What Does a Healthy Community Look Like Beyond COVID?

What Does a Healthy Community Look Like Beyond COVID?

What Does a Healthy Community Look Like Beyond COVID?

What Does a Healthy Community Look Like Beyond COVID Blog Post

Grant Ian Gamble

Grant Ian Gamble is an international business strategy and growth consultant, best-selling mindful leadership author and speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth. He has over 35 years of experience in the health and wellness sectors.

When we explore the power of community, nothing brings it into focus more clearly and powerfully than the varied responses to the COVID crisis. Through this lens, the dichotomy of our present reality also comes into stark relief. 

As COVID descended squarely on the shoulders of humanity, partisanship and commercial interests were squarely at odds with the need for communities to work in harmony and solidarity to stave off escalating infection and spiraling death rates.

It seemed that where partisanship and conflicting interests generated fractured approaches from within communities, COVID flourished.

One antithetical extreme is the kingdom of Bhutan, a tiny landlocked country in the Himalayas bordered by China and India. Bhutan has only reported one death from COVID and an infection rate of less than 0.01% (compared to over 9% of the population in the U.S.). 

In Bhutan, the guiding measurement of the country’s success is “Gross National Happiness”. This metric values economic development backed by environmental conservation and cultural values.

Has this guiding principle contributed to Bhutan’s unparalleled success in countering COVID? I think it’s likely, but I’ll let the scientists, epidemiologists, statisticians and actuaries argue the merit of that conclusion.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

What is known is that like the “Donut Economic Model” embraced by  Amsterdam to balance its approach to community wellbeing, Bhutan looks to its communities’ wellbeing as a foundation stone.

Bhutan and Amsterdam are not isolated examples of community wellbeing underwriting a societal philosophy. In fact, the whole Scandanavian peninsula has long been recognized as a maven for valuing community wellbeing.

In a Greater Good interview, economist Baron Richard Layard, of the London School of Economics, reflected on the high marks the Scandanavian countries uniformly scored every year in the World Happiness Report: 

“You don’t have to turn your back on economics, but it’s not the be-all end-all. Human relationships are extremely important and need to be given a great deal of attention—we shouldn’t sacrifice them in the name of economic efficiency.”

Regardless of its causal effect on COVID, Bhutan’s goal of “Gross National Happiness” and the Scandinavian commitment to community wellbeing are admirable.

They certainly inspired me to think beyond some of the constructs I’ve created for myself in my 35-year career in wellness.

My work in the wellness arena began in the heyday of the fitness industry where flop socks and lycra was all the rage. Over time, my enthusiasm for fitness morphed into a deep appreciation for the more holistic benefits of wellness.

As I explored the boundaries of wellness, I had the opportunity to create large integrated wellness campuses with the goal of  blurring the lines between healthcare and wellness.

These centers were focused on attracting the “Interested Deconditioned” segment of the market to movement, and building community from within their shared experience. The “Interested Deconditioned”  segment represents almost two thirds of the population who know they need to move more to be healthy, but haven’t yet found a solution they’ve been able to sustain.

THE DONUT ECONOMICS MODEL

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

Source: Kate Raworth

Over the course of this journey, I have seen community wellness blossom when a small group of like minded individuals, seeking to change lives for the better, join forces and share their passion.

I’d often postulate that the right wellness team could change lives in a warehouse and that the trappings were secondary to the people driving the change.

Having said that, the surroundings can certainly complement the outcome and I had the privilege of heading up the development of a beautifully appointed wellness center in Charlottesville, VA where we amassed an incredible track record for “changing lives” and penetrated deep into the fabric of that community. 

Through programs ranging from regional Physician Referred Exercise Programs (P.R.E.P.), all the way down to basic balance classes for seniors, this team of wellness advocates significantly influenced the wellness of an entire community, achieving the highest community penetration rates of a wellness center in the country at the time.

The performance of this team, the diversity of programming and our ability to create partnerships with and complement the efforts of local healthcare providers fostered confidence in the medical community that generated  momentum rarely seen in these types of initiatives. 

Like the Bhutan principle or the “Donut Economic” premise, the community wide appeal of the programming we were able to create underwrote the economic prosperity of these centers and allowed us to maintain alignment with the goal of changing lives.

This initial groundbreaking success underwrote future campuses up and down the Atlantic Coast. As we refined and expanded the model, I was realizing that these wellness centers could and should be at the heart of a community.

At that point, projects had ranged from kids campuses to senior centric havens, but often these elements remained separate and distinct.

When I was able to blend the generations together on one campus, the upshot was magic.

Kids were inspired by their elders and the seniors were rejuvenated by the energy of youth. I share a couple of anecdotes in my book, “The Affinity Principle™”, but the stories were endless.

This started a personal journey of discovery for me.

