If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to Connect with your environment.


Image courtesy of hywards at

Connecting is communicating in such a way that you test if the message that you are sending has been received at the other end. I’m tired of people who start listing all the activities they have performed to get a message out to their audience but forget to tell me what measure they had to see if the message was received.

For some of my projects I use mailchimp, the mailing program, but it works with all major communication applications; you can create a message, send it and then track how many people open it and click on something. Well maybe I write boring stuff but it is very rare or actually non existent that I get 100% of the audience to read my message. This simple example tells you that you can’t just send an email and think that you have adequately communicated. Likewise with sending a phone message, it is not seldom that I come home and then suddenly receive messages that my son has sent hours before. Again unreliable communication and only one way, no connection.

Many presentations that I sit through are also one way traffic but at least you can see who pays attention and who is not playing with their smartphone. In the meeting room you have a captive audience but still you may not connect if you do not take advantage of the proximity of the target group.

Even all the social media won’t help you enough to connect; Twitter messages are like leaves floating in the river that passes by, when you are not there, chances are you won’t see it. Facebook is hardly better as you need to compete with the LOL cats and other distractions. Webinars don’t show you who is attending and mailing information the classic way does not give you guarantees that it has been received or has not been tossed with the massive amount of spam mail and advertisements. Forget RoBoCalls (that should be illegal!).

So how do you connect? How do you ensure there is Goal Clarity in your organization? Yes you need to do all of the above and yes you need to tell them three times in three different ways what the information is, but you need to take the extra step and Connect! Personal communication is my favorite. Talk to a group of  well connected leaders in your organization. Ask them to be your sounding board when developing the communication and then go on and arm them with all the information they need to, in turn, go out and bring your message to the larger audience.

Realize you are NOT in a vacuum and your audience gets many pieces of information about other things in life that are important for them, pace your communication and bear in mind the obvious hurdles like vacation time, or holidays and even Super Bowl Sunday. Make sure as you send information out through this process to also follow up and have your immediate audience circle back with feedback they got through their communication.

This process may look to be lengthy and cumbersome but you would only use it for important messages, like the Goals!

A short note about a short list

Lists are powerful tools. You can however overdo it and not get any benefits out of your lists.

There are three main reasons to have a list;

  1. ToDo (action list)
  2. Goal setting (target list)
  3. Don’t forget (master list/bucket list)

There can be thousands of other reasons why you make lists, but those will be of a different nature, like a list of members, a list of your cds etc.

The trouble I see often with people making their TODO lists is that they overdo it. Where your Goal Setting list can be a list with dreams that you are striving for, your TODO list should be realistic and filled with obtainable tasks. You want that list to encourage yourself to get through the barrage of little tasks you need to work through to eventually get your goals accomplished. Once you make TODO lists that are too long or too cumbersome to get through, instead of a motivator (in the evening when looking back at a crossed out TODO list) it becomes a demotivator.

todo listThere is no hard and fast rule about how many items should feature on your daily TODO list, mine was 11 items yesterday and two of them got started but due to waiting for others to cooperate will feature on the list for today too.

There are many paper and electronic systems for your TODO lists, I use google keep but I used to work with “remember the milk” and I also have some lists stored in “evernote“. See what you like and what works for you.

Good luck with your TODOs, keep it short, keep it real, get it done!


Wellness at work

Wellness is a management program, not an HR initiative.

Many companies offer wellness initiatives. Here are a number of reasons why companies believe wellness initiatives should be organized;

  • recruitment and retention
  • lower health insurance costs
  • genuine care for employee’s wellbeing
  • maintain/improving productivity
  • avoid legal costs
  • improve employee’s morale

We are all very used to companies providing health insurance and the trend to offer wellness benefits is directly linked to it. From the above reasons the one lowering costs of Health Insurance was the most important one for about 74% of employers surveyed on the topic.

The reason employers offer health insurance (and not your church, subdivision or home owners association) is that back in the days, there was a freeze on pay (Stabilization act of 1942). In an effort to continue to be able to attract the best and the brightest, employers sought to increase the value of their package for employees and so they started to offer health insurance. Later the tax treatment began to take over as the main reason to offer the insurance and these days we don’t even question it anymore.

The wellness initiatives come in various shapes and forms, from friendly advice and information that gets distributed, to financial incentives to go for preventative health care and financial disincentives to maintain unhealthy habits.

As a manager what is your role in the wellness at work?

First you need to understand why you offer the wellness initiatives. Next you need to be happy with the impact on the employees of the various wellness offerings and thirdly you need to support the communication of the wellness initiatives.

All too often we see health and wellness programs totally run by the benefits- or Human Resources department. Although these departments will be able to offer expertise in setting the plans up and executing it in a responsible manner, they are not the decision makers over the resources of the company. Goal clarity is important and Management needs to set the goals and make sure employees know where this fits into the overall strategy of the company. Employees look at their management and will react depending on Management’s behavior. When management does not look to be in charge of the wellness programs, it will remain a benefit that lives on the sidelines of employee’s attention. However when Management fully supports and spearheads the decision to go for wellness programs and actively participates it can accomplish its goals. Offering wellness programs at work needs to be thought through carefully as the majority of the beneficiaries of your health plan are probably spouses and children of employees who not normally come to the company.

A good article about some simple yet very effective ways to get started is HERE

There is a lively debate about whether or not the wellness plans deliver on their promise to cut health insurance costs and one article capturing three studies is HERE

Meanwhile a huge business developed in wellness programs said to top $10 billion.

If you follow the theory from Herzberg about motivators and hygiene factors, it should be clear that wellness can never be a motivator but should be seen in the hygiene factor category, meaning that you need to treat it from a recruitment and retention perspective as a competitive benefit. No one joins a company solely for their wellness offering. People may however become dissatisfied with their package if it does not include wellness when their peers all enjoy it at their companies.

Looking at the wellness plans as a major factor in containing the cost of health insurance, turns the management decision to what will provide you with most cost-savings while not upsetting the competitiveness of the overall package.

Wellness is a management program, as all programs are that have an impact on costs to the company and the ability to attract and retain talent.