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Proven 2000% return! That is what Google would do.

June 8, 2011

That is what the man said. (Not the bit about Google though – I added that)

Actually the figure he quoted was in excess of 2000% return but I didn’t want to be too sensationalist.

Almost three-dozen mid-level managers participated in the pilot program and the data that was collected demonstrated the value that had been delivered to the organisation. I suspect that the figure would have been much, much higher if you took into account the benefits that flowed to the individuals who participated.

The data is there. The return has been proven. Nobody wants to listen.

They say that they  assumed he just made the numbers up. They say they already have  programs in place that have been running for a number of years – but when pushed they say they have no idea how effective they are. They don’t have the data but everyone else has similar programs so that is enough for now.

Organisations who say they want to be a leader in their market are not interested because the pilot was conducted in a different sector. “It sounds very interesting but …” they say they would like to wait and see how it works in an organisation similar to theirs.

Last time I checked that makes you a follower not a leader.

I am not talking about a get-rich-quick scheme or a new piece of whizzy software or super fast hardware. This is a program that goes to the very heart of the success of any business – the health and productivity of their people.

After spending an hour or two with a person you get a pretty good idea of whether they are telling the truth or whether they are full of … spin. Dr Paul Lanthois is genuine and is all about delivering sustainable and long-term improvements in the health and the productivity of the people he works with. He has seen the clouds from both sides now and he has done his research.

His workforce sustainability and productivity programs have demonstrated their value. He has the results to prove it. Why isn’t that enough?

His story made me wonder why it is that as individuals and as organisations we continue to do things when we have no clear understanding of the benefits (or otherwise) that flow from them?  What is it that keeps us tied to particular behaviours when there is compelling evidence that we could (and would) benefit from a change, from adopting a different approach?

As a parent I find myself saying…“Just because your sister did it doesn’t mean that you should!”

Workplace programs can be a bit like that … “But this is what Google did! We should do that too.

(I know they would like us to think it was the case, but I am pretty sure Google hasn’t found all the answers. Yet.)

If you really want to be a leader in your field don’t do what everyone else has done. You don’t want to do what Google has done – do what Google would do.

Figure out a way to measure the benefits and give that new program or initiative a try. Then let everyone else follow your lead.


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