There was a supervisor by name John Bolts in an organization that oversaw the call center. The call center consisted of seventy seven employees. Now if anyone has ever worked in a call center or knew someone would understand that it requires a lot of sitting and not much movement.
The company was a Christian based organization and began every morning prior to each shift getting underway with a prayer group typically led by the supervisors of each department.
As budgets were getting really tight and upper management was looking for any way possible to reduce costs or increase productivity they discovered that if they implemented a wellness program that consisted of diet and exercise their group health insurance rates would go down. In fact it would make a dramatic difference in the cost if everyone participated and results were realized by all involved.
The company got together with all the supervisors and discussed their plans with them that in order to make this work it would require their commitment to be role models for their employees. John was a bit uncomfortable since he was about one hundred pounds overweight but reluctantly he pledged his commitment to the program. In fact, John’s exact words during the meeting were that he would pray for strength.
The next hurdle was getting the buy in from all John’s subordinates.
John called a meeting the following day with his team. John finished his meeting by telling them that he would set the example. That if anyone saw him cheating on his diet to please confront him immediately.
The very first week went by and the participation was great in John’s department. Everyone was eating healthier and even those drinking coffee and drinking soft drinks began to tail off. The company sponsored exercise programs were well attended.
On one Friday of the third week John came into his department carrying two dozen donuts. John’s staff was stunned as they watched him walk through the Call Center and go into his office shutting the door behind him. Several of John’s employees got together and decided to confront him just as he had asked them to do during his motivational speech just three weeks earlier.
The cautiously knocked on his door! John answered the door with a fifth doughnut in his hand. Even more stunned now a brave employee asked, “What about your diet John!”
John smiled and said no problem at all. This morning during my private prayer time I asked God to direct me in relationship to my diet. Since I drove by my favorite donuts shop every day I decided to ask God if it would be OK to stop for donuts this morning. I’m not sure but I believe God told me that if there was an open parking space on my way by this morning that it would be OK to stop and get some donuts. As it turns out on my 9th trip around the block there was a parking spot open for me. I knew at that point it would be OK to stop for donuts.
As he turned and began walking back toward his desk he took yet another bite of a doughnut!
People in a leadership role are watched much closer than they ever imagine and their actions can influence many more than they think.