Monday, September 13, 2010

The Need For Health, Healing and Wholeness

THEME: Some Thoughts On Current and Emerging Trends

FOCUS: The Need For Health, Healing and Wholeness

Monday morning: September 13, 2010

Dear friends,

It was interesting earlier this year to watch the healthcare debate rage on in Congress. People on all sides of the issues where fired up, and as the November elections roll around, people are still fired up about issues related to healthcare.

I remember one day last spring talking with a Doctor who told me that at the heart of this debate was a problem. From his perspective, people were calling it healthcare reform when it was actually health insurance reform. The focus was not on health but really on coverage.

Having done this work since the 1980’s, I have watched issues of health enter into the workplace in many different ways. First, there was the widespread and fully embraced notion of wellness activities. Here, we were to walk more, stretch more, eat better and generally just have an improved attitude. Companies offered wellness classes and many people signed up.

Then, some where in the 90’s, companies embraced a more medical model approach to wellness. Then, health analysis was the key to success. Thus, the business community ran employees through tests such as Body Mass Index (BMI), blood work, and diet analysis. Then healthcare professional analyzed the results and made recommendations. In between this, we witnessed programs on mind/body health and holistic health. This year the Harvard Business Review published another article on the importance of managing energy instead of time. Whatever the pathway, the goal was to improve personal health and reduce healthcare insurance expense on the business side.

But with rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, we have not made great progress. While there are pockets of success, we are not seeing the healthcare revolution that so many people were wanting to take place so many years ago. I think the problem falls into two categories.

First, we do not comprehend and embrace the notion that we are the programmer and the program. When it comes to our bodies, we do have many short and long term choices we can make. I recognize that bad things happen to good people and getting a serious illness is not your fault, but how we care for ourselves on a day to day basis is our choice. Some grasp this but choose to follow a different path. As I continue to remind clients, awareness is not understanding.

Second, many work place health improvement programs fail to be successful over time because they do not understand the world of change. As John P. Kotter in his book, The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, Harvard Business School Press, 2002, wrote, “The single most important message in this book is very simple. People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings.... The flow of see-feel-change is more powerful than that of analysis-think-change.” People need to see results, and experience short term wins more than just receive detailed analysis.

If we seek to create a healthier work place, we need to create more see-feel-change experiences. This week, think about this and recognize that insurance reform is only part of the picture.

Have a fantastic week,


Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257

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