How often are you conflicted in business when putting profit before principle? It takes enormous rationalization of conscience and emotional energy to ignore decisions that harm the world and people in the name of profitability. This is especially true when we talk about the “business” of health.
Good health is good business and good for business. Healthy employees are happier and more productive. The cost of chronic and (mostly preventable) conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are well documented and out of control.
And it’s irrefutable that people who are alive use more goods and services than those dead.
How can your business be morally responsible to good health and become more profitable?
Esther Dyson and her Wellville initiative (http://www.wellville.net) typify smart thinking in this area. The premise of Wellville is for its five US communities to cultivate health rather than rely on expensive, remedial care to recapture it when it’s too late. How? Through everything the local environment has to offer. That includes the food supply, the built environment, access to pre-natal care and pre-K education, health coaches for everyone (not just the sick), and the like.
Esther summed up the problem: “The motivation was sheer frustration at the stupidity of a system— food, environment, spending priorities, personal efforts at healthy behavior undermined by culture, marketing and human nature—that causes so much avoidable ill health.”
So she took it upon herself to create a new approach.
But Esther has studied economics as well as human nature; she’s looking for a business model that can sustain these changes by producing return on investment as well as health outcomes. And that requires “accountability and long term thinking,” not just goodwill. How many businesses do that?
Does your business do that?
Having our businesses be responsible to good health, the environment and the planet while taking action to change behaviors is beautiful, morally correct and profitable.
It’s a true virtuous cycle of business decisions that bring health and profits by:
– Acknowledging and proclaiming “It’s all about health”– both physical and mental.
– Staying active and being fit as a way of keeping healthy.
– Having a body in tip-top form to breath clean air, drink clean water, and eat well.
– Getting around on your own power – walking, scootering, cycling.
– Improving your mental state through fitness leading to being more productive and creative and solving problems faster and with less anxiety.
– Improving our planet (less fossil fuel used).
– Decreasing the rates of chronic and preventable diseases so medical research dollars are reallocated to other longevity issues.
This can go on and on but I think you get the idea.
Is it possible to adhere to the corporate governance principles of protecting and increasing shareholder value and still make decisions that help the greater good – – especially in health?
And you can start by just riding your bicycle everywhere you need to be. That can help too.