Jodie Rogers on her new book ‘The Hidden Edge’ which highlights how leaders need to focus on mental fitness in the workplace
2020 was hard. 2021 will be harder. Not only will the pandemic not end, but those who return
to the office will face leaders who wish to simply revive ‘the old ways’ and disregard all that the
pandemic has taught us.
Is your organisation ready to invest in mental health? Because good mental health – or more accurately, mental fitness – is key to boosting your bottom line in 2021.
The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Think about this for a second. What are organisations? They are simply collections of human beings. Whether we like it or not, humans have emotions, thoughts, doubts, insecurities and biases. All of these play a role in business, from the day-to-day operations to the big decisions.
What happens, then, when a business faces challenges? When it comes up against a bombshell like a pandemic and its aftermath?
We tend to focus on strategy, budgets and business results. Why? Because these are tangible and measurable. But they ignore a very real contributing factor to business – the human one. They fail to address our energy, optimism, work ethic, attitude and all the other qualities that make us motivated and efficient team members.
The Only Certainty In Business is Uncertainty
The thousands of workshops that I have run throughout the world have taught me that most leaders, understandably, are more comfortable addressing the tangible. But the real potential lies ‘between’ the tangibles. It’s in the emotions, attitudes, beliefs and values of the people working in the business.
If we want real results in business, we have to work at the human level.
Let’s take for example, the topic of uncertainty. We binged on it in 2020. We saw our personal plans, hopes and dreams – along with our business strategies – disrupted. The world is ever- changing and we need people who can continually respond to that change.
We’ll be facing a lot more of it in 2021 and beyond.
The Best Way to Decrease Your Bottom Line? Ignore Mental Fitness
A scary statistic from research conducted by McKinsey shows that 70% of transformations fail. Why do they fail? That’s the million dollar question. For sure, there are a variety of complex reasons.
One factor that is frequently undervalued and dismissed as soft or intangible is mindset. We also know that mindset is the most important driver of exceptional strategic execution. In organisations identified as extremely successful, 72% of respondents noted that the transformation ‘entirely’ or ‘very much’ took mindset into account.
In those organisations identified as not at all successful, this number drops to 8%. Consider that the average cost of digital transformation in the US alone was $1.1 trillion in 2017, $1.3 trillion in 2018 with a predicted $2.1 trillion spend in 2021. Rest assured that in the wake of a pandemic, that cost will now be much, much higher.
With those eye-watering numbers, mindset suddenly becomes an intangible yet highly valuable
asset to be leveraged, potentially saving companies millions, even billions.
Organisations are slowly realising that the peak performance of individuals and teams requires them to strengthen their inner ‘mental game’. After all, we have inner resources. If we can access them and leverage them, they can enhance our outer resources.
The Business Case for Mental Health and Mental Fitness
I make a definitive case for the return on investment in mental fitness programmes for companies in my book The Hidden Edge: Why Mental Fitness is the Only Advantage That
Matters in Business.
The numbers could not be clearer: for every $1 spent on wellness, the ROI is anywhere from $2-
According to a CIPD 2020 report, investing in wellbeing initiatives is correlated with better employee morale, healthier, more inclusive workplaces and reduced work-related stress. That translates into an eight-fold increase in employee engagement per a World Economic Forum
Those numbers alone indicate a tremendous positive impact on the bottom line for business. However, that’s not where the story ends. Shareholders also benefit from mental fitness programmes. From 2009-2014, 45 companies with wellness programs had a 235% stock appreciation versus 159% for the S&P 500 companies.
It’s easy to dismiss what you can’t measure. But when you have hard numbers to back up why
mental fitness is important? You start a conversation that leads to action.
Mental Fitness: The Hidden Edge
The goal of mental fitness is to strengthen the mind. Yet when people talk about mental health, they still think of illness. You might have been there too, thinking, ‘It doesn’t apply to me. I’m
The issue with this is, many believe they’re fine as long as they’re not ‘ill’. The catch? The absence of illness does not equal health.
This poses an interesting challenge. Because while it’s true that many companies have wellness
or wellbeing teams that largely focus on keeping people out of the ‘illness’ phase, they’re still leaving a massive opportunity on the table.
What are the implications of practicing mental fitness in your team? Well, if you can master your thinking and your mindset, you can release confidence and unknown potential within your employees.
It is this approach that will increase the positive impact they are able to make both at home AND in work. This is a proven system that is now being adopted by some of the best-known brands in business.
In The Hidden Edge, I include an in-depth case study of Unilever as a company that has invested heavily in training and education around the idea of the ‘inner game’. Unilever is fully aware of the importance of investing in mental training. The reasoning is simple: mentally and emotionally healthy people equal resilient, happy and flexible teams. This will lead to a healthy,
One that will not only survive, but thrive in the uncertainties that 2021 presents.