Lead­er­ship the key to im­prove health and well­be­ing

Fit­ness Aus­tralia CEO Lau­retta Stace speaks about the value of cor­po­rate health and the roles CEOs play in es­tab­lish­ing proper health prac­tice.

Business First - - HEALTH -

There are many ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with be­ing a CEO. You are in a lead­er­ship po­si­tion. You have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and chal­lenges to tackle. You have the abil­ity to trans­form things, set goals, take ac­tion and in­flu­ence out­comes. You have the op­por­tu­nity to help oth­ers build their ca­pa­bil­ity and achieve their goals. In short, you have power and in­flu­ence.

As a fel­low CEO, what I would like to pro­pose is that we, as busi­ness lead­ers, use this power and in­flu­ence to make more mean­ing­ful, wide­spread and last­ing im­prove­ments to the health and well­be­ing of so­ci­ety. Where does this start from? It starts with you!

In the mod­ern econ­omy, most of us are liv­ing fast-paced lives that are largely cen­tred around work. But is this re­ally serv­ing the health and well­be­ing of our so­ci­ety?

As a CEO of a rapidly grow­ing and fast-paced in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion, I know what the typ­i­cal day holds for an ex­ec­u­tive and it’s of­ten a 24/7 phe­nom­e­non. Com­mut­ing, traf­fic, meet­ings, emails, phone calls, tasklists, peo­ple to see, things to do, goals to achieve. We seem to be in­creas­ingly busy at work and there are more and more de­mands placed on our time. Do you ever find your­self check­ing your mo­bile de­vice at bed-time and then wor­ry­ing about some­thing that you read for hours into the night? Do you spend your ‘time-off’ think­ing about or wor­ry­ing about work?

Whilst it’s great to be chal­lenged, to achieve re­sults and suc­cess, to be con­sid­ered dili­gent and hard-work­ing, there is no doubt that the fast pace of work-life is con­tribut­ing to poor health in our so­ci­ety. As busi­ness lead­ers, we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity for the health and well­be­ing of those around us, but all too of­ten we put oth­ers first and for­get about our­selves.

Over 60% of Aus­tralian adults are in­ac­tive or in­suf­fi­ciently ac­tive to achieve a health ben­e­fit. The in­ci­dence of non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble chronic dis­eases is in­creas­ing at an alarm­ing rate, of­ten due to poor lifestyle choices. Lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and phys­i­cal fit­ness is con­tribut­ing to a range of men­tal and phys­i­cal health is­sues.

Re­cently, I came across this in­sight­ful opin­ion piece from Dr David Kratz in the Huff­in­g­ton Post:

“If only we could man­age our weight and our health with at least as great and re­li­able a ROI as we can get by man­ag­ing our money. We could, if we choose to use what we know, elim­i­nate 80 per­cent of our life­time risk of chronic dis­ease. The grim land­scape of mod­ern epi­demi­ol­ogy is not for want of know­ing – it’s for want of do­ing. It’s about cul­tural pri­or­i­ties. If we treated wealth like health, most of us would pas­sively an­tic­i­pate bank­ruptcy at midlife as a rite of pas­sage, and then deal with the con­se­quences. Heart dis­ease and di­a­betes are more pre­ventable than bank­ruptcy – but mil­lions upon mil­lions get them any­way. That’s a lit­tle odd.”

Odd in­deed! In my own ex­pe­ri­ence, I re­alised a few years ago that to be the best that I can be, for my fam­ily, my em­ployer, my team, my ca­reer, I had to put my own health and well­be­ing first. Why that took me al­most 50 years to un­der­stand is be­yond me, but I’m cer­tainly not alone. So I em­barked on a mis­sion to im­prove my health through a more con­sis­tent ap­proach to reg­u­lar ex­er­cise and healthy eat­ing. I now have more energy, less feel­ings of stress and anx­i­ety and am phys­i­cally fit­ter than I have ever been be­fore. This has also trans­lated into hav­ing a greater sense of pur­pose and achieve­ment, so my self-es­teem and con­fi­dence has been boosted. And guess what? It doesn’t take a mas­sive change to your lifestyle to achieve this re­sult.

I now see this as both a lead­er­ship and an is­sue of or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture. In my work­place, we have sent a clear mes­sage that ev­ery­one’s health and well­ness is a pri­or­ity, so it has be­come an is­sue of cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance. By look­ing af­ter my own health and well­be­ing, and sup­port­ing oth­ers to do the same, I am send­ing a strong sig­nal to ev­ery­one around me about my own pri­or­i­ties and the value that this brings to the work­place and to life in gen­eral.

So, as CEOs and lead­ers, let’s not set­tle for midlife health bank­ruptcy. Let’s tackle this is­sue head-on, take care of our­selves and do our bit to make Aus­tralia a fit­ter, health­ier na­tion.

Lau­retta Stace is Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Fit­ness Aus­tralia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.