Lean is the new black for the corporate fast track

Business-suit-gym-fitness-295x480As if there weren't enough personal reasons to stay fit, a new study shows that leaders with larger waistlines and higher body mass index readings are seen by co-workers as less effective, both in terms of performance and interpersonal communications.

Yes, Virginia, the bigger you are, the less likely you are to be the big man (or woman) on the corporate campus, says the Center for Creative Leadership.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's success notwithstanding, obese executives don't so very well when compared to their fitter peers. Our lives have become so stressful and the 24×7 demands of the workplace so intense that employees now believe a fit, trim boss is better prepared to handle the mental and emotional demands that go hand-in-glove with a C-Suite title.

Barry Posner, a leadership professor at Santa Clara University's Leavy School of Business, says he can't name a single overweight Fortune 500 CEO. And, neither can I.

Lean is the new black for the corporate fast track. And, in my opinion, that's a very good thing. A balanced diet and intense, regular exercise has produced numerous professional benefits for me, including:

- Dealing better with stress
- Cleansing my mind and soul
- Re-charging me in a way a weekend on a beach or a bottle of sauvignon blanc never could.

I'm fortunate to be addicted to exercise. And, I keep a close watch on my diet as well. But, I spy many, many obese executives as I travel to my various business meetings. And, while I've never discounted them or their abilities, I have wondered why these aspiring fast-trackers didn't take better care of themselves.

Now, with the CCL results in hand, we have proof positive that a sedentary lifestyle and a steady diet of Mickey D cheeseburgers is the corporate equivalent of a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

In addition to all the other qualities Millennials, Gen Xers and Gen Yers must possess in order to grab the brass ring, they now need to get off the couch, put down that supersized Coke and beginning trimming up ASAP.

So, let's get going: Drop and give me 25, now!

2 thoughts on “Lean is the new black for the corporate fast track

  1. Even with technological advances, many companies keep their employees chained to their desks. Consequently, these worker bees wolf down unhealthy lunches within 15 minutes while staring at their computers.
    Although most large companies have “wellness” programs that include discounted gym memberships, many employees don’t have the time (or energy) to take advantage of them. It’s a vicious cycle of burn-out and unbalanced lifestyles.

  2. Great point. We’ve instituted a range of wellness programs and fitness fairs to avoid exactly what you’re describing, Julie. But, it’s a two-way street. Only a certain percentage of our employees show any interest in being lean, mean fighting machines. C’est la vie.