Fat Smoker Principles: Lessons from the Weight-Loss Industry
post # 417 — August 7, 2007 — a Strategy and the Fat Smoker post
This is one of my regular posts based on my forthcoming book STRTATEGY AND THE FAT SMOKER (available in late October or early November.)
The core argument of the book is that, in both business and personal life, we know what to do, why we should do it and how to do it, but that doesn’t mean we do what’s good for us in the long term.
The parallel between the market for business advice and the weight-loss industry fascinates me. We have in most countries a huge industry which basically doesn’t have much to say except “eat less exercize more.” Is there really any difference between Jennie Craig and Weight Watchers except the psychology of the process you voluntarily put yourself in, in order to provide structure to what you know you should be doing anyaway. Why do weight loss books sell so well? Why is everyone looking for the latest fad diet?
And..here’s the punchline.. given the lessons from the weight loss industry, what does that teach you if you’re a manager? A consultant? An employee?
Liz Zitzow said:
When I first married, my husband was a tubby smoker and I had a nonprofitable business in the arts. My husband is now slim and nonsmoking, and my current non-arts business is comfortably profitable.
The usual motivation to lose weight or stop smoking is a far-off benefit of prolonged life. The usual motivation to run one’s business more profitably is the immediate desire for more cash in pocket today (or at least very soon). It’s not surprising that nonprofitable businesses effect change more readily than fat smokers do. Making the benefits of change immediate and tangible is the main challenge for people looking to motivate the fat smoker and the nonprofitable business. The trick is to turn long-term goals into a series of short-term wins.
posted on August 7, 2007