Are You In Denial About Your Weight?
One of the biggest differences between exceptional companies and those that flame out is the exceptional companies are willing to make changes when the data tells them to…even when it is uncomfortable.
Here are two shining examples.
Drawing A Line In The Sand
Charles ”Cork” R. Walgreens III, was the CEO of Walgreens from 1975 to 2000. They hade over 500 restuarants when he started out as CEO. He soon saw that while this business unit was not a disaster, it was a not nearly as productive as their drug stores. After years of debate with his executive team about the food services, Walgreens called together his executive team to address the issue. He told his team, “Now we are going to draw a line in the sand. We are going to be out of the restuarant business completely in 5 years. I want to let everyone know the clock is ticking.”
One executive said, “You could have heard a pin drop in the room.”
The restaurants were a staple of the company at the time. It was going to be a lot of work to get rid of them.
6 months later in a similar meeting an executive mentioned almost in passing that they had 5 years left to be out of the restuarant business. Walgreens tapped on the desk authoritatively and said, “Listen, you have 4 1/2 years. I said you have 5 years 6 months ago. Again, you have 4 1/2 years.”
The team realized that Walgreens wasn’t joking around and began making large strides the next day to move out of the restuarant business.
In spite of the fact of that being a large source of revenue, and having to deal with layoffs, relocating employees, and countless other challenges, the company Walgreens went on to outperformed the stock market by 15x from 1975 to 2000.
“You Have To Have The Guts To Cut Off Your Own Arm”
Darwin Smith, an unassuming man, became CEO of Kimberly-Clark in 1971. Little was expected out of Smith by the board and he was looked at almost like a stop gap. The paper company’s stock had fallen 36% right before Smith became CEO. Nearly a few months later he was diagnosed with throat and nose cancer. He ended up beating the cancer, which was a great example of the fortitude that Smith had to do the right thing, which was often the most uncomfortable thing.
His fierce determination and no-nonsense approach spilled over into his job as well. Smith soon realized with his team that their traditional business of coded paper was doomed to mediocrity. Profit margins were weak and competition was even more maligned. They came to the conclusion that by making the jump into the comsumer paper-based product industry, they would have a better chance of success and face more innovative competition like Proctor & Gamble. It was interesting that their outlook was moving into the new industry would force them to raise their game to achieve greatness or perish.
One night while sitting on his porch talking to his wife about the company and recollecting on his battle with cancer, Smith mentioned, “Lois if you have a cancer in your own arm, you have to have the guts to cut off your own arm. I made a decision, we are going to sell the mills.”
The mills were considered the foundation for Kimberly-Clark. This is what they were known for. Smith wasn’t even talking about selling just several of the mills or majority of the mills. He meant all of them.
He even was going to sell the mill in Kimberly, Wisconsin. The city with the same name as the company!
They were going to plunge waste deep into consumer paper products like Huggies.
Everyone outside of Kimberly-Clark attacked them heavily. Analysts felt this was a stupid move and the Wall Street Journal downplayed their stock assuming that Smith must be taking crazy pills.
Several years later, not only did they end up owning their major competitor of the coded paper industry outright, Scott Paper, but they also were beating Proctor & Gamble in 6 of 8 consumer paper categories.
Smith in his humility said, “I never stopped trying to become qualified for the job.”
His determation and willing to change paved the way for a 20 year reign as the Kimberly-Clark CEO, the leading paper based consumer product company in the world, generating 4x the general stock return during that time and outperformed titans such as Coca-Cola, HP, General Electric and General Motors.
So much for a stop gap.
Facing Your Own “Paper Mill”
So what does this have to do with weight? Everything.
Often one of the biggest reasons people get fat is that they grow complacent. They assume their health is fine. They aren’t willing to do the difficult things to stay in shape. Their self-image is of Brad Pitt, when they look more like Kevin James. I know Kevin is an avid reader of the blog, so my apologies. I only say this because you do such a great job of owning up to it.
You might say, ”This is not me.”
But is it?
A report done by ABC News shows a survey that was taken by Harris Interactive where they polled about 2,400 adults online about their health. They calculated their Height and Weight using the BMI (Body Mass Index). They then asked them what category they thought they fell under: normal weight, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.
These were the results
- 30% that were overweight thought they were normal weight.
- 70% of the obese thought they were overweight.
- 60% of the morbidly obese thought they were obese and 40% of the morbidly obese thought they were overweight. Wow..talk about needing a “gut check”.
This is what is surprising. Harris Interactive gave them their resutls and then asked them what category they thought they fit under.
It was staring them dead in the face! And still they were in denial!
Over 60% of all Americans are overweight or obese. So it might just seem because so many of us are overweight or obese, that overweight is the new ripped.
“It’s ok you are fat. We all are!”
This is like being a room full of Vegas card sharks saying, “It’s ok you are a chain smoker and going to die of lung cancer in 5 years! We all are!”
That shouldn’t be comforting.
Maybe if we lived and worked with models daily, then chances are you might be mixing in a few more salads and popping in a P90X DVD a little bit more often.
Although I think the BMI is a dumb practice because it doesn’t take into account body composition between fat and muscle, I would much rather recommend the Bod Pod, it is still a valuable report to show how so many of us are mentally and emotional on Mars. This includes me as well.
I have often noticed that when people become passionate about something, then they not only pay more attention, but also notice the weaknesses more easily. If I am actively involved in my faith, then I am going to notice my spiritual weaknesses. If I am heavily involved in work, then I am going to notice “which arm I have to cut off”. If I am working hard to take care of my health by eating, exercising, setting goals, and recording my results, then I know what is going to kill my diet and what will help me achieve great results.
In other words, instead of arguing with yourself about should I stop at 5 donuts or cap it off at 6, you are instead quizzing yourself on a wheat tortilla or vegetables.
This is why people quit. They don’t learn from their fitness and nutrition mistakes and quit so easily. They put in effort for a couple weeks and lazily say, “Oh I tried. It is just too late. It’s my metabolism”
My metabolism my butt. More like your kahunas.
Folks, this isn’t rocket science. This isn’t even saving a Fortune 500 company. It is balancing calories in and out, followed by measuring your results. I know that is easier said than done and it will take time to build postivie habits, but please don’t make it overwhelming.
It is just a matter of how bad you want it and if you are willing to do the things that it takes to get there.
So how do you “sell your own mills”?
Start taking daily pictures of yourself. Start measuring your waist, hips, arms, and other areas. Record what you eat and what you do for exercise. You will see which “mills” you have to cut out or what should be added.
I promise you will get to where you want to be much faster and more importantly you will understand completely how you got there.