by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Editor’s note: This isn’t an endorsement or denouncement of Donald Trump; please, no hate mail.

If you’re following campaigns for the Presidential primaries, chances are you’ve a strong opinion on one or more candidates. Regardless of your views, there are lessons to be learned from poll-leading Republican, The Donald:

  • Make a grand entrance. Late-night mockery notwithstanding, can you recall a single other candidate’s presidential campaign announcement this year? Wellness needs a bit more spectacle and not just another quarterly email announcement or web posting.
  • Tell it like it is. Whether you agree with his “is” or not, you get the sense he’s not reading from a script, and neither should wellness managers. Spinning the difficulty of health behavior change to make it sound “easy” is one of the dumber things happening in wellness.
  • Have an opinion. Just 30 seconds into any interview confirms Trump’s unvarnished opinion on any topic. In some overly sanitized corporate environments strong opinions are frowned upon, particularly when they’re countering convention. But if you think paying people to get healthy is a bad idea, say so — early, often, and loudly.
  • Be surprising. Unlike the other Republican candidates, who seem to blend together, Trump rarely lets a day pass without some grand pronouncement. While you may not want to take it as far, part of the media and public fascination is what will he say next? What will you do or say next? If your audience has heard it before, you’ll blend in too.

Okay. I’m ready…


# Bev Benda 2015-10-14 13:40
Dean: your headline got my attention and it turned out to be an excellent read! It is so true. Whether one is a fan of Donald Trump or not, he is all of those things - he does not mince words, nor does he allow anyone to influence his opinion. In wellness, it is so easy to "tread lightly" out of fear of offending the healthcare industry, food industry, the fitness industry, worksites, etc. We must be honest and tell the truth. I'm a registered dietitian and I don't weigh people or use the BMI in my private practice. Shocking to some, yes - but 30 years of experience tells me it hurts, rather than helps people. That's my "Donald Trump" to the world.
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# Dean Witherspoon 2015-10-14 14:44
So refreshing to hear that, Bev. It makes me sad when I hear about organizations rewarding/punis hing people based on BMI. It's like we've lost all common sense.
Thanks for commenting.
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# Maria 2015-10-13 22:22
I truly believe that there is something positive to learn from everything we see, hear, and do - good, bad, or indifferent. I think you did a great job picking out the things that you feel we need when it comes to advocating wellness in the universe. And while I will keep my opinions of the Donald to myself, I agree with the four points that you made. I have been in the wellness industry for 30 years and one thing that I have learned is that there are many opportunities to live and be well in this world, we just don’t know about half of them because they are not marketed effectively. Thus the opportunities fizzle out and disappear. We don’t stand out, and thus we are often run over by those who are more bold and more outspoken. Great job!
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# Dean Witherspoon 2015-10-14 12:38
Thanks for the remarks, Marla. "fizzle out and disappear..." is one of my biggest frustrations in wellness -- too often we fail to capitalize on successes.
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# Lisa 2015-10-13 22:12
This is not hate mail but I was astonished to read the headline. I have a background in social work so I know what I am speaking about regarding this subject. My opinion is you can still make your points but not compare it to The Donald. He is an arrogant, narcissistic, grandiose person. You are just capitalizing on his candidacy and he is not going to get the nomination. He must have had some childhood to have the need to say things the way he does. Come on, I'm going to be great! He can say this to himself as human resources professionals can say this to ourselves, to have a positive approach to our work, but not on national TV. I can say more but I won't. One can be different and come up with an interesting way to present things that is tolerable.
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# Dean Witherspoon 2015-10-14 12:40
Guilty. I was capitalizing on his candidacy in a shameless attempt to make a point.
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# Sallie 2015-10-14 14:56
Dean, I am ok with you capitalizing on "The Donald." Wellness professionals need a good wake up call and we have always been very good at "borrowing" from others so why not here? Whether you like him or not was not the point. The point is he does stand out from the crowd and we need to make wellness stand out also. Don't worry about "political correctness." Its killing our industry!
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# Dean Witherspoon 2015-10-14 16:24
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# Cheryl 2015-10-13 21:44
Spot on, Dean. Love him or hate him, there is indeed much to be learned from this and you've nailed some good examples. One thing is for sure, you always know where he stands on any issue. We could all do a much better job of that alone instead of all the waffling that goes on.
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# Dean Witherspoon 2015-10-14 12:42
Thank you, Cheryl. I agree that waffling is one of the things that holds wellness programs and managers back.
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