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ashokbhatia

CEOs lead a challenging life. Apart from making and meeting long-term business goals, they face a relentless SQpressure, living from one quarter to the next. Customers have to be handled with kid gloves. Suppliers have to be kept in good humour. People have to be kept motivated at all times. Interpersonal conflicts between team members have to be sorted out. A lonely life has to be lived.

Unlike their juniors who invariably face Peer Pressure, CEOs face Pear Pressure. Some call it signs of prosperity. Some refer to it as a Battle of the Bulge. Others label it as flab around the waist.

The Battle of the Bulge

A CEO in possession of a portly disposition projects an image of a soul which has finally attained salvation and has become a super-hero of the species generally alluded to as managers. Walk into any gathering of the top dogs across most…

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ashokbhatia

The conscientious ones amongst the mandarins in the Indian Health Ministry cannot really be blamed for having sleepless nights. The epidemic of such lifestyle diseases as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular abnormalities is leaving them a wee bit clueless. The need of the hour is to come up with a scheme which nudges Indians of all sizes and shapes to start living slimmer and healthier lives.

Take obesity, for instance. As many as 60 million Indians – roughly 5% of the population – are considered obese. With more than 50 millionObesity image suffering from high blood sugar, India is a nation headed for a health tsunami the devastation caused by which would be anything but sweet. This is a grave threat to our vision of the country reaping a hefty demographic dividend in the years to come.

How do we motivate the Indian couch potatoes to switch off their TV sets…

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CEOs lead a challenging life. Apart from making and meeting long-term business goals, they face a relentless SQpressure, living from one quarter to the next. Customers have to be handled with kid gloves. Suppliers have to be kept in good humour. People have to be kept motivated at all times. Interpersonal conflicts between team members have to be sorted out. A lonely life has to be lived.

Unlike their juniors who invariably face Peer Pressure, CEOs face Pear Pressure. Some call it signs of prosperity. Some refer to it as a Battle of the Bulge. Others label it as flab around the waist.

The Battle of the Bulge

A CEO in possession of a portly disposition projects an image of a soul which has finally attained salvation and has become a super-hero of the species generally alluded to as managers. Walk into any gathering of the top dogs across most professions and one would be convinced that bosses are generally more portly than their bossed-over managers.

The smarter the top boss, the more he is likely to make his team members run around achieving targets. In the process, the juniors end up getting flatter tummies, a much-coveted attribute. In turn, hard-working subordinates often end up making their bosses lazier, with the latter ending up with convex-shaped protrusions in their midriffs.

Over 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight. Of these, some 600 million are further classified as obese. How does this come about? Lack of exercise is said to be the main culprit. Stress is yet another. Genetic factors take a part of the blame. Long working hours leading to lesser workouts get blamed.Exercise 1

Of decision-making and waistlines

Recently, a study by Australian universities has ended up linking decision-making to higher Body Mass Index.

According to researchers, people whose work days require constant decision-making are at greater risk of expanded waistlines. Conversely, workers who exercise control by regularly applying their skills to their jobs — known as skill discretion — were found to have lower Body Mass Index and a smaller waist size.

In other words, the researchers conclude that it is skinny people who are most often good at what they do and enjoy using their skills. However, those who have the power to make decisions are distinctly wider around the middle.

This justifies the derisive term Fat Cats often used to refer to those who control the levers of business. Admittedly, larger waistlines are perhaps a consequence of the CEOs’ sedentary job requirements instead of being the reason for their elevation to decision-making levels.

Perhaps further studies may reveal that weighty decisions need personal countervailing ballast in order to be balanced. It sounds as if power ends up making business leaders more expansive.

Beyond the Peter Principle

Concerned CEOs may wish further research to be designed in such a way as to establish the veracity of some Peters_principle.svgprinciples of the following kind:

1. A manager’s waistline is directly proportional to his position in any decision-making hierarchy.

2.  According to the Peter Principle, in any organization, employees rise to their level of incompetence. Further studies could confirm if their rise is also linked to the propensity of their bodies to achieve the maximum girth permitted by their constitution.