I began exploring lifestyle resorts, intentional communities, destination wellness, and wellness real estate developments. There were a lot of moves afoot to increase access to wellness lifestyle and some wonderful outcomes were emanating from these initiatives.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

In my research, I was drawn to Dan Buettner’s work for National Geographic in the Blue Zones study. Dan’s work looked at communities across the globe that enjoyed the longest lifespans and highest quality of life. 

At the heart of this study was the unequivocal finding that “community” was the number one factor in influencing the health and longevity of the members of that community. 

As my understanding of community and its impact on wellbeing continued to expand, I began integrating more of these learnings into the wellness models I created. If community underpinned longevity and wellbeing, it had to be hardwired into any model I promoted in the future.

Reinforcing this conclusion and underpinning my belief that the Bhutan COVID aberration was more related to their community model than may ever be acknowledged, a new study suggests that one of the most important community resources for fighting COVID is social capital: the network of relationships within a community.

According to the study, across over 2,700 counties in the U.S. where people trust each other more, feel more connected, and care for each other more, there are far lower infection rates and fewer deaths from COVID.

The study’s authors  found that counties in the top 25% of social capital had nearly 18% fewer cases of COVID-19 and 5.3% fewer deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people than those in the bottom 25%. 

These findings validated my belief that social capital, community centricity, trust, communications and connections underpin wellness.

They were also accentuating my understanding that putting people first has an immeasurable benefit.

Where most Western Nations measure success through the lens of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), or CPI (Consumer Price Index), Bhutan measures its performance in “happiness.” Where the instant gratification of consumerism was underwriting economic

growth in many parts of the world, Amsterdam was seeking to create inclusive and sustainable economic development while creating a safe and just space for its community members. 

This truly resonates with me.

I had always managed companies with a “People First” mindset, arguing that the money was a by product.

This premise was founded on first hand experiences birthing startups and rebirthing companies that were struggling. When I approached the business from a people-centric perspective, I was able to grow trust, communication, function and performance.

This premise is the basis of my book I mentioned earlier, “The Affinity Principle,” which presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach (sounds like the Bhutan philosophy when I reflect back). 

In simpler terms, I distilled The Affinity Principle into a formulaic basis for  long-term sustainable business success:

Mindful leadership creates an incredible team performance, which leads to an awesome customer experience and that yields great financial results.

If a tiny nation state such as Bhutan can build a sustainable economy around happiness, and an economic and tech goliath such as Amsterdam can balance its economic prosperity with mindful planetary and social boundaries, what could we achieve in our own back yard?

Could we develop a village concept that is centered around wellness and sustainability and yet  underwritten by economic prosperity? A place where people come first and prosperity follows, literally and figuratively? Where longevity is intrinsically connected to quality of life?  Where human relationships are the thread that binds the community together and allows it to function and prosper?

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

This may all seem a little idealistic, but innumerable pockets of inspiration are blossoming across the globe. As COVID’s grip loosens, I believe our need for community, to feel more connected and care for each other, will continue to rise in its aftermath.

Ultimately, if wellbeing is intrinsically linked to community, it just makes sense to plant these seeds in our own backyard. There is indelible proof of the benefits, innumerable examples of the ways and means to achieve this objective, and unparalleled momentum to underwrite such an initiative. What are we waiting for? 

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

CITATIONS:

1 Haug, N., Geyrhofer, L., Londei, A. et al. Ranking the effectiveness of worldwide COVID-19 government interventions. Nat Hum Behav 4, 1303–1312 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-01009-0

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“Does Our Built Environment Affect Our Relationships?”

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Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller Logo

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™

Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership

Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership

Grant Ian Gamble

Grant Ian Gamble is an international business strategy and growth consultant, best-selling mindful leadership author and speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Studies show that positive feedback needs to be delivered at a ration of 6:1 in order to counterbalance constructive feedback.

While one does not equal one in the feedback stakes, you can’t stay on course without giving constructive feedback.

So how do you deliver all these positive pieces of encouragement when you’re deluged by emails and all the trappings of leadership that weigh you down on a daily basis?

Tom Peters talks about MBWA (Management by Wandering Around) in his book In Search of Excellence. He presents a great methodology to employ when seeking to catch your team members up to good things. It’s also a great way to get up and stretch your legs and see what’s really happening beyond the walls of your office.

MBWA refers to a management practice of spontaneous and unstructured visits on team members, departments, and locations.

Because these visits are unexpected, the team members who are focused on their tasks and responsibilities will become apparent (especially over time) and the “show ponies” (those people that wait till someone’s watching to make an effort) will equally become evident. The real magic is in gathering regular and robust data points.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

Be aware that random sampling can create some distortions that can only be corrected through continued diligence. MBWA is best applied generously! It is also important to make this non-routine activity a part of your routine.

In other words, you need to get out regularly to visit your team at various times of the day, and night (depending on your line of business).

When I managed businesses that operated 7 days a week over extended hours, I found that some of the most magical moments happened outside of my office hours. Being greeted by that bright and cheery ‘early opener’ at 5:25 AM in the morning was a treat. The act of opening the doors of a health club for those early morning exercisers was a delight in the right hands or a disaster in the hands of someone who’s not a morning person.

