Business of Well-being

CEO in Action, CEO Inaction

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, much like the CEOs who run them.

The lifeblood of the business depends on the drive, the energy, and the action the CEO puts forth to provide the direction and growth for the business vision to prosper. CEOs are the driving force behind our country's economy and commerce.  They are the doers, the movers and shakers that make it all happen.

The most effective CEOs understand and acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on them or compensate for them by hiring and delegating for effectiveness and completeness of their organizations.  They are the leaders who provide the spark and the example for their employees to follow.

They rule similar to the head of the family who instills order and integrity into the family dynamics to grow up the family in the way that is most productive for them.  Like the school teacher who finds ways to instill the necessary information into the students and then find ways for them to apply the concepts for desired outcomes.

Every department in a business is different, yet all action are directed to the same vision, the same outcome.  The types of people, equipment, supplies, and methods used by each department are different. Most CEOs are reinvesting in equipment updates and insisting on faithfully following maintenance schedules to prolong productivity and life.  

They send their key employees to seminars and continuing education with the understanding that those employees will come back to their job function and take action to put that information or those skills into practice with action.

Most of these same CEOs do not recognize that their own body is an organization of systems and processes, with each organ, system, bone, muscle, and joint having its own job to do, interdependent on the other organs, systems, bones, muscles, and joints, which can only function fully when provided with 7 key ingredients.  

Water, sleep, exercise, nutrition, fresh air, stress reduction, and sunshine.  Every day.  If the human body does not receive these key elements it will break down into a state of disease and deterioration.  100% guaranteed.

CEOs are human, just like their employees and have their own priorities and values.  Many CEOs  are not wellness minded, and do not take care of their own health because they are ' busy'. There are many reasons why people today put the care of their body and their health last in their list of priorities and often don't take care of themselves until they have symptoms that interfere with the rest of their life.  

The preference of spending time making money is one of those reasons.  Losing income is one interference that spurs people to action. The CEO that is motivated to implement a wellness program for employees because of the high costs of insurance, low productivity, and absenteeism, among other company problems is no different than the average person who has a heart attack and is told you have to start exercising and eating right or you will die.  

Suddenly everyone is paying attention. The human body has 11 distinct systems that are interdependent on each other to keep up their job function.  The supplies they need EVERY DAY to function well include restful sleep, water, exercise, nutrition, fresh air, stress reduction, and sunshine.  Regular exercise and proper nutrition supply the foundation of these bodily needs.

Human Body Systems                                                                     Business Systems

Circulatory System (heart, blood, vessels)                                        Customer Service

Respiratory System (nose, trachea, lungs)                                        Advertising

Immune System (many types of protein, cells, organs, tissues)       Business Vision/Mission

Skeletal System (bones)                                                                   Business Structure and Culture

Integumentary (skin, hair, nails, glands)                                            Security

Urinary System (bladder, kidneys)                                                     Maintenance and Janitoria

Muscular System (muscles)                                                               Sales and Marketing

Endocrine System (glands)                                                                Clerical and Administrative

Digestive System (mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines)             Equipment and Supplies

Nervous System (brain, spinal cord, nerves)                                     Upper Management and CEO

Reproductive System (male and female reproductive organs)          New product development

If a system in your business or your body is destined to break down for lack of care, which system would you agree to allow to work at a reduced capacity or to do without altogether? I recently had a conversation with a client that is typical of the perspectives of people everywhere.  When I asked him if he took any medication he said no.  

I looked at him quizzically and he corrected himself, "Well, just my high blood pressure medicine."  Too many people don't understand that medication is not a cure, is not a long term solution to chronic illness, and that it isn't a 'normal' state of aging.

Medication is like a cast on a broken leg - it's there to help you while you take ACTION to get your body healthy again.Here is what Mayo Clinic says about high blood pressure, "High blood pressure can quietly damage your body for years before symptoms develop."  

They go on to explain some of the complications high blood pressure can cause when it's not effectively controlled. These include damage to your arteries, aneurysm, damage to your heart, heart failure, damage to your brain, stroke, dementia, kidney failure, and damage to your eyes.  

Other possible dangers include sexual dysfunction, bone loss, and sleep apnea. Thousands of research studies have shown that regular exercise and proper nutrition are key ingredients to achieving health and wellness and that without them, the body will deteriorate into a state of disease.  

That disease is still present while a person is on medication and not exercising and/or eating nutritiously. Mayo Clinic explains how high blood pressure and exercise are connected, "Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure."

The human heart is a muscle.  Regular exercise is needed to strengthen the heart as well as the body.  If the leg muscles are weak, how can the heart muscles be strong?  If your business sales are weak, how can your business growth be strong? The bottom line is that every human being needs regular exercise and proper nutrition.  

Wellness programs are usually very good about providing lots of good information to the employees and the CEO about what it takes to create and maintain a healthy body, yet that is where most of them stop. While the employee is expected to be taking proactive action all day, every day on their job, most wellness programs simply put the information forth and assume that the employees will take the necessary action.

Therein lies the key to wellness program success.  Every organizational structure follows the lead of the leader - what is good for the goose is good for the gander, right?  If a CEO is leading by 'do as I say, not as I do', the wellness program has little chance of success. The human body predictably follows the input and actions of the brain that is controlling it.

The business predictably follows the input and actions of the CEO and upper management controlling it.  Insisting that they eat well and then bringing in donuts for a meeting is counterproductive and sends a very clear message that the wellness program is lip service and not a part of the company culture and values.

A sedentary body with poor nutritional habits describes 70% of the people who die of preventable illness each year in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control. CEOs, do NOT leave exercise and nutrition out of your wellness equation.  Be advised that if they don't go to a gym now, they will not go if you give them a gym membership.

However, if you place the exercise program in front of them, 45% - 75% of them will attend right out of the gate. You do not need a fitness facility.  You simply need a conference room or empty office and a Personal Fitness Trainer certified in training groups and special populations.  

Your on-site fitness programs must be directed by a Trainer who can work with multiple fitness levels simultaneously and write programming to progress everyone at their own pace. Employees will work out on their lunch break or before or after work because it's convenient, there is peer support and encouragement, and there is a schedule and a plan that has considered their individual goals.  

The human body begins feeling and seeing the benefits of exercise immediately. The Personal Fitness Trainer becomes as important to your business as your financial experts, legal experts, marketing, sales, production, and maintenance experts are.  They help move your wellness program in the direction of prevention and healing and help increase participation by your employees.

CEOs know that action is what turns the profit, fuels the growth, feeds the vision, and secures a healthier future. Is your company CEO in action with a mind for wellness?

About the Author

Greg Justice, MA owner of AYC Health & Fitness, Kansas City's Original Personal Training Center and founder of Corporate Boot Camp System has been actively involved in the fitness industry since the early '80s.  His growing network of Trainers spans 9 countries, 45 states, and 6 Canadian Provinces, helping fill the gap in corporate wellness with on-site workplace exercise programs.  Speaker, author, and coach, Greg can be reached at

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