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Aim for the top

The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led public initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. Ranked No. 19 in 2010, Iowa is challenged with moving up 18 spots in five years. 

The Healthiest State Initiative is a lofty goal for our state and will likely be the driving force behind several new programs and marketing campaigns. In the professional realm, setting challenging goals, such as being ranked at the top of your industry, gives focus to your organization’s efforts and can serve as a strong motivator for employees. 

Step 1: Align Goal with Company’s Mission

Think about what your organization could accomplish in five years and where you want to be ranked among your competitors. While the majority of companies already have an established mission, making a goal of being ranked for something can help bring greater tangibility to a company’s ideals.

If, for example, your mission was to provide quality healthcare at an affordable cost, a goal might be: become a Top 100 Hospital in America. To be included among the top tiers of hospitals, you would need to achieve excellence in clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient satisfaction, financial performance and operational efficiency. Each award criteria forces a hospital to improve strategies and perform better; the goal directly enhances the company’s mission.

Step 2: Communicate New Focus

Provide your employees with a clear understanding of where you currently are, where you want to be and how you are going to get there. It is important that all staff know the ultimate goal so they can approach every decision, action and interaction with it in mind.

There are several ways to publicize this new focus; what works best depends on corporate culture. Weekly e-newsletters, department meetings and open forums are a few ways to reach employees. Whichever method you choose, it is important to keep employees informed on progress made throughout the journey.

Step 3: Set Short-term, Measurable Goals

Iowa Well-Being ChartIf you are serious about making a change in your organization, you need to have everyone working to reach the goal and have measurable steps towards it.

Data collected by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index determines a state’s ranking for health and well-being. This data is gathered daily and available annually. It is a great way to measure and track Iowa’s progress to the top.

The Healthiest State Initiative launched with the Start Somewhere Walk on October 7th. Over 291,000 Iowans walked in support of this initiative. I was impressed by the number of participants from my office.

The walk was a symbolic first step on the journey to a healthier state. It is also a model for making progress at your own place of business. Take your first step by targeting a top ranking in your area of expertise. Together we can make strides towards improving business and health in Iowa!

- Bill Leaver

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