3.  Depending upon their Body Mass Index and the waistline, successful CEOs could be classified into three categories.
Potato CEOs: Those who have dazzled with their performance in the good old days. They have outgrown   the stage of feeling Pear Pressure.
Pear CEOs: Those who are currently guiding teams and delivering reasonably good results. The hapless souls are yet to come to terms with their pear-shaped midriffs.
Banana CEOs: Those who are good at planning as well as execution. They aspire to attain the status of Peer CEOs, without their bariatric blues.

4. For Potato CEOs, Pear CEOs are objects of envy. Likewise, Pear CEOs, howsoever reassured they might sound, secretly aspire to be like Banana CEOs, with concave-shaped bellies.

5. A hypothesis that can be put to test would be if the rate of rise in a hierarchy determines the rate of increase in waistlines.

6. All these propositions need to be cross-validated across different cultures and societies.

Such studies would enrich the science of Hierarchiology. These would be highly useful for head hunters as well as for Human Resource professionals. The insights gained thus would enable managers of all sizes and shapes to improve their quality of life.

Pear Pressure in organizations

Ironically, what is true of individual CEOs is also true of organizations.

The very successful and dynamic ones indulge in frequent bariatric surgeries and ensure that their midriffs remainZOO ORGANIZATIONS under strict control. They are acutely aware of Pear Pressure and have checks and balances in place to avoid carrying excessive flab.

The mediocre ones end up accumulating flab in the middle. At every success, they end up hiring more people than is necessary. At every failure, they undergo a liposuction procedure. They have learnt the art of managing Pear Pressure.

The not-so-successful organizations have the highest Body Mass Index. They are replete with massive layers in their hierarchies. Their processes are bogged down with archaic procedures. Most public sector undertakings are shining examples of this kind.

This is THE challenge all CEOs need to fight single-handedly. They have to wage a relentless war on adipose tissue of all kinds. Unless they decide to take the matter in their own hands, literally as well as metaphorically, the excess belly fat – whether on their own personas or in their organizations – would refuse to melt away.

(Reference: http://www.theweek.in/news/sci-tech/how-your-job-could-be-influencing-your-waistline-study.html)

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The conscientious ones amongst the mandarins in the Indian Health Ministry cannot really be blamed for having sleepless nights. The epidemic of such lifestyle diseases as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular abnormalities is leaving them a wee bit clueless. The need of the hour is to come up with a scheme which nudges Indians of all sizes and shapes to start living slimmer and healthier lives.

Take obesity, for instance. As many as 60 million Indians – roughly 5% of the population – are considered obese. With more than 50 millionObesity image suffering from high blood sugar, India is a nation headed for a health tsunami the devastation caused by which would be anything but sweet. This is a grave threat to our vision of the country reaping a hefty demographic dividend in the years to come.

How do we motivate the Indian couch potatoes to switch off their TV sets and go out for a jog or a brisk walk? What is it that makes Indians tick?

One, all Indians have a great passion for gold. We are quite happy gobbling up around 900 tonnes of the yellow metal every year. Walk into any jewelry store and the rush there would make you wonder if someone inside is dishing out freebies. You would be excused for mistaking it for a fish market, albeit with an odorless soothing ambience where the sales people smell of perfume but are too busy to attend to your needs immediately. One thing we have surely learnt from our Gulf friends is to build multi-storied malls where a dazzling variety of bangles, rings, pendants, chains and other accessories are on display, each on an exclusive floor of its own. After all, aeons back, India was known as a ‘bird of gold’!

