– James Bryant Conant
Having worked with hundreds of wellness champions over the past decade, I have discerned a number of characteristics that help make them successful. In past blogs, we have discussed many of these, including planning, accountability, and actual use of the tools provided. Of course, you need to know how to administer the program and carry out a plan. But many champions, especially those in small firms, also bring two other more engaging and leadership-oriented qualities.
The first of these is commitment or self-efficacy (see link for previous blog). The second is resourcefulness. Resourceful champions find or create resources. There is really no other way to say it. Resourceful champions can get a lot accomplished even without a set plan, don’t always use the particular tools provided, and aren’t held accountable by someone. Some of these Champions make things up as they go, create their own tools, and are mainly accountable to themselves.
Behold the Turtle
The “behold the turtle” quote above describes many of the resourceful champions who don’t give up. They persevere even with very little “external” resources because they are focused on their own “internal” resources. They don’t wait for things to fall in their laps. More importantly, they use the tools they are given as an inspiration, starting place, or chance to be creative. And, like the turtle, they know it takes time and patience.
Internal AND External Resources
The figure and table below quickly explains the “resource world” of a resourceful champion. They move from confusion about resources to a more systematic and proactive viewpoint. In a flexible way, they focus on all four quadrants whenever they need to. They are not stuck in only one area. On one hand, they recognize that they need not always depend on external resources or wait to get them. On the other hand, they realize that sometimes they need to reach out for help. They go back and review all the many resources already available to them (e.g., such as in the Wellness Champion Portal). They also don’t wait to get things perfect. They experiment and they affirm that they “can” get what they need.
Here are some examples of resourceful champions who have thought proactively about creating or assembling resources.
Jennifer Beezer did research on her own and assembled materials for a weight loss challenge. Jennifer is the champion from Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES, Las Vegas). She actually reached out to ACEC for guidance as well. For Jennifer, resourcefulness was not only about finding materials on her own (Internal) but also reaching out for help (External). Jennifer also assembled all the materials necessary to apply for the 2015 Best Places to Work in Southern Nevada award, which GES won (FIRST PLACE!).
Jana Bloebaum has done several things to bring wellness into the work culture. She has created her own flash challenges, showcases incentive award winners, and also even obtained a new budget and funding for the wellness program. Jana is the champion from RVW Engineering (Columbus, Nebraska). Flash wellness challenges are quick monthly programs that staff can enter and include things like “Create a SMART goal for 2016” or “Make a Gratitude List” or “Healthiest Breakfast Wins.” Jana was able to get funding by mapping out all activities for the year, designating a streamlined budget, and talking about the plan with her boss.
Julie Walker worked on her plan with her firm owner and also initiated a “Red Bean” challenge. Julie is the champion with Ampirical Solutions, LLC Engineering (Mandeville, LA; New Orleans area). For Julie, she was able to take the Planning Guide system and work out a plan that could be realistically implemented. With this plan in hand, Julie is looking at starting a wellness committee to take her internal program to the next step.
Paulita Bridges is the champion for Juneau Associates, Inc. (Granite City, Illinois). Juneau is a small firm and Paulita wanted to better understand the needs of her staff. She worked with ACEC to launch a needs assessment using the tools available to her through the Planning Competency module. As a result, she was able to determine how to prioritize programs and emphasis moving forward.
These are just some examples and they show how resourcefulness can range from behaviors like just sitting down with your firm manager to doing extensive research and planning for a new program. The point is that all these champions took action. They moved from confusion about resources, to a more systematic and proactive viewpoint.
Dr. Joel Bennett