I was in the shower the other day (where I do my best thinking and worst singing) and reflecting on some of the professional successes my work team has recently enjoyed. These were great projects that we were all intensely proud of but I wanted to know what exactly made them successful. Why did the series of choices we made work in one instance but not in others? For me, unwrapping this is the best way to ensure that my team are not one-hit (or even 10-hit) wonders. How do you mine every kernel of wisdom from your successes (and failures!) to apply to future work?
In the realm of workplace wellness, I think there are a few tried and true tricks to get to the bottom of why a program worked (or didn’t) and how to apply those learnings to whip it real good (thanks DEVO) for the next attempt.
Be Like Diane Sawyer
So this is obviously not rocket science, which is excellent since I’m fairly terrible at math, but asking creative questions of anyone who was engaged or participated in the program is a pretty stellar place to start. Be sure to ask questions that get to the meat of the issue and avoid offering up the answer you think it might be—you’ll be surprised at the wealth of information you get just by asking. Getting answers to their favourite and most frustrating thing about the program (and why!) should get you headed in the right direction.
Be Like Terry Grant (Mantracker)
Tracking patterns in behaviour is so important when it comes to wellness programming. Like Mantracker, getting to know your audiences’ preferences and patterns will help to get that gold star of success time and time again. Not seeing any uptake at your Wednesday afternoon walking group but getting lots of emails on Friday mornings about Thursday’s wellness update? Take note and be prepared to adjust.
Be Like Chris Hadfield
While you may not be able to grow a glorious moustache, there’s something to be said for attempting to ‘Hadfield it.’ Hadfield is not one to rest on his laurels and is seemingly always on the hunt for the next challenge. Be sure to celebrate your wellness wins but then dive right back in to learn how you might launch your next program into outer space—sorry, I couldn’t resist!
Be Like Walt Disney (or the Wright Brothers or Oprah or Anyone, Really)
While failure might not seem like an adjective you’d use to describe Mr. Disney, he did not have a promising start in the animation business—including bankruptcy and being fired for “a lack of imagination.” What we can learn from Walt (and ourselves), is that learning in the same way from failures that we do from our successes—and moving on from them—is crucial to the next win. So don’t be afraid to dive into that program that made you want to quit and move to Bali—your next move might be a ‘Disney!’
To wrap this up and prepare for my next session of “Thoughts from the Shower,” I’d just like to say that none of this is simple. Right now I’d like nothing more than to just sit back and relax but I know that with a little investment of time and energy, successes snowball and become ever easier to attain in the future. Best of luck to you as you hunt for the answers to your whys, whether it be from the shower or points beyond!