His tone reflected the atmosphere inside the conference room: hesitancy, laced with overtones of indifference, with just a touch of sarcasm.
“So, you’re saying there’s something wrong with our culture?”
Anticipating the sentiment and choosing to stay hard-core positive, I responded quite respectfully, “You have one of the strongest cultures I’ve ever seen.”
“All of this,” I continued, motioning to the details outlined in a one-page At-A-Glance document, “represents steps we can take to make sure it stays that way.”
While my response kindled interest, the exchange highlighted an increasingly critical component related to maintaining the health and influence of an organization’s culture: Wellness Checks.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Physicians have been touting the benefits of routine wellness checks for years, citing one overarching consideration:
How you feel today may not be an accurate indication of how you’ll feel tomorrow.
And still, people are reluctant to seek the perspective of a professional.
Many of us believe we know our bodies best, which is understandable. We exercise, maintain a proper diet, drink plenty of water . . . all in the spirit of following protocols determined essential to promoting health and wellness.
Hold that thought . . . and consider how culture flows organically through an environment, breathing life into the ambition, desire, innovation, and ingenuity of every associate, at every level within an organization.
It represents more than simply what you do . . . it symbolizes why you do it.
But like the human body, a culture is inherently fragile and prone to influence from outside your organization. Even the healthiest environment can deteriorate over time if not nurtured and cared for properly.
The similarities between caring for personal health and ensuring the continued wellness of a corporate culture can be summarized in two words: perspective and intent.
Two Words, Three Reasons
Many of us believe we know what’s best for our culture, with good reason.
We follow established protocols such as maintaining an open-door policy, celebrating associate recognition and service anniversaries, promoting talent development . . . even hosting an annual survey to solicit front-line input and opinion about what matters most.
It’s what we don’t know or can’t see that may be clouding our perspective . . . making us question the active pursuit of activities that could result in a higher state of holistic organizational health (HOH).
If approached with the proper intent, one focused on enhancing, then promoting foundational elements within your existing culture, a program of routine wellness checks does more than produce positive results . . . it helps you reach an optimal state of performance.
The following three reasons offer a, um . . . “physician’s” perspective:
Your Roots Can Run Deeper Than You Think
A picture is worth a thousand words.
This is an illustration from The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, one author Edward G. Smith uses to stress the following:
While the image on the left depicts a perfectly healthy plant, the one on the right represents what the plant could become if its roots were allowed the proper room to grow: better texture, flavor, and far more disease intolerant.
Note that each of these qualities is invisible from a surface perspective.
Translating this thought process to the professional world examines whether our associates have enough room to extend their roots, the freedom to seek nutrient rich growth where it can benefit them most.
Vertical growth patterns amid discipline specific performance silos limit an individual’s connection to the overall purpose of an organization’s culture.
Broadening their scope of connection and awareness not only empowers performance, it also enables your associates to thrive in a more collaborative and cohesive environment.
More Than One Dimension of Wellness
Wellness, by nature, has a physical dimension related to actions, intent, activities, etc.
These actions and activities, even if offered proactively, can still fall short of their intended impact if not matched with the proper follow-through campaign.
For example: a potential client is considering training related to Unconscious Bias. He had researched numerous examples of e-learning and on-line programs but was frustrated with the message delivered.
In his opinion, they were each predicated on the assumption that the highlighted behaviors were prevalent within the organization. This contradicted his ambition to generate awareness “so people make the right choices.”
Which illustrates the importance of adding an emotional dimension to your efforts. If simply provided the nuts and bolts of favoritism or prejudice, people are free to choose how the information will influence their behavior.
Exploring the topic from a more holistic perspective recognizes the presence of unconscious bias in society; then we can discuss ways to prevent it from having a negative influence in their environment, appealing to an individual’s spiritual and social well-being.
That way associates feel informed and included, both key elements of a healthy and engaged culture.
A Pathway to Well-being
Routine wellness checks work toward what can be considered an optimal state of well-being. While this doesn’t mean you won’t experience negative or difficult situations, if they do happen you will be in a much better position to successfully deal with them.
This can offer you a huge competitive advantage.
Think of how many organizations struggle with change, then consider what obstacles pose the greatest challenge. Chances are it’s not the actual physical or pragmatic change that delays progress, but the inability to weather threats from an intuitive perspective.
Wellness checks keep everyone focused on what matters most through insightful dialogue and open discussion.
When change rears its challenging head, your culture is ready to respond, allowing your team to approach difficult situations with clarity and resilience.
Remember, we are what we repeatedly do . . . repeatedly visiting your vision and core values promotes a second nature sense of well-being capable of weathering any storm.
Choosing A Trusted Provider
When it comes to choosing a physician to monitor your wellness, you look for someone with whom you can be completely transparent and has your best interests at heart.
That’s because our strongest relationships are those built on trust.
Choosing someone to partner with in maintaining the wellness of your culture is no exception.
Be open with what you want to accomplish, then be receptive to guidance offered. It is your consultant/coach/mentor’s responsibility to support efforts you have in place, then take notes and communicate opportunities to improve.
While this implies a collaborative effort, in the end it’s your decision . . . just like a physician can prescribe activities and make recommendations, it is up to you to effect changes to your routine and lifestyle.
In the end, trust your culture, trust those who have chosen to work with you, and most importantly . . . trust yourself.
This is Tall Tim, and I Am At Your Service!