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Iowa as Healthiest State…What a BHAG!

David P. Lind BenchmarkYup, making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation in five years is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal!

You know. The kind of visionary goal Jim Collins and Jerry Porras were thinking of when they coined that term in 1994*. Something so strategic and compelling that it’s a game changer.

For sure, the new Healthiest State Initiative is a BHAG. We are currently ranked 16 among all 50 states according to the 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, so although we are above average, we’ve got a ways to go to take the top spot.

Can we get there?

Well, that depends on you, and me, and your employees—on all of us making a whole lot of small changes that add up.

That’s what The Blue Zones Project™ is about—helping us achieve this BHAG— community by community, business by business—helping us become more like those Blue Zone communities around the world, where people live longer, healthier, more productive lives.

How?

  • All Iowa towns have the opportunity to become Blue Zones through a competitive application process.
  • Ten towns will be selected to receive direct access to national experts in transforming themselves into a Blue Zone Community™.
  • Businesses can adopt changes whether they’re in a Blue Zone or not.

As an Iowa employer, what’s in it for you?

  1. Healthy employees mean more productive (and happier) employees who will positively affect your organization now and into the future.
  2. Having healthy employees, both physically and mentally, is a competitive advantage.
  3. The bottom line—lower medical costs translate into lower insurance costs.

Sure, I know, it’s easy to be cynical about yet another healthy living initiative, especially one with such lofty goals. Really, you may be thinking, we can’t change our habits so much that we will become the healthiest state in the nation.

But the truth is, Iowa will be better off by pursuing such a BHAG. We can achieve it if we really want to!

*Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, written by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, 1994