An Open Letter to Your CEO

Matt speaking

Does your workplace make you happy? Do you know what your business’ most valuable asset is? Human Capacity Expert and Author Matt Johnson does…and it’s time for leaders to take note.

Are you doing enough to take care of your greatest asset?

Almost all workplaces say that their PEOPLE are the most valuable asset, but the data is telling us we are not doing the best job protecting this asset and definitely not growing it.

“50% of the workforce considers their workplace to be the #1 source of stress and dysfunction in their life”

My letter is to your CEO, C-Suite and Leadership–it’s time to create a better people strategy, a better business strategy, one that can help the organization reach it’s full potential!

What would happen if your workplace became the #1 source of positivity in your people’s life?

As I sit down to write this, my mind is moving faster than my computer…seriously my computer is running extremely slow. All the apps, emails and files are bogging down my computer. Technology is so amazing, but lately it doesn’t feel like it makes me more efficient, more productive, or, more importantly, happier. This is the same thing I hear inside organizations every day, but we we have to rely on technology every second of every day.

I think back to my flip phone and actually having to be at my computer to respond to emails and instant messages. So, what does this have to do with the CEO and Executives roles in a better workplace and culture? Keep Reading…

We have to change, and we have to do it fast. The way we are leading and managing our people is not keeping pace. Your PEOPLE’S most valuable asset is their health…but this is not a business strategy for most CEO’s!

The irony is, if we make our workers happier and healthier, our organizations will be more profitable and innovative!

Here is my love note of sorts to CEO’s and Executive Management–who actually control this outcome more then they think:

Trust me, I know you have other priorities and demands, but unless this becomes part of your business strategy, you will never have an organization that reaches its true potential. Don’t hand this off to someone else…

3 Challenges:

1.     The #Hustle Movement:

As a kid my favorite sport was basketball and you can sum up my style with one word “HUSTLER” –I was always considered the kid who hustled. I ran as hard as possible on every play, I had the stamina and endurance that would make you tired just watching, and I remember loving the role of doing what others didn’t want to. Hustling in sports means you try hard. Today, I still take pride in hustling…including work. I also want my team to hustle, be hungry and work with a purpose…the problem is this message has another side–a side that is being worn like a badge of honor.

The flip side to the word hustle can mean fraud or swindle, “you just got hustled” that person is a hustler and is shady. This meaning insinuates that you shortcut someone or something to better yourself. Many organizations are short-cutting their people in an effort to grow and profit.

Everywhere you look–podcasts, social media, even biographies of the MOST SUCCESSFUL people, boast about the need for people to work longer hours, sleep less and pour more energy into their work. Last I checked, we are working more, sleeping less and have never had worse mental health.

Let’s stop creating an environment where people feel they have to wake up at 4:00 am or respond to emails at 1:01 am from a computer or phone the organization bought for them. Does providing your people a laptop really improve quality and productivity? I would argue not! What if your people truly hustled during their work day, but not by putting in more time, but better time with more #ENERGY and #FOCUS!

2.     Manufactured Energy:

The USA has a rich tradition of manufacturing and it is definitely having a comeback in a positive way. But there is one type of manufacturing that is not as positive. It’s called Manufactured Energy. This is when humans try to create false energy when they are tired, dragging and need a boost. Have you seen the commercials for energy drinks that label humans like machines running on battery power. If the batteries get low, they suggest you guzzle an energy drink to get back to 100%. We manufacture energy a multitude of different ways–coffee, caffeine, energy drinks, stimulants and “illegal” drugs.

Think about this:

Energy Drinks are a 55 Billion Dollar Global Business…who is drinking these and why? It’s a good chance your people are. I have even seen these in the workplace vending machines. If the need for energy is this desperate, I can guarantee we are not performing at our best inside and definitely not outside of work.

But, is it your role to help people increase their ENERGY? Yes, if you want your people to have good energy.

“What is your energy strategy? Is it a KPI?”

Now for the taboo conversation. There are drugs that are being abused right under your nose for people to keep up and to help them move up inside your organization. Do you know this?

Adderall is one of the most abused substances in the workplace. It’s used to help people work longer, harder and with more focus. It is estimated that 5 million adults take it illegally without a prescription and another 12 million are prescribed it for treating ADHD. Does your leadership team know this? Heck, I worked with the founder of multi-billion-dollar company who took it every day as a “smart drug”–not smart!

Now before you get into the debate that some people have a medical condition and need it and it is not your role to play doctor, I agree. Don’t play doctor, don’t tell people what to do. But as someone who was diagnosed with ADHD, I have found that life is better if you don’t rely on medications. The truth is most of us have not learned the skill of focus and energy management. We need to teach this if we expect it!

Bottom line, your people’s energy is their most precious commodity and your competitive advantage. We are all in such a hurry that we are fixated on time and will sacrifice our true energy to shortcut the way the mind and body was designed to create energy.

Simple Energy Strategy: Create a culture that trains your people how to REST | EAT | MOVE…this is how humans build true energy!

*More on this on our website

3.     Healthcare = Opportunity

Employer healthcare spending is so wasteful. The 2nd highest cost inside large organizations is usually not a part of the Chief Executive Officer’s strategy. This is crazy to me. Group Healthcare was created during World War II as a way to attract talent and offer a differentiator. Today group or employer-sponsored healthcare is around ~80% of the total spend. ~$3 trillion!

The sad truth is our health and the cost for health care are not going in the same direction. The cost continues to rise, yet our health outcomes are getting worse.

You can have the mindset that this is for your benefits team, insurance provider or agents to figure out. Or that this is your opportunity to be better than the rest. Hopefully you have sensed the business case to invest in your peoples’ health as a business strategy. Nothing is more obvious when you think about Healthcare. . . look at what Amazon, Berkshire and JP Morgan did.


We know that most prescription drugs cost are lifestyle related, we know that our people perform better when they are healthier and we know that stress is causing close to 70% of all medical expenditures in our country. So what if your people strategy helped people get healthier and your business strategy is to invest in your people so that the organization can reach its true potential?

I will predict that by 2025 we will not be providing employer-sponsored health insurance in the same way we are today…unless the product improves, cost goes down and we learn how to rate it correctly.

  • What if your healthcare spend went down 10% by 2020?
  • What if you people’s energy went up by 10%?
  • What if your organization was the #1 source of positive influence in your people’s life?

I think you would have an organization that will accomplish what its core purpose is without the limitation of your people’s capacity.

Bottom Line

There are so many amazing, innovative and caring organizations/leaders in our world, but as the desire to do more with less continues to grow it is now where we have to put the human back into our vocabulary. I believe the CEO and Executive Management has an opportunity to make this a business strategy so his/her: HR, Benefits, CLO, Chief People Officer, Sales Managers and other leaders can create the outcome the organization needs and wants.

What is your human performance strategy? How are you building ENERGY in your people? Is this part of your overall business strategy? If people are your most valuable asset…I believe this is more important than ever.

“Help me, help you” -Jerry Maguire


Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson is the Co-Author of the book, CAPACITY, and the President of On Target Living, the world’s leading authority on Human Capacity Training. Matt is a sought after Keynote Speaker specializing in unlocking high performance, driving engagement, and empowering leaders by radically expanding their human capacity. 

The Well Blog comes from a universal belief in the power of words, and their proven ability to help change lives and to lead, work and live better.

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