Two, like many of our brethren elsewhere on this planet, we despise paying taxes. In a country of 120 billions, where automakers face a slump but luxury cars still sell like hot cakes, less than 3% pay any tax on their incomes. Of these, merely 1.3% report an income exceeding Rs. 2 millions per annum. A Pareto’s Law is in operation here as well – these 1.3% alone make up for about 63% of the taxes collected! Come budget time, and our collective BP levels go up. The hapless salaried class, a sitting duck in any case, hopes for a tweaking of Section 80C etc. The businessmen keep improvising their art of fudging expenses year after year and still suffer from indigestion and insomnia. Corporates have a battery of professionally qualified people assisting them in tax planning, a euphemism for tax evasion being portrayed as tax avoidance.

The Government of India would do well to capitalize on these widespread weaknesses of Indians and launch a slew of incentives andgold bars schemes which nudge Indians of all hues to start living healthier lives. Dubai has already shown the way by deciding to lure its citizens to lose weight in kilograms and gain ounces of gold. India can improve upon the scheme and link weight loss of its citizens to tax savings as well. A carrot and stick approach based on a single health parameter which is easily measurable (like Body Mass Index, or BMI in short, for example) could be an instant hit with the masses.

The scheme can reward people whose BMI is in the normal range. They can hope to get 5 gms of gold plus a rebate of 10% on the taxes payable each financial year. Those who have a BMI in the obese or super-obese range can be made to pay a 10% surcharge on their taxes. Those who are underweight can be given extra rations in the proposed Food Security Bill. A scheme of this kind would surely motivate Indian citizens to start jogging, walking and refusing to become couch potatoes. Those who sustain fitness for longer periods can merit extra incentives. If they do not provide fitness certificates annually for a period of 5 years, there could be an obligation to return the gold thus earned. This would ensure that having pocketed their new-found wealth, the beneficiaries would not start piling up their pounds of flesh once again.

The spin-offs of such a scheme are many. Students, if given grace marks for being healthier, would certainly switch their lunch preferences in favor of salads, nuts and fruits, giving up on burgers and pizzas. Those opting for fitness-based careers would find their employment prospects brightening up. Our armed forces would no longer have to face a shortage of officers wanting to join its ranks. The additional supply of sports persons shall improve the country’s medal tally prospects in Olympics. Engineers and professionals of all kinds would start refusing white collar jobs, providing much-needed manpower for blue collared assignments. Medicos will start taking careers in public health more seriously.

Most of our denizens who have been happier staying out of the tax net would voluntarily start filing returns. The IT Department may soongym eqpmt image need to beef up its facilities to cope with the mad rush of filing returns, what with the humble paan-waalahs, the washermen and the milk delivery men also jumping onto the bandwagon. The rush for gym equipment, health monitoring accessories and healthy foods would increase manifold, bringing in fresh investments, thereby giving a much needed fillip to the ailing manufacturing sector. Bollywood stars who are already egging us on to remain in good shape would get a fresh lease of life. The just-to-be-married maidens who are fighting the battle of the bulge and chasing their size ‘zero’ dreams would soon start earning a part of their own dowry.

Politicians who remain cocooned in their climate controlled environs may soon decide to visit their constituencies more often, losing weight while walking through the heat and dust of the countryside. A healthy body houses a healthy mind. Soon, the citizens could expect a major improvement in the functioning of our parliamentary institutions. Bureaucrats would soon follow the healthier lifestyles of their leaders, thereby revitalizing a crucial part of our vibrant democracy.

Where is the infrastructure to implement a scheme of this nature, you might well ask. With inclusive banking just round the corner, postcouch potato offices, banks and hospitals of repute can certify the BMI levels of our citizens. P&T staff members who are twiddling their thumbs in the post-telegram era can be trained and used in the scheme. The excess outflow of foreign exchange on account of spurt in gold imports would be easily offset by the higher productivity of the working population of India. This in turn would give a boost to the much sought after GDP numbers, besides inching us conceptually closer to a Gross Happiness Product.

Overall, a win-win situation for all concerned. For all you know, India could prove to be the healthiest country on the planet in the near future!

(Realted Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/a-new-year-resolution-for-couch-potatoes)

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