We have the good fortune of working with wellness managers across dozens of industries from around the world. Increasingly, we’re seeing many delay decisions in favor of studying an issue, collecting feedback, revising the plan, and doing it all over again. After a recent client call, one of our team members put it succinctly: No one wants to make a wrong decision.
The problem with this thinking is that avoiding wrong decisions really doesn’t guarantee wrong decisions don’t get made; it almost always means decisions — right or wrong — are delayed. In fact, we’ve probably seen more wrong decisions as a result of seeking total buy-in and 100% consensus. The people actually involved in the day-to-day work of health behavior change eventually wear down and capitulate to the loudest voice or the highest Hay points or a slim, yet wrong majority. And often the lengthy delay further hampers efforts to effectively execute services.
You’ve just landed your first job as a wellness manager, in charge of an in-house or contract staff tasked with the tall order of improving a population’s health. What do you do first?
Price and convenience are key decision points for many of our purchases. But we all buy some products or services that are a little more expensive or a little less convenient than others, sometimes for many years — a favorite restaurant, clothing store, bank, mechanic, hotel, fitness center. Why? Often because of a single instance where we experienced goodwill or bounceback. You can keep participants coming back for years, too, using these techniques; here’s how:
One of my frequent debates with longtime industry colleagues is the notion of best practice. The malleable term gets bandied about when someone wants to believe what they’re doing has somehow been ordained as the way to practice wellness. It’s all I can do to contain myself when among the list of program components is financial incentives.
The sheer ignorance of that position makes me immediately call into question everything else on the list, even though I know better. Indeed, in the right culture — and with skilled execution — biometric screening, health coaching, and visible support by senior leadership can be a net positive. But when an industry association or vendor trots out the best practices as if they’re criteria for success, and the list includes the notion that paying people to change is desirable or necessary, watch out. It’s not only patently false, but sets up the wellness program for long-term failure.