Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I am incredibly proud of the hard work and tireless days, weeks and months that lead to this industry changing innovation. For nearly twenty years all adjustable height workstations looked and functioned using the same technology and basic design elements! As a pioneer in the category we felt it was incumbent of us that we change the paradigm and find a different way and we did. In partnership with Gensler design and Nottingham Spirk we have set a new design standard that will change the market once again!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What what is Strategy?

Throughout my career I have seen tactics, objectives and goals be considered strategy and they are not! How does your company win in the market, beat your competitors, what makes customers want to choose you? That is strategy not what you hope to achieve or what program you are going to implement next month to drive sales. Its the big, structural things that are at the core of what you do to win...that is strategy...the things that guide your decision making and focus...what you are working on, where you invest, where you staff, etc...where you spend your time and money.

Monday, April 2, 2018

CEO Net Present Value

Chicago & Washington DC
Egon Zehnder International, Inc.

There are substantial parallels between examining a CEO candidate and calculating the NPV of a capital expenditure. Much like a capital equipment investment project, every CEO candidate carries a certain capacity to create value, as well as a bundle of execution risks that might impede actual value creation. Boards can calculate CEO NPV by gauging a CEO candidate’s projected value creation, discounted by his or her leadership risks:
Projected Value Creation is analogous to the numerator representing cash flows found in the classic NPV equation. The CEO NPV denominator – Leadership Risks – anticipates what could limit the value the CEO will actually deliver, and is analogous to the discount rate denominator in traditional NPV.
So how does one define the numerator and denominator to calculate CEO NPV?

Projected value creation

Projected Value Creation depends largely on the CEOs capacity to create a performance culture that permeates the entire company. In a previous work, we examined how companies can create a true high-performance culture.3 Such companies consistently do three things:
  1. Adhere to a performance ethic that combines the ambition to do the unthinkable and the discipline to deliver the nearly impossible
  2. Exercise a passion for renewal in the business, products, the organization and its people
  3. Liberate the right leaders to get on with the business of the company
These keys to creating a high-performance culture provide a sound template for assessing CEO candidates, gauging the correlated leadership strengths and limitations by asking:
  • Are they fiercely ambitious and rigorously disciplined?
  • Can they reinvent continually? Do they push the organization into new spaces by disrupting the organization and the industry?
  • Can they “get out of the way” and let their teams create extraordinary outcomes?

Leadership risks

Conventional wisdom holds that the risk of a CEO appointment bears direct relation to the CEO’s experience base. For instance, CEOs making dramatic transitions across industries or cultures are intuitively presumed to be riskier choices. This way of thinking does carry a certain face validity. Boards have reason to favor candidates who are proven in situations analogous to those the company anticipates. Particular “formative” or “must-have” experiences such as managing a turnaround, launching a new market expansion, or shepherding a merger can yield knowledge and insights that can only be gained by having been there and done that.
However, our work suggests that the risks and limitations of CEO appointment more closely correlate to how an executive processes experiences than on the experiences themselves. Humility and flexibility are especially crucial traits in a CEO.
Humble leaders “know what they don’t know” and are willing to ask for the counsel of others – meaningfully mitigating risk. If you look across many of the great corporate disasters, you will often find at the helm a CEO who lacked the humility to say that they did not understand something, or to admit that they’d made a mistake.

Should anyone hesitate to appoint a CEO with aptitudes and strengths known to drive performance in practically any industry?

Leaders with a high degree of flexibility – ability to change – can make even sharp transitions with grace and aplomb. Flexibility can be considered “part 2” of humility, which allows the CEO to see that change is needed, while flexibility is the willingness to then make that change. If leaders have the right degree of flexibility, this can significantly broaden the impact of their experiences. Leveraging previous learning to do things differently means organizations are not exposed to the risk of redeployment of a previously unsuccessful (or even partly successful) approach. Viewed through this lens, Louis Gerstner’s NPV “discount rate” was fundamentally low, even though he repeatedly led companies in industries where he had little direct experience. Should anyone hesitate to appoint Louis Gerstner, a CEO with aptitudes and strengths known to drive performance in practically any industry? In sum, CEO NPV gauges candidates’ projected value creation in terms of their ability to create a performance culture, “discounted” by gaps in their personal humility, flexibility, and experience:

Certain of a candidate’s potential derailers can likely be mitigated, once they have been brought more fully into view. However, when the analysis reveals an inherent lack of mental flexibility and humility, the board should recognize that such deficits are not easily erased.
Recognizing that humility and flexibility are keys to reducing leadership risks can dramatically change the board’s view of CEO candidates who they previously saw as a “safe pair of hands.” In truth, a CEO candidate who has had a long career at a particular firm may actually be a risky choice if they do not also have the requisite humility and flexibility to shift their approach in the face of a disrupted environment.

