The Shift From Profit To People
If last decade was about our environmental crisis, this decade has to be about our wellbeing and mental health crisis. Having started the shift from profit to planet, we now urgently need to move that shift to people.
Why? Well, the statistics are frightening. Official reports suggest 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year, although that figure is much higher when you understand that lots of people hide their struggles. Seven hundred and ninety-two million people worldwide are affected by their mental health, and the total cost of mental ill-health in England alone is around £105 billion per year. Although we don’t know the long-term impact of this pandemic on the population, one of the reason psychologists are concerned is existing insights from previous pandemics and national emergencies.
The SARS global outbreak in 2003 was associated with a 30% increase in suicides in people over the age of 65. Strategies like quarantine that are necessary to minimise viral spread can have a negative psychological impact such as causing post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression and insomnia. Job loss and financial struggles during a global economic downturn have been associated with a long-lasting decline in mental health. Utterly bewildering and frightening numbers. But, as Sir Anthony Seldon reminded us at the Power The Power Up Festival on 26th Jan, from Let’s Reset & Advertising Week, the problem isn't the most crucial issue we face. Finding a solution is.
We have seen during the crisis from responses across the world, a demonstration of how dramatically governments can intervene in managing the economy. With a focus on mental health and wellbeing through government support and business leaders focussing on this as a strategic priority, we can create a lasting change in perceptions of the role of leaders in the workplace.
Unlike learned skill sets and commercial delivery, mental health challenges remain often unseen. Indeed the phrase, uttered by one of our Let's Reset culture transformation specialists, Geoff McDonald, 'The brighter the light, the darker the shadow', is all too true. We've all been in a room or on a zoom call, with someone who has incredible energy and unbelievable charisma. Many people believe (wrongly in my view) that this is a fundamental pre-requisite for any leader. Never assume though that this person isn't suffering. They are often the ones who are. There are very many people for whom this has been true over the years and the list is, very sadly, endless. Tom Blomfield Founder Monzo was the latest high profile, entrepreneur to leave due to his poor mental health. Bright lights whose warmth, energy and radiating positivity have been extinguished by mental anguish. If you're at work, home or play, please do ensure that you check in with even the brightest lights to make sure they're ok. It's easy to do, and it could just save someone's life.
Seb James, the MD of Boots, stated at our Festival, that we need ‘leadership with heart’. It has been key to helping him lead in this pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, Boots acted quickly, supporting the government and NHS to set up and resource free drive through testing stations. These stations were helped and supported with specially trained volunteers from across the UK. They were among the very first ways for the NHS to get tested. Here was a great example of a business leading with its heart, but it goes beyond that. Leaders need to act with their heart too by bringing their whole self to work. Gone are the days when the boss should put on a brave face. It's only by leaders opening up themselves that their employees will even think about doing the same. If FTSE CEO leaders like Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV, and Paul Pomroy, McDonald's acknowledge the importance of this, then the rest should follow suit. It’s my belief that by inspiring more leaders and entrepreneurs to open up and change the culture in their company by doing so, we could see a wellbeing game-changer in UK.
Finally, and this is important in creating a sea change in how we all support wellbeing in organisations across the UK. We only treasure what we measure and, of course, people and businesses measure everything. Organisations measure their profit and loss, their balance sheet, their order inventory and their growth. People measure their weight, their fitness levels and their finances. How many people and organisations do you know that measure wellbeing? I suspect you could count your answer on the fingers of one hand. And yet, we now see that wellbeing has a significant impact on individual and organisational performance. Our Festival offered a rallying cry to people everywhere who claim to care about people's mental health. Everyone was offered the opportunity to use the Let's Reset 7 needs of wellbeing and performance. The score out of 70 can help. And the workshop that goes with the 7 needs diagnostic can help even more.
If you really care about making a difference in the workplace, wellbeing AND performance needs to be measured, so that the data creates a bespoke framework , It's one of the reasons we've developed our 7 needs diagnostic for measuring wellbeing and performance. Without it, we'd be doing half a job.
Our first Power Up Festival gave us a mini-manifesto to put wellbeing and performance at the heart of everything you do. Care more and bring your whole self to work. Put in a proper programme into your work place to teach people skills, behaviours and ways of working. Leaders need to open up more. Equally, no-one will ever follow you if you're not interested in them and their story. Never forget too that the brighter the light, the darker the shadow. It takes the best part of thirty seconds to check in with someone and be genuinely interested in the answer. And finally, if you want to put wellbeing at the heart of what you do, measure it. Measure it first before you do anything else. Your people will thank you for it, and so will your shareholders.
You can see the highlights from the Power Up festival via the POWER UP site or on our let's reset+ app. let's reset + is a community that’s devoted to you keeping well, being a better everyday leader and staying curious. Sign up using the link below.
For more information come and chat to us, we would love to hear from you and discuss your specific needs. firstname.lastname@example.org