First, they take your blood.
That's when you know this is serious. Blood chemistry--followed by a healthy breakfast--is the first item of business for corporate athletes in the initial stage, Face the Truth, of the Full Engagement Training System at LGE Performance Systems.
The blood analysis reveals your cholesterol levels and other data; later, they measure your body fat composition in the Bod Pod, a capsule that measures air displacement, and you have to don a bathing suit. So far, it doesn't sound like the typical corporate training program, does it? The reason for the physical assessment is because "Physical" is the foundation of the Full Engagement Model pyramid; the other components of the pyramid are Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. You can't achieve full engagement--in your work, in your life--if you don't have reserves of physical energy to draw from.
I went to LGE Performance Systems in Orlando, Florida, as part participant, part reporter. But staying strictly in the role of observer became untenable; the program just hits you in too many personal places. Talk about Face the Truth. I had suspected that I'd become disengaged in some aspects of my life, but in Orlando I couldn't deny or rationalize that fact any longer. I saw the same realization to different degrees come over the 13 official participants during the two and one-half days. Soberin yes, but the experience was also enlightening, rejuvenating, and even fun.
The Full Engagement Training System grew from the insights of Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, senior partners and principals of LGE Performance Systems, and Jack Groppel in his 2000 book, The Corporate Athlete. Loehr, a performance psychologist, has coached hundreds of professional athletes, including tennis player Monica Seles and Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen. Loehr began to think that corporate executives are under even more brutal competitive pressures than professional athletes. In point of fact, we are all athletes
"Think about it," says Loehr. "Athletes train and compete, but then have downtime in which to recuperate. And their careers are shorter than those of business executives. Corporate leaders are expected to sustain a high level of performance for 30 or more years, with little downtime."
No wonder more and more people are feeling a loss of energy and a lack of engagement in their work and personal lives, notes Loehr. A 2002 Gallup poll found that 75 percent of employees are not engaged and the cost of active disengagement to U.S. organizations is in excess of US$250 billion.
Why is this so?
Poor time management, right? Wrong, according to Loehr. Disengagement stems from insufficient capacity and poor energy management. Thus, the objective of the Full Engagement Training System is to build and sustain capacity to perform in high-stress environments and to improve energy management skills, individually and organizationally. Participants have included FBI swat teams, critical care health practitioners, thousands and homemakers. My open-enrollment program brought together salespeople in pharmaceuticals and real estate, a retired lawyer, a newspaper publisher, an editor of a top business magazine, a self-described "recovering psychologist turned management consultant," and Devi, a yoga instructor who teaches in the program. Their reasons for being there forged a theme:
* "I'm the primary earner and care giver in my family. I have no downtime."
* "I have four different job titles. I tend to be over the top and don't know how to pull back."
* "I need energy output to meet the pace and demands of my clients."
* "I have two young sons and want to be an example of balance."
* "I've been in a startup situation that's now successful, and I'm contemplating my next move. I feel scattered."…