Nine members of our sales team met a wildly important goal this year: They lost 121 pounds.
Last fall, Andy Ramspott, Director of GSM Operations — NA Region, was inspired to make changes after his Numbers@Work health screening results were “not as lovely” as he would like. He and his colleague Mike Hermann started a friendly weight-loss competition with a unique wager. “I’m a Vikings fan and he’s a Packers fan and the loser was going to have to wear the other guy’s football jersey,” said Andy. Fortunately, both men met their goals and never had to pay up. But it sparked an idea.
At a staff meeting, Andy shared his new focus on diet, exercise and weight loss. He announced they were starting round two of the challenge and asked if anyone wanted to join. Nine people—just over half of this team—signed up.
“I joined because Andy had great progress in his first round, and he encouraged me to participate,” said Kurt Rosenberg, Director North America OEM business. “I’m glad I did. I’ve lost 20 pounds.”
For Jane Barr, Vice President of the Eastern Sales Region, the timing was perfect. She had listed “get healthy” as a goal on her personal PADR and thought the challenge could help. “As a working mom of two young boys, health, well-being and energy are so important,” she said. “I joined for the mutual accountability, and it was just what I needed. I tell Andy once a week that he changed my life.”
The Spring Slim-Down Competition ran from January through March. Participants set what the sales team calls a “WIG,” a wildly important goal, to lose five to 15 pounds by monitoring their steps and calories. “We met every week and talked about how you did against steps and calories and reported out on their weight change. And we’d update a graph of our progress and share that,” said Andy.
“The cool thing is we really got into making sure we got a lot of steps in,” said Andy. “When many of us have a meeting, we’d say, ‘Is there any reason we need to sit in an office? Can we walk and talk?’ A lot of times, if we’re at a break in a staff meeting, we’ll say, ‘Hey, let’s go for a few laps.’ And several people will walk and talk on conference calls.”
“Our walking meetings have provided a unique way to inspire energized and engaging discussions, proving far more efficient and effective than sitting across the office desk,” said Jane. “You’re walking side by side, moving in a common direction and often providing creative issue resolution and stronger alignment.”
Walking became such a regular activity that participants frequently brought walking shoes to the office. “All of us have a Fitbit or other tracking device, and several of us track our progress in the Step It Up challenge,” said Andy. All that walking helped him reach Step It Up’s 1.4 million-step goal in three months and drop 45 pounds along the way.
“We’ve also ordered healthier meals at our meetings, and we tend to make better choices,” he said. “None of us did anything radical. It’s just math—calories in and calories out. We’re just watching the calories coming in and making sure we’re burning more on a regular basis.”
“For me, understanding calories was key to losing weight,” said Kurt. “I’m also exercising daily. I track all my activities in my stepper program and what I eat in MyFitnessPal [a free calorie counter app].”
It was a simple process that yielded great results. “I’ve lost 14 pounds,” said Jane. “I’ve seen positives in all areas: I have higher energy, lower stress, an inspired attitude and my clothes fit better.”
“Another important outcome,” she continued, “is how this has affected my husband. He’s lost 42 pounds, motivated by our team’s success.”
Supporting Each Other
In addition to the weight loss, participants like the accountability and encouragement. “I like the group support and pressure to eat less and move more,” Kurt noted, adding that it’s common for members to share tips for eating healthy while traveling for business.
“I truly enjoyed the camaraderie,” added Jane. “The weekly calls drove the accountability, but also the support and best practice sharing, such as how to manage working out while managing a rigorous travel schedule and long hours.”
Along with the support comes some taunting. “We have a lot of razzing going on via text and email,” said Andy. “Jane will pull her steps graph up on her smartphone, put it in my window to show me where she is and say, ‘Where you at?’ We do stuff like that.”
That razzing continues as the group—which has now grown to 11 people—is in the middle of round three of the challenge. Best of all, they’ve adopted healthy habits that go beyond the challenge, create a healthier work environment and contribute to better health. And that’s also wildly important.
First photo (l to r): Joe Bartolomeo (Vice President, Central Region), Jane Barr, Kurt Rosenberg and Andy Ramspott.
Second photo (l to r): Kurt Rosenberg, Jane Barr, Andy Ramspott and Joe Bartolomeo occasionally hold meetings on Milwaukee’s indoor walking track.