Making Headlines For Health & Nutrition

Lakeland Chamber Forum For Business

The Well-Life system is the realization that healthy, happy people create a better culture and inviting environment at the office. When focusing on health, awareness tends to shift from reactive healthcare to prevention. To prevent health problems, you need to move beyond dealing illness when problems begin to occur. Exercise and medication only go so far. The next step is nutrition. The Lakeland Chamber's Monthly Forum For Business has caught wind of this realization. (For the entire article click here)

The Forum For Business covered a story on our most recent endeavor: Partnering with RN/Certified Personal Trainer/Well Coach/Therapeutic Chef, Whitney Cabrera (wow that's a lot of titles, huh?). Why take this plunge? Whitney used to see many return visitors during her days in the ER and Critical Care Unit. She realized that many of the illnesses she saw could have been prevented or managed with proper nutrition. 28 years later, she's now an advocate for nutrition, offering workshops/classes on how to cook tasty & healthy food, plan meals, and raise awareness on nutrition and illness prevention/management. "Advocate" may be an understand statement. Dare we say "evangelist?"

Lakeland Chamber Forum For Business

With Whitney's knowledge, we're now able to offer a better service through the Well-Life System. We've added value to everything an employer could offer their employees. The system is structured in way that allows wellness to be spoken into lives of its participants. Whether it's talking to a health coach, or talking to Whitney, a participant is getting everything they need to live a happier, healthier life.

This partnership with Whitney was inevitable. She just gets it:

"It's not about me. It's an entire system of prevention and proactive measures, and I get to be a part of that." - Whitney Cabrera, RN






What Do You Think Of When You Hear "Dale Carnegie"? 

When you hear the name Dale Carnegie what do you automatically think about? More than likely, and especially if you are a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, it is his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Over the years some have mistaken this book as yet another self-help book from the myriad of such books that flood today’s marketplace. However, you might not know that this book was originally written in 1936. It received such attention in the 60’s because it was reprinted and revised then and also again in the early 80’s. How can something that was written so long ago still be so relevant today? The answer is as simple as Dale Carnegie’s writing style; it is relevant because it works!

Dale Carnegie began his career as a motivational speaker to “prepare people to think on their feet and express their ideas with more clarity in both business and social situations.” He outlines in the section, “How This Book was written” that he amassed this knowledge over time in preparation for one of his many speeches. It is a well known fact that one of the biggest problems that businesses face is the problem of how to deal with people. The quality of personal interaction affects everyone and everything in the workplace from office morale, productivity, efficiency, to ultimately profitability. Carnegie quotes John D. Rockefeller,

“the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than any other ability under the sun.”

Presuming that Rockefeller was a successful businessman and knew what he was talking about, lets get about the business of improving and perfecting our people skills.

In the last section of his book, Dale Carnegie outlines some simple strategies on leadership in terms of how to get people to change without giving offense. They are so simple that you will find yourself shaking your head thinking why didn’t I think of that. Or perhaps, you might find that you already practice some of these tenets and are having a self-congratulatory moment. Whatever the case, lets review his first few principles that involve getting people to do what you want as successfully, joyfully, and painlessly as possible.

  • Principal 1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

    This is a no brainer for most of us as we have been taught since infancy the adage that you get more flies with honey. The key here, that is sometimes overlooked, is the word honest. The praise needs to be relevant and reflect that you as a leader have given your valuable time to regard and reflect upon them or their efforts. In other words, the perfunctory good job will not inspire nor assuage the negative feelings that are almost always the attendant result of any type of correction.

  • Principal 2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

    This is probably one of the hardest things that Carnegie would ask us to do. For the most part we are all very busy and almost always battling deadlines so to take the oblique approach can be tedious and frustrating. However, if you have time, patience, and the temperament then a little finesse can go a long way!

  • Principal 3. Talk about your mistakes first before criticizing another.

    Ok, lets presume that you have tried Principal 2 and it has sadly not achieved your desired result. It is now time to start with some heartfelt praise and a good dose of humility. This is the “we are in this together and I have made the same mistakes too approach.” Carnegie cites several real life and historical examples that show that this practice really does work. It may seem like an oversimplification, but people really do positively respond when they see someone humbling themself enough to admit a mistake or shortcoming. For some of us, Principal 3 is going to be as hard as Principal 2, but improved interactions and ultimately improved profitability is certainly worth a small slice of humble pie every now and again.

  • Principal 4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

    This falls under the “we are all in this together” category. Studies have shown that people who are allowed to express their own ideas and have direct input in to problem solving take more ownership and feel more successful in their positions. This one also seems so pedestrian, but it is not as easy as you think. Many of us like to lead quickly and think that our way is the only right way. It is a challenge, but sometimes there are multiple right ways and the benefits in the long run are worth the extra time spent on personal communication.

  • Principal 5. Let the other person save face.

    Dale Carnegie highly stresses the value of this skill and it falls in line with Principal Number 3. Humiliation is a hard pill to swallow and can turn a most valued employee into an embittered one with a few poorly considered words. Carnegie aptly says, “even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face” He ends this section with a quote from a famous French aviator:

    “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.”

