Sunday, April 19, 2009
What do French and Spanish Leaders look like?
One part of my job that I particularly appreciate is the time I get to spend with Weight Watchers leaders and receptionists from around the world (it sounds a little cliche, but its true). I have had the pleasure of sitting in Weight Watchers meetings in the US (where I lost my weight), Australia, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Spain. That does not even cover all of our countries.
I always find it interesting that even when I do not understand the language (almost all instances outside of English), I can follow the meeting. The way the Leader runs her meeting, the cadence, and the feeling are all incredibly similar. French meetings are very much like Spanish meetings which are like American meetings. When it comes to weight management, people are people. We are much more alike than we are different.
I also spend a good bit of time now conducting Town Hall meetings with staff from around the world. I recently had a chance to do this in France and Spain. I had a chance to share our vision for the company, and my thoughts on the obesity issue and what to do about it.
Our Leaders and Receptionists then had the chance to pepper me with questions. In some organizations, employees can be reticent to ask questions, let along tough questions. Not our organization. Weight Watchers staff are remarkably confident, free-spirited, opinionated and (understatement) extroverted people. They would not care if I was the King of Siam, let alone the president of Weight Watchers. They do not hold back, but they always engage with a characteristically positive energy even when being tough.
I thrive on the interaction, and I can only hope they get half as much from a Town Hall that I do. It's the best way I know to get a real sense of the pulse of the organization and the key issues we need to overcome. It's also an opportunity to meet and spend time with a truly special group of people.
This first shot is from the Town Hall in Paris.
This one is from the Town Hall in Barcelona (I'm the goofy guy in the middle, and that's Jordi Pous, our GM for Spain, on the left).
For fun, I am also attaching a picture from a recently opened Weight Watchers center in the city of Mataro, about 20 miles up the coast from Barcelona.