by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

If you follow national politics, it’s easy to get frustrated with the endless rhetoric and posturing. But in spite of the gamesmanship, the US system of government endures as one of the most successful and admired in the history of the world. 

It works that way because, when the Constitution was drafted, the critical question wasn’t “Who should be president?” or “Who’s the smartest to lead us?” Instead they concentrated on issues like:

  • Processes — what can be put in place to ensure leaders have guardrails?
  • Principles — what values are the foundation for our form of government?
  • Systems — what can be installed to balance power and result in decisions for the good of all the people?
  • Outcome — what freedoms, rights, responsibilities do we want as a way of life for our citizens?

Visionary thinking allowed the founding fathers to create a government that works more than 2 centuries after they’re gone.

Organizations need a similar vision if they hope to create a healthy workforce. Today, more than ever, health promoters need to be visionaries — resisting the temptation to implement the “program of the month” or give in to “we do it because employees like it” thinking. 

Some questions to get you started:

  • Outcome. What do we want the well-being function to accomplish — in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? What effect will it have on employees’ work, health, quality of life? 
  • Systems. What can ensure employee health and well-being remain priorities — regardless of business or leadership changes? How can those systems become self-perpetuating and part of the fabric of the organization?
  • Principles. What values drive our actions — not just for today, but always? How will we conduct our business so those values are evident to employees/management?
  • Processes. What can establish efficiency and effectiveness, regardless of who’s managing the well-being effort?

The obsession with quarterly profits can make long-term, delayed-gratification, visionary thinking risky. But to build a program that lasts, one that survives layoffs and cutbacks, will require strong, visionary leaders committed to doing what’s right for today and tomorrow


# Ellen Brewster Houst 2016-09-07 23:17
OMG Dean, you are brilliant! Really well written. I thought you were an exercise physiologist?!? I can't wait to reconnect this fall, maybe some of your brilliance rub off!.
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