This is just a smattering of the jewels that can be found in this profound and timeless book. There is a reason that it has been in print for almost 90 years and sold millions! It should be required, no that’s not right per Mr. Carnegie...suggested reading for everyone in your workplace!


Chicken, chicken, who’s got the chicken?

“Excuse me, do you have a second?”

I look up to find my second shift bindery supervisor staring sheepishly at me. “Of course,” I say, ever trying to please.

“Well,” he says, “what is our policy on bringing animals to work?” He asks this with a straight face, and I know I am new at this HR thingy, but really, I don’t have time for this!!

“Why?” I ask, assuming he is maybe just trying to start a conversation or perhaps wondering if we can have a “bring your dog to work day.”

“Well, what I mean is, ah, I have someone in manufacturing who has brought their chicken with them to work.”

Having been in the HR Department all of two weeks, I know people are going to try me to see what I am made of, and I appreciate the originality, but seriously, there’s payroll to do. Surely he is just trying to get my goat (or is that chicken?).

“You’re pulling my leg, right?” (Why would a chicken come to work?)

“I swear, come see for yourself.”

So I get up, trudge out to the bindery and guess what...there, like some dinosaur from a forgotten time, sits a chicken, tied to the end of the bindery line. And mama, she ain’t happy!!

In speaking with the employee, through a translator, ‘cause she doesn’t speak much English (and I don’t speak chicken), I learned that someone had dropped the chicken off at work, the employee had no transportation until after her shift and, well, let’s just come right out and say it...the chicken was doomed for the pot! So, rather than the employee lose a day’s pay and disrupt production, we put the chicken in a box and she kept me company in my office for the remainder of the shift. If you think you are having a rough day at work concentrating, try doing it with a chicken in the room!!

I was thinking about that chicken the other day while going over the employee handbook. Do I put something in the handbook about no chickens at work? No, of course not, however, company management needs to understand that employee handbooks should never be just something you throw at new employees, or “thou shall not” missives when things go wrong (or when someone brings a chicken to work). They need to be looked at on an annual basis, not only to address legal requirements, but also to better reflect the changes that have occurred in the company culture over the past year. If you haven’t already placed this review on your calendar for next year, make a plan to do so in the near future. And it is always helpful to have someone non-management read it as well. They may see things you may not have thought about.

We here at OMS would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your handbook with you. And, if you don’t have a need to get on it. It won’t stop the chicken from showing up, but at least you can be better prepared if it does. And, I don’t mean with a stew pot!!


S.T.O.P.-ing Workplace Violence

Alarming News

Due to recent national news stories, workplace violence has become a topic of concern. It is important to realize that though the incident in Oklahoma was heinous and a travesty, it could have been prevented. The perpetrator demonstrated telltale signs that should have been seen as indicators of potential violence such as racial outbursts, strained coworker relationships, and being fired that finally set him off. This event has prompted the conversation about how to spot possible workplace violence and also how to prevent it.

violent coworker

Government Research

The FBI released a study in 2011 which outlines much of the information surrounding workplace violence. First off, the study found that most instances of workplace violence occur in positions where employees exchange money with the public such as delivery drivers, healthcare professionals (nurses, caretakers, etc.), those who work alone or in small groups, and those working late at night. Employees and employers who fit this description should be especially prepared and trained. However, workplace violence can also occur inter-office amongst coworkers, like the Oklahoma incident.

Violence Evolves over Escalating Behaviors

According to the FBI study, individuals do not ‘snap’ and suddenly become violent without an antecedent or perceived provocation. Antecedents could include perpetual sadness, depression, threats to coworkers/customers, erratic behavior, aggressive outbursts, references to weaponry, verbal abuse, an inability to handle criticism, someone under extreme stress and complaining about being overwhelmed. The most common form of perceived provocation is getting fired, like the case in Oklahoma; however, it can also include being suspended or reprimanded. The FBI study found that instead of ‘snapping’ and committing violence, the path to workplace violence is an evolutionary one often consisted of escalating behaviors of concern which can be subtle indicators of the potential for violence and may be unusual or typical, depending on the individual. Relationship problems such as emotional or physical abuse and separation/divorce can unsurprisingly affect an employee’s workplace behavior. A few signs that may indicate a coworker is experiencing relationship difficulties may include disruptive phone calls and/or emails, anxiety, poor concentration, unexplained bruises or injuries, frequent absences and tardiness, use of unplanned personal time, and disruptive visits from current or former partners. The above behaviors of concern are usually displayed by potential perpetrators and thus awareness of these indicators and also the implementation of a workplace action plan to deal with potentially violent situations form essential components of workplace violence prevention.

