„In-house mutual support“ instead of „in-house health management“

Dr. Walter Kromm, a medical expert who holds special consultations for managers,  tells us why companiesshould add „in-house mutual support“ strategies to their „in-house health management“ programs, to help them succeed and grow, and why some of us should learn how to stand back a bit and not be so committed to the job.

Dr. Kromm, when is a company healthy?
A company is healthy if it is strong in its market. Then, its jobs are secure. And that's a healthy thing. However, for a company to remain healthy in the long term, it needs healthy employees, who are ready and willing to be fully committed to their work.

So, who has responsibility for a "healthy" company?
It's the people who work there – it's everyone who's involved in it!

Many companies believe that they can make their company healthier by doing something "healthy." Depending on the size of the company, this can cover everything from providing baskets of fruit to running yoga courses. What do you think to these approaches?
Some of the ideas implemented by "in-house health management teams" can be very good, and important for the staff. However, if employees don't actually get on too well together, even holding the kinds of courses and events you might find at a health resort won't succeed.

Is there a way to quantify how healthy a company's workforce is?
The number of days absent from work can be recorded pretty accurately. An average employee has about 20 days off a year, due to illness. But the quality of their contribution when they're at work often remains hidden. I estimate that only about 20 percent of the workforce has a real emotional attachment to their employer. That's not very much.

A sense of well-being is closely connected with good feelings.

When looked at the other way round, that means that 80 % of employees have either a very slight attachment, or none at all. How can this be created?
A sense of well-being is closely connected with good feelings. Knowing that you're accepted, respected and appreciated creates this. If you interact with someone on equal terms, you show that you respect them. If you take them seriously, you give them a feeling of importance. These are the "good reasons" people need, if you want to motivate them to do something.

What exactly can be achieved with "connectedness"?
If you feel connected to something, you also want to retain that feeling! This means that people see the purpose of striving to achieve a common goal.

What's your advice to companies?
Success is a consequence, and work is a social interaction. I recommend that companies add "in-house connectedness management" to their "in-house health management" strategy.

If people don't interact well with each other, this will be a major obstacle to success. However, if people do get on well with each other, this sparks off a whole series of interactive processes, which otherwise just wouldn't happen. Here are a few pictures which highlight the most important aspects of these processes. These illustrations come from a recently published book, "Die Kraft der guten Gefühle" ("The power of good feelings).

















What exactly does this depend on?
Working successfully together, and therefore also staying healthy, is the greatest benefit, for everyone! A company should constantly strive to create an environment in which this can happen, because this is where the potential talents, and resources they depend on, lie dormant.

"an employer should also be able to leave things alone."

The keyword is resources – you have said that "an employer should also be able to leave things alone." What exactly did you mean by this?
For many ambitious people, moving with the times actually means not having any time.
In actual fact, we should all be "time millionaires." At least, we should all have more time than we used to have, back in the days before freeways, high-speed trains, e-mail, cellphones and the Internet. But we're faced with a paradox: our lives are getting longer, but our working times are getting shorter. We're saving time everywhere, yet have less and less of it.

What happens to the time we save?
Most people want to save time so they can do more things. It's not that we're short of time, it's just that we want to do too many things in the time we have.
Improving effectiveness is the top priority.
Many of today's high achievers are running hard to stand still. When they're not working, they're either out consuming products and experiences, or playing sport.
They run frantically
• from the office chair to the gym
• from the couples therapy session
• to their evening course
• from business dinners
• to adventure weekends.

How can they break free from this vicious circle?
By calming down and setting limits.

"If you rest, you rust." But we're not made from iron.

What does that mean?
What's the reason that people go away on retreats, to remote mountain cabins or to a monastery? Quite simply, because the number of options for doing things in these places is so strictly curtailed. However, you don't have to run away to the mountains or a monastery to achieve this. Simply doing nothing from time to time is a good idea. As the old saying goes, "If you rest, you rust." But we're not made from iron. It is precisely these performance-oriented people who should not only be determined entrepreneurs, but also be determinedly able to let things go. Our "operating system" needs space to recuperate, and high achievers also need the "ability to relax."

Do you have any tips for our readers about how they can achieve the ability to relax?
Yes, simply go out for a walk with someone you like on a bright, sunny day, and don't worry about missing out on anything else.
This will do more for your health than any medicine in the world.

Do you find "letting things go" easy?
No. But I am starting to learn how.


About Dr. Walter Kromm


Dr. Kromm is a physician with an economically and philosophic education. He knows the medicine for companies to be healthy and successfull. For him it´s for sure: Healthy and motivated employees as well as the long term business success are two sides of the same medal – both are being affected centrally by the determining factors of good leadership.

–    But what is good leadership?
–    How do you lead others and yourself?

In his experience, the management and the course plans of business schools only deal with these questions in a very restrained way. That is what he wants to change with his work. Click here to learn more.




Denise Kirschbaum
Leitung Marketing & Kommunikation ProSys at Prettl Group

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