Three Pillars builds strong fitness foundation

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Jeff Grady of Three Pillars Technology Solutions, which is competing in the team challenge. Grady’s co-workers Michael Batz, Michael Parsons, and Melissa Wagner round out the team.

It seems that a common theme for many of the IB Get Fit Challenge participants’ initial blogs has been the question of WHY they decided to participate — in other words, what was the motivation?

The team at Three Pillars consists of Michael Batz, Michael Parsons, Melissa Wagner, and me. (Three M’s and a J, if anyone’s counting.) I’m sure we all had our own personal motivations for joining the challenge, and while I won’t speak for the rest of the team, I will say that mine were largely triggered by a number of personal “life events.” I reached and crossed over the magic 6-0 (age 60) threshold this past year, which to my way of thinking means I’m just starting to reach advanced middle age. And while my emotional age still resides, more often than not, back in my 20s and 30s (and maybe younger, if you ask my wife) I have noticed more frequent muscular aches and pains that I don’t recall from years past.

My wife and I also just shared the joyful experience of becoming grandparents for the first time this January, and let me tell you, having a grandchild and holding him in your arms is an instant smile generator. It’s also very emotionally energizing, and it made me realize that I want to be able to stay as fit as possible so I can share those outdoor hikes and run up those hills with our new grandson as he grows up. So my motivations are pretty simple and powerful all at the same time — in order to reduce those nagging aches and pains and share as much fun as possible with my grandchildren, I have to achieve and maintain a better state of overall fitness, and the In Business Get Fit Challenge is my start.

As for the company-wide motivations, there were several. Three Pillars, while made up of a team of professionals with years of experience, is itself a relatively new business. Indeed, it was a little over a year ago that we were the featured new business in the pages of In Business magazine (see “A Concrete Decision”).

As almost anyone who’s had the experience can attest, starting a new business presents a unique set of challenges. Those challenges are typically made easier when you have a good team surrounding you, and we’re fortunate to have such a team at Three Pillars. Maintaining a good team requires ongoing care and attention, which means maintaining good, open, and positive lines of communication and finding ways to create a positive environment to foster and encourage that communication. While keeping the client satisfied and happy is always our prime directive at Three Pillars, I’m also a big believer in not taking life or business too seriously and having fun while at work, so we’re always on the lookout for activities to encourage and maintain good office morale, and the IB Get Fit Challenge seemed to offer a solid “two for one” benefit. We all have an opportunity to get in better shape and can do so while enjoying the spirit of competition among ourselves and others.



We live and work in a competitive world, and it’s hard to get ahead by just coasting along, either in life or in business. And we definitely don’t want to just “coast along” at Three Pillars; we’d rather be ahead of the pack. To achieve success in business or any other pursuit, you have to set goals, and while you don’t ever want to micromanage people, you can’t be afraid to establish metrics and measure your progress, or lack thereof, in achieving those goals. Or as I like to say, you can’t be afraid to look at the numbers.

Numbers don’t lie; they are what they are. You can and should have explanations for why those numbers are what they are, but after all is said and done, you have to face those numbers and deal with them. So at Three Pillars, we have set our goals, and now we step on the scale every Monday and Friday.

Yes, sometimes we don’t like what we see, but the numbers are right there in front of us. All we need to do is find a way to move those numbers in the right direction — and while that direction is often UP in the business metrics world (number of new clients, revenue, etc.), in the Get Fit Challenge, that direction is DOWN. As you can see, it’s all pretty simple … or at least you would think so.

I’ll sign off by wishing everyone in the challenge the best of luck, and may we all succeed in meeting our goals and looking much better in our group pictures come September.

Meet all of the competitors here, and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference.

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