Winning Service? Drink 2 – 4 More Glasses of Water Daily


Achieving and getting paid for best, service-value is a journey. Readers who have skimmed through my 240+ youtubes clips (and climbing) know that this trip involves lots of “change” for the typical distributor.1

But, what if:

  1. Your track record at achieving significant changes isn’t that good?
  2. “You know how to be two times better than you are doing?”
  3. Employees are demoralized from total comp cuts over the past few years?
  4. Outside sales reps feel entitled to keep doing what they do for traditional pay plans?
  5. Reducing future health costs would be nice no matter what Obama-care brings?

Do you have an employee re-engagement challenge? If so, read about how both Alcoa and Starbucks started turnarounds with “keystone habit” programs for “safety” and “willpower” respectively.2 These improved habits were then catalysts for other, changes (corporate habits) that all led to profit growth.

In both cases, the new cause was pitched to all employees as being about them. No extra references were made to how profits might be improved. Who’s going to disagree with improving “my safety” or “my sanity” (at peak-crowd, latte moments)? It is OK to suggest that: if everyone’s well-being improves, then collective morale and general corporate performance may too. But, no Alcoa unions heard about the hope that: if everyone could work together to rethink work processes about safety, then these improvements would also improve productivity, quality and team communication.


Would most of your employees agree that:

  1. “Health is the first wealth”, but keeping resolutions on our own is tough.
  2. It’s easier to conquer a big challenge in small patient steps than big, faster ones.
  3. With better health comes more energy to use in all aspects of our lives (including work).
  4. Our current state of fitness might be measurably a bit embarrassing if publicized, so don’t.
  5. Any program that is self-designed (bottom-up) is more appealing than imposed “solutions”.

If “YES” to all, then here’s some kick-off memo/pep-talk words:

“We believe that: employees are our most important asset. How we work together to create best, service value for our customers is what we must have and sell. Healthier, happier employees with lower, net, long-term health (insurance) costs are all worthy goals.

To support these beliefs, the company wants to support a basic-plus, wellness program in which every employee gets to design their own path with company support. The initial guidelines:

  1. Basic objectives for everyone are to: practice healthy hydration and take more daily steps.
  2. The brain is 85% water. How often do we change out that fish tank by quaffing 1 to 2 glasses of “best-quality” water between meals?
  3. However many steps you take in a day can gradually be increased at your pace. A vision for all: eventually get to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 6 days a week.
  4. If anyone wants to add more personal health objectives, we’ll support those too.
  5. Everyone can choose to be on one or more “teams” of any size of 2 or more. Teams set their own goals and timetables. Cumulative discipline to stay on course increases with wellness pals.
  6. The company will provide for: best drinking water options; pedometers; logging (web-service) software services; and consider other (add-on) support resources teams may suggest.
  7. Our leadership team is: (fill in names). Other gung-ho associates are welcome to join.


The leadership team can research “best” additional water services the company can provide. Anticipate employees will want to take gallons home for all to drink there. The lead team can also research: healthy hydration practices; pedometers and web-service logging/ tracking services.

Hope that some workout teams will: add on additional goals (weight loss; quit smoking); want to have some friendly competition; and suggest company spiff or milestone party support. Start a wellness news bulletin that only reports individually authorized progress news in percentages to avoid actual numbers embarrassment.

There is no easier, less threatening, and foundationally important first step than healthy hydration. Go for 100% participation. If you can get people to swap a glass of water for a soft drink (diet too!), even better. Expect a placebo effect (for many) from drinking more, “special” water within 2-3 days.

The success of keystone habits for hydration and walking evermore will support all subsequent service excellence journey changes. To learn more about re-energizing your culture and net-profit development (even in the toughest times) check and attend on September 20-21, 2012.


Bruce Merrifield

  1. To find them: go to & click on the youtube link. Find out how to best use the 400+ that will be available at the APIC conference on 9/202-21 in Phoenix.
  2. The Power of Habits by Duhigg