The Health of a Business

As most people know I am a health and fitness ‘nut’.  Before a meeting the other day it occurred to me that the analogy of what you put into your body, and the effect thereof translates to business.  On the one hand, if you eat junk food or excessive carbohydrates for instance, you will feel sluggish, tired, and overall fatigued.  On the other hand if you don’t eat enough food, your body doesn’t have the calories it needs to perform at its optimal peak.  Both paths are fruitless.  I choose the middle way, in that I seek to put high quality, organic foods into my body with protein and fat being primary and carbohydrate secondary.  Your body technically needs only 20 grams or so of carbs to live.  But in our addictive fascination with carbs, we exceed that number by a ton.  Excessive carb intake also leads in most people to weight gain, as well as the lethargy due to insulin spikes and crashes.  In a business, if you are feeding it junk food, namely negativity, drama, politics and the like, the output is a toxic culture.  If you aren’t feeding it at all, namely lack of communication, apathy, lack of expectations, then it doesn’t have much energy to perform and people aren’t committed.  It is my view that to feed the business an organic balanced diet takes rigor and vision to implement on a day-to-day basis.  Anyone on a diet knows it is hard not to cheat.  I’m not talking about a diet, I’m talking about a lifestyle change, a different way of being altogether.  I don’t think of myself on a diet.  I have a lifestyle that promotes health, well-being and optimal functioning in my mind and body.  I work hard at it.  I know how I want to feel and look and I know what supports that and doesn’t.  Sometimes people simply don’t know that the things they are putting in their bodies or businesses are subpar.  For instance, some people think that organic Kashi cereal or something like that is healthy because it is organic, but it really isn’t.  It is another drop in the bucket of excessive carbs that the body doesn’t need all the while thinking you are eating healthy.  In a business context, one leader of a company raised his voice a lot.  He was feeding his business Doritos and wondering why people were fearful and burnt out.  Would you expect otherwise?  He did.  He thought Doritos was the way to go, until I entertained in him the possibility of feeding them a nice grass fed burger!  By softening his approach and learning about his blind spot (input) he was able to build a better team and culture (output) because he realized he was part of the problem.  This analogy interests me.  Of course you may not agree with my nutrition philosophy, which is fine.  You may have something that works for you and you feel super energized all day and mentally focused.  That’s great.  I’m not saying my way is the only way, it’s only what works for me (and others I have coached on personal well-being).  I could easily have used a fitness analogy too to illustrate inputs and outputs.  The overall call here is this:  examine your outputs.  Are you getting what you want from your business, managers, or teams?  If not, inspect what the inputs are.  Maybe it is a Dorito based culture, toxic to some degree.  What will it take to feed it better?  What could the outcome of that new food be?  In my work I bring different healthy foods to bear on the business and we begin over time to get more healthful outcomes.  It is not rocket science, but it is science.