Catching that Manager on Duty jump-starting a customer’s car at 10pm at night was a magic moment not to be missed. The appreciation from that poor soul that had left their lights on probably eclipsed all my platitudes, but just getting to witness these acts of genuine kindness reinforced my need to be out and about catching my team doing great stuff!

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Coach | The Affinity Principle | Blog | Simple Management Practice to Elevate Your Leadership | MBWA

When I was managing a company that was shipping tens of thousands of items monthly, my regular visits to the shipping team was likely a welcome respite from the repetitive tasks that team handled, but it always offered great insights for me into the heartbeat of our company.

There are so many intangible benefits to be gleaned from these connections with your team. I have come to appreciate MBWA in all of my leadership roles.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller LogoWant to learn more simple and effective ways to elevate your leadership? Pick up your copy of my new mindful leadership book, “The Affinity Principle.”

Want to Know Your Leadership Potential? Take this Leadership Appraisal!

The Affinity Principle Leadership Appraisal is a free benchmarking tool for you and your leadership team to gauge your individual and collective propensity to create Affinity within your organization.

The Leadership Appraisal is based on key questions asked of over 6,000 senior executives across the world in the Globe 2020 Report of CEO Leadership Behaviors and Effectiveness. These questions break down into 8 primary leadership dimensions that most influence top management team’s dedication and overall firm performance.

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CRAFTING WELLNESS COMPANIES 
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Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller Logo

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™
Wellness at Work Initiative: Wellness as a Culture, Not a Program

Wellness at Work Initiative: Wellness as a Culture, Not a Program

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Wellness at Work Initiative: Wellness as a Culture, Not a Program

Recent world events, from the COVID-19 pandemic to environmental disasters, demonstrate the staggering cost of poor personal health. Today, more than ever, wellness leaders need to embrace strategies that build robust health and immunity–and workplaces are at the center of this urgent shift. In this session, we share perspectives and strategies to create workplaces that nurture long-term health through highly productive wellness cultures. Tammy Gutierrez, MD, board certified family medicine doctor and functional medicine practitioner; Grant Gamble, mindful business leader and author of “The Affinity Principle;” Gloria Treister, HHP, founder Wellness Evolution and author of “Wellness 101: A Guide to Healthy Living;” and John Toomey, CEO, Wide Awake Wellness and vice chair GWI Wellness at Work Initiative at Global Wellness Institute, discuss effective wellness programs of the future and address questions.

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Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU’D like to collaborate with us. 

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller Logo

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™
It Just Takes One Podcast Episode

It Just Takes One Podcast Episode

MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST

Featured Podcast Episode: It Just Takes One

I got to sit down with Kelli Watson for an episode of her podcast, “It Just Takes One,” to discuss my new book, “The Affinity Principle.” Our conversation takes us from growing up in Australia along my journey to becoming a mindful business coach in the United States. Along the way, I share my formula for helping businesses succeed.

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Want to be a Guest on Grant’s Mindful Leadership Podcast?

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COURSES & WORKSHOPS | SPEAKING | EVENTS | COACHING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU’D like to collaborate with us. 

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller Logo

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™
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Red Oceans, Blue Zones and You!

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Featured Presentation: VA Council of CEOs

Grant Ian Gamble | Author | Speaker | Coach | Mindful Leadership Business Podcast | VA CEOs Podcast Episode | Logo

This presentation was delivered to the VA Council of CEOs in July, 2020.

Red Oceans, Blue Zones, and You!

Simple strategies for leaders to care for self and others during turbulent times and always.

The business environment is roiling; stress is at an all-time high; and yet some leaders seem to swim those troubled waters with equanimity and ease. After 35 plus years as a leader and senior executive in the healthcare, fitness, and wellness industries, I have learned one indisputable truth: one size does not fit all when it comes to a healthy lifestyle and self-care. What works for one person may not work for another. This is not another exercise more and eat less lecture. It is a simple set of lifestyle options for leaders that can enhance the quality of your life, your leadership, and positively impact those around you. I will take you through a series of unique learnings from my personal journey through the wellness and healthcare community and groundbreaking research that has definitively illustrated simple ways to incorporate taking better care of yourself into your daily routine, without adding a bunch of things onto your daily To-Do List. In turn, the simple changes you incorporate into your self-care will positively influence those people you care about within your family and community. If you’ve ever struggled to maintain an exercise program or incorporate the latest diet into your life, this is the session for you. No rigorous exercise routines, unrealistic diets, or magic pills. Just simple ways to transition your lifestyle from struggle, frustration, and guilt to seamless integration into your every day.

RELATED:

Want to be a Guest on Grant’s Mindful Leadership Podcast?

Let’s Connect!

COURSES & WORKSHOPS | SPEAKING | EVENTS | COACHING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU’D like to collaborate with us. 

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller Logo

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™