The two most energizing - or exhausting - words concerning corporate wellness are Project Management. The term itself is quite expansive: It can be as ambitious or modest as an executive prefers, but, regardless of the size and budget of any wellness initiative, Project Management will succeed or fail based on the clarity of a specific mission, along with the team responsible for running this assignment and the collaboration each member contributes to this endeavor.
Project Management is, in other words, a matter of details; it is the description of the essential tasks that advance or halt a plan, a metaphor for corporate culture and evidence of how an individual company operates. There is no better illustration of this point than the manner by which various wellness programs - campaigns with attractive incentives and collective rewards - deviate from their original goals, and collide with ingrained and seemingly indomitable forces of opposition.
For example: A company that seeks to lower its health insurance costs by enabling employees to avoid developing Type 2 Diabetes has a clear agenda; a noble one, too, as it has the potential to save workers from a multitude of additional ailments and serious complications.
But, while the guiding principle may be sound, it will not happen - no such quest will unfold according to the abstract tabulations from a spreadsheet - without a thorough understanding of the real-life factors that make a business so distinctive. Or, where one company is openly experimental and advertises itself as a haven for "out-of-the-box thinking," there are other corporations that have a rigid, by-the-book set of actions that governs everything from the purchase of mundane office items to the completion of major health care policies.
Hence the need for a strong emphasis on Project Management because, in the absence of a customized program, even the most improvisational company will succumb to that bedeviling forces of frustration, antagonism, pettiness and sabotage known as chaos.
Indeed, if corporate wellness is to be more than a hollow category - if it is to have an established identity, and if it is to represent a series of timeless ideals - then it must be the manifestation, for each company, of a well-defined and equally well-executed strategy called Project Management.
From there, everything else follows, including: Open communications, the free exchange of ideas, the refinement of scheduled deliverables and a cooperative environment, where personalization can emerge and flourish.
Focus on Core Activities: A True Approach to Success
The best approach to running Project Management is the result of working with experts, period. Take, for instance, the efforts of Doug Cooper, Founder of Trubelo, which is an international network of specialists focused on an indispensable trio of services: Business Development, Project Management and Creative Development.
According to Doug: "Project Management involves a disciplined methodology to monitor, manage, and fulfil all tasks and activities by responsible parties, to achieve reduced costs, greater on-time delivery and increased efficiency. Having an accessible, up-to-date project timeline, as well as accurate reporting (by day, activity or project), is critical."
In short, clarify the beliefs of the participants, map the length of the project, and act and persevere through completion of the job as a whole. Finally, reflect upon the lessons learned along the way. Intelligent advice and wise counsel, to be sure.Maintaining the resolve to finish these duties is, in the end, the core of Project Management.
And, despite attempts to shorten or bypass this step altogether, corporate wellness will not grow in a climate of cynicism and distrust.Every company needs - and every worker deserves - a wellness proposal. To enjoy this arrangement in its entirety is the reason Project Management is a priority.
About the Author
Michael D. Shaw is an MIT-trained biochemist and former protege of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Based in the Greater Washington (DC) Area, Michael is a frequent writer and speaker about a variety of public health issues.