Well the CEO CookOff date is getting closer with terrifying speed and more and more I think about the positive impact this initiative could have on young people, their overall health plus the real help it could give to individuals who are going through excessively challenging times.

Yesterday I completed a day three of my Personal Leadership Programme and, as always, I am truly blown away by what a group of ten senior leaders have achieved in three weeks and how many lives they have positively impacted.

I believe that what Ronni Khan and now Jamie Oliver are achieving is, in really simple terms, leadership at every level.  For me, leadership is fundamentally about three things:

  • How we choose to think
  • Understanding responsibility at a profoundly deeper level
  • Communication

Surely this is what needs to happen with this initiative.  There can be the best planning and re-education in the world about the importance of great nutrition for health and well-being but, if each and every individual does not take full responsibility and ownership for the choices they now make then I would suggest that this education will achieve limited results.

If a young person has the belief that making these new choices is going to be difficult because of various reasons – the school doesn’t support the project, no one at home eats this way, it is more expensive etc. etc. – then whether that belief is useful or not, that individual will look for evidence to support that belief.  No matter how much we then do our best to tell them how important this is, we are in effect, telling them that they are not capable of thinking for themselves, we have to do it for them! I am utterly convinced that it really isn’t possible to change another person’s belief, you can only change your behaviour and hope that this may influence them to change it for themselves.  Communicating differently and asking questions to enable them to challenge their own thinking allows them to think afresh and take ownership for their choices.  With over 45,000 people having been through this programme, so pretty well researched, there is no doubt in my mind that for this initiative to really have the amazing impact that it could, leadership will be key.  To say again:

  • How we think
  • Responsibility
  • Communication

So... the closer we get to March 21st the more curious I am as to how the next steps will be played out.  Getting it right will mean that the impact on our young people and on the health of our country will be amazing.  I cannot remember the exact quote (senior moment!) and it is along the lines of ‘catch them a fish and feed them for a meal, teach them how to fish and feed them for a lifetime.’  Let’s teach them how to fish!

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