The S.T.O.P. Plan

The Health and Safety Institute released a plan that can be integrated into workplaces which can help prevent instances of workplace violence. The STOP plan includes four steps. Step one is to See the Risk Factors. Risk of incidence can be minimized in most workplaces if employers make a point to be aware of any risk factors taking place such as employees crying, sulking or throwing temper tantrums, excessive absenteeism or lateness, disregard for the health and safety of others, and disrespect for authority. Step two is Train on Zero Tolerance. The workplace should have a zero-tolerance policy for all employees, visitors, contractors, patients, clients, customers, and anyone else that may interact with employees. Step three is Offer Guidelines. Employers must offer guidelines for employee roles and responsibilities to help them understand the nature of workplace violence. Awareness + Action = Prevention. Employees generally do not want to be viewed as undermining their coworkers by reporting a worry until they are certain of a serious threat; however, that may be too late to prevent an incident. Employers must therefore try to establish a climate of trust within their organizations that allows their employees to come forward and report troubling behavior knowing that all claims will be taken seriously and investigated. Step four is to Produce a Prevention Program. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has determined that a well written and implemented program to inform employees about the intricacies of workplace violence can reduce the incidence in thereof. All employees, including owners and managers must take part in the program so that everyone is aware of the standardized procedures and the appropriate means for action. The program can be part of the employee handbook and/or be an in-person training session and should instruct employees on how to deal with confrontation, how to spot potential threats, and to report any worries they may have to the appropriate department. Employers are also encouraged to secure their workplace with video surveillance, extra lighting, alarm systems, ID badges, electronic keys, guards, etc. if they feel as though the workplace needs the additional safety precautions.

Workplace violence cannot be fully extinguished; however, precautions can be taken to prevent it. Educating those in the workplace of what factors to look out for and how to report suspicions can be a large part of eliminating the possibility for workplace violence. Such programs need to be implemented in workplaces to serve as the educational source.



Why Companies Are Losing $21.8 Billion Today

By Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, and Ben Leedle, CEO of Healthways

Ten cities in America stand out when it comes to high well-being -- with Boulder, Colo.; Barnstable Town, Mass.; and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; as examples of cities in the top 10. Residents in these places -- compared with the rest of the country -- are better connected to their community, have better financial stability and physical health, and have a higher sense of purpose.

These high well-being cities tend to exhibit many shared characteristics, including lower chronic disease rates, lower incidence of obesity, more frequent exercise, less smoking, and a more positive outlook on their community. These commonalities demonstrate a consistent, mutual foundation upon which the top well-being cities attain and maintain their status as standard bearers of well-being in America.

Now, imagine how different the nation would be if the well-being of the average American worker was just as good as that of the people in the top 10 cities -- an attainable and measurable goal that can be achieved with the appropriate focus by business owners and their leadership.

If every one of America’s biggest companies -- those with 10,000 employees or more -- got serious about the well-being of their employees and matched the well-being of our nation’s top 10 cities in just two areas (obesity and smoking), we would collectively net $21.8 billion in reduced healthcare costs and improved productivity. 

That figure gets even bigger by accounting for other health conditions and all the aspects of well-being that affect an employee’s life -- like strong social relationships, engagement at work, and a sense of financial security.

And every uptick in well-being would pay off for those companies in not just cost savings and improved worker productivity, but also in increased loyalty, safety, and a better customer experience. Those companies could invest their capital in growth, not healthcare costs. Their employees would put their energy into their jobs, not their illnesses, sources of stress, and struggles.

Then there are the millions of other employees working in the millions of smaller businesses throughout the country -- many of whom could benefit from improved well-being, meaning the total savings for all U.S. businesses would likely be hundreds of billions of dollars every year. This would put a sizable dent in our annual $2.7 trillion in healthcare spending.

So, what can business leaders do to capture this value? First, understand that the key elements impacting an employee’s day-to-day life go well beyond physical health and include factors like financial stress, social relationships, work environment, and community involvement. The most effective strategies drive awareness around all facets of well-being; help employees develop specific goals to improve their individual well-being; provide them access to resources; and foster ongoing engagement, motivation, and encouragement. Companies that have engaged their employees this way have seen not only lower healthcare costs and improved productivity, but also lower rates of absenteeism and turnover.

Here’s the thing: Chief executives and business leaders should not wait for the government to solve our healthcare spending problem. These leaders have to step up, because no one else is better equipped. Business leadership is all about solving problems, setting strategies, demanding accountability, and building on success. To attack this problem, business leaders must understand why the residents in the top 10 cities have higher well-being, and then take action to help their employees improve their well-being.

Leaders can, in fact, solve this problem one employee, one department, and one company at a time. They just have to choose to tackle it and then put the right systems in place.

Sure, there’s an altruistic component to helping your employees improve their well-being -- it will be good for them, and it will be good for our country. Importantly, however, improving well-being will also make your company perform better -- and ultimately, it will be good for business.

During his recent remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama allowed that his health care law raises taxes: So what we did – it’s paid for by a combination of things. We did raise taxes on some things.” The non- partisan American for Tax Reform calculated that

“some things” when added up turn out to be non-trivial. Below is a partial list of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) new or higher taxes:

- See more at: