Creating a Healthy Workforce: Lessons in Leadership and Innovation

A CEO with a commitment to workplace wellness is a leader worthy of praise. He or she understands that a business cannot thrive – no organization can survive – when employees suffer from acute or chronic pain.

One professional who respects this fact is Jason Ridgel, President of JUSCO Medical. The company is one of the country's top makers of durable medical equipment, including a variety of FDA-approved means of pill-free, pain management resources. There is even a portable Ph9 Alkaline Generator, which appeals separate group of health enthusiasts.

But it is the brand's FDA-approved TENS Unit that helps men and women fighting the effects of intense pain.

(The TENS Unit is a type of noninvasive nerve stimulation, while other items include a specialized back brace and a customized accessory for neck and muscle stiffness. There is also a short page where people can enter their insurance ID number to see if their insurance covers any of these products, since JUSCO accepts payment from a great many insurers.)

A CEO must learn these facts because the alternative is too costly to dismiss and morally unacceptable to ignore. Thus, he or she must know that, based on the numbers compiled by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, over 76 million people (or one in four Americans) have some form of acute pain that lasts a minimum of 24 hours.

The economic fallout is, as the statistics released by the American Academy of Pain Medicine demonstrate, painful to the financial health of businesses throughout the United States. The study approximates that the medical costs – including surgeries and prolonged hospital stays for pain care – are more than $635 million.

In this situation, a CEO's responsibility is not simply to look or act like a leader, but to speak like one, too. That means a CEO understands the seriousness of this matter, and expresses solidarity on behalf of the workers who are the lifeblood of a company.

A CEO uses his or her power to inspire and connect with employees.

Jason Ridgel proves that point, in his own way, by speaking through his site and network of consumers: He shows how one CEO can motivate a multitude of CEOs, at home and abroad, to pursue excellence and promote education on behalf of a specific cause.

The Takeaway Theme: Sympathy Sustains Success

The takeaway theme to this discussion, one that all executives can adopt for the good of their respective industries, is straightforward: Leaders who convey their sympathy, not as a cynical ploy but as a sign of sincerity, will earn the trust of workers and the goodwill of consumers.

That trust enables a business to experiment, to innovate and find new solutions to conventional and elusive problems.

A CEO can only thrive with the support – and the respect – of workers and customers alike.

Deeds speak to the integrity of that leader, while the words an executive uses (for good or ill) speak for themselves.

Wisdom separates the successful CEO from all would-be competitors because, through a combination of actions and assertions, there is no doubt where that person stands; there is no question about what that man or woman will defend, and there is no uncertainty about what that individual will do.

A leader leads, period.

Michael Shaw is an MIT-trained biochemist and former protégée of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Based in the Greater Washington (DC) Area, Michael is a frequent writer and speaker about a variety of public health issues.

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