the product of quality and cost. It’s not about being the least expensive — which often means the least effective. But the opposite isn’t necessarily true either; greatest cost doesn’t equal greatest impact. Value is assessed by talking to real customers and comparing their results to the vendor’s sales pitch. If they don’t align, keep looking. 
by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re fortunate to work with some of the most successful professionals in wellness. And while our evidence is anecdotal, we find common threads that appear to influence career and program success among our more than 500 client implementations each year:

  • Quality academic training. In most instances, top managers chose purposeful curricula pointed toward personal and/or population health. With few exceptions, they selected the field after academic or work exposure to adult well-being theory and practice. 
  • Meaningful experience at a young age. Many were given significant front-line responsibility in their first jobs right out of school. And while we work with successful wellness managers from their 20s to their 60s, the strongest appear to hit their stride in the mid-30s after a decade gaining valuable experience in the trenches. 
by Beth Shepard   Beth's profile on LinkedIn  

Pokemon Go and the Power of Fun

Last week my family and I surrendered to our curiosity about Pokemon Go. After dinner, we downloaded the app… just to take a look. In less than a minute, we all had our shoes on and were out the door, hunting Pokemon.

Nobody twisted our arms — no one paid us to head outside to walk and run or threatened to fine us if we didn’t. We didn’t even think of it as exercise; locating Pokemon and outrunning each other trying to nab them has been just plain fun.

Intrinsic Intrigue

It’s no secret that people are naturally drawn to playful, pleasing activities and adventures, from hobbies and sports to travel and outdoor recreation. When something sparks our imagination, makes us feel like a kid again, and offers a shared experience, it’s irresistible… and we tell everyone we know. A few things to think about as you design your next wellness initiative:

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Peer support can mean the difference between success and failure in many endeavors: academics, athletics, health habits, work projects. A particularly effective approach is the buddy model, where groups of 2 work together to achieve shared or similar goals. But it’s not as simple as just saying “buddy up.” Buddy systems for health behavior change are most effective when:

  • Individuals pair up voluntarily based on reciprocal friendship. Social media has given rise to lots of faux friendships — “friends” who are really acquaintances. For best results, health buddies should be actual friends who engage off line as well as on, not just someone from the Facebook list.