Prudent audacity

Should this calculation of CEO projected value be the sole basis for CEO selection? Hardly. But a rigorous analysis of each candidate’s projected value impact can counter the dangers of illusory safety by also allowing a measure of prudent audacity.
To better understand how this CEO NPV methodology might work in the real world, consider the following scenario, illustrated in a graph contrasting the expected trajectories of two CEO candidates.
“Low Risk” CEO is a candidate with ambitions and experience that feel directly on point for the role. Accordingly, his discount rate is lower early on, leading to an initially higher present value. However, “Low Risk” CEO is not particularly agile-minded or open to learning from experience and has a background of solid but middling performance. This substantially limits his upside and elevates his discount rate over time, as the future is bound to bring unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

In contrast, “High NPV” CEO has a higher discount rate early on, as her experience has not prepared her as fully for the role, but those risk factors fall sharply as she gains deep understanding of the business and as her ability to absorb information, rapidly adapt, and execute against ambitious goals all take center stage. The slightly higher risk early in her projected tenure is more than offset by her much higher potential value creation over time. CEO NPV analysis has “flipped the script” on what it means to make a safe choice, because it is now clear that “Low Risk” CEO has the potential to squander a great deal of value while delivering little in the way of added security.

Raise the bar

A CEO is the most complex and consequential asset a company will finance. As such, it is understandable that boards instinctively strive to minimize risk. The NPV analysis described above will often reveal that an unconventional CEO candidate is actually the safe bet.
Most importantly, CEO NPV helps boards raise the bar for CEO performance – and raising the bar is absolutely imperative. In a disrupted world, a new CEO may soon face radically different challenges than those faced by the incumbent. That means the “conservative” candidate may be the most risky choice.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

How Ergonomics Makes for a Healthier Workplace
When it comes to workplace health, ergonomics can't be overlooked

In a book published in 2014, Dr. James Levine, a professor of medicine at the U.S.-based Mayo Clinic, wrote that sitting is “more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting.” He noted that because people expend very little energy while sitting, they are at risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, and even cancer.

His book, Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, sparked widespread interest in standing workstations. But studies have shown that standing for a prolonged period of time poses health risks too — it can lead to sore backs and feet, and varicose veins.

That same year, a study was conducted at Sony Pictures Enter­tainment with 50 employees who used ergonomic sit-stand workstations for five weeks. The switch to these adjustable-height desks resulted in a drop in body fat and blood pressure, as well as a spike in good cholesterol and fasting glucose.
When the study ended, each participant chose to keep the sit-stand desks, which were provided by Workrite, a California-based company that designs and manufactures ergo­nomic workstations and accessories.

That study was one of several that confirmed that ergonomics, the beneficial design and arrangement of workplaces, played a key role in health and wellness. Sit-stand desks have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they allow users to change position frequently throughout the day.

“When Levine’s book came out, people started to recognize the importance of movement, and that led to a big change in North American workplaces,” explains Workrite President Charles Lawrence. “Before then, ergonomic desks were only popular among progressive tech companies.”

Lawrence has noticed a surge of interest in monitor arms, which allow users to customize the position of their computer screens to prevent neck, shoulder, and eye strain.
Workrite has sold sit-stand desks for almost two decades and is a pioneer in ergonomic design. “Some of our competitors sell ergonomic products alongside furniture, but these products are more like medical devices,” says Lawrence, adding that his salespeople are specially trained in ergonomics and are familiar with every product in the company’s extensive inventory.

All employees — whether working in hospitals or warehouses — benefit from ergonomic equipment, design, and practices. By improving and supporting their workers’ health, employers make workplaces healthier and, ultimately, more efficient. “There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows the importance of ergonomics,” says Lawrence. “Anything companies can do to help their employees on the journey to good health would be great.”


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Career Advice and Leadership Philosophy from Charlie Lawrence

It was my pleasure to share some of the lessons learned and insight from my career and time at Workrite Ergonomics, GE, Masco and others with Sarah Scudder and Nicole Smartt of Star Staffing for their podcast Career Conversations. Thanks Ladies it was fun and I hope helpful to your listeners.


Sunday, February 4, 2018



What You Should Know Before You Take A Stand

by Charlie Lawrence, President Workrite Ergonomics


Unless you live under a rock you have probably heard that “Sitting is the New Smoking” or maybe that “Your Chair is Killing You.” We can thank James Levine of the Mayo Clinic for really bringing this subject into the spotlight back in 2014 when he published his research on NEAT, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. NEAT is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise.
Dr. Levine was able to stimulate awareness around the fact that we sit a lot and that it is affecting all civilized societies. We sit during our morning commute, we sit at our desk, we sit in meetings, we sit at lunch, we drive home, we sit at the dinner table or restaurant, and then we sit and watch TV. And then we do it again the next day, and the next day… you get the point!
This societal pattern has emerged as we have moved out of the industrial revolution where we worked in factories and were on our feet much more often. This was preceded by the agrarian period where we were doing back breaking work in the fields. Fast forward to today where we have become an information based society resulting in many of us sitting at desks all day and not benefitting from the physical movement of working in the field or in a factory.
Dr. Levine has said, “Chair-living has proven so enticing that we have forsaken our legs. It is now time to find ways to get us back onto our legs.” Where this research really got Dr. Levine’s attention was the correlation between the lack of movement over several generations and the dramatic increase in obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other potentially very damaging health issues… all good reasons to think seriously about this subject!
The Scandinavians caught on to this some time ago. As an example, in Denmark the government has mandated that all office workers must have a height adjustable desk (sometimes called a standing desk… more on this later). In the early 1980’s some very early adopters began experimenting with these new desks but they were generally considered odd or not practical and, of course, back then having a desk job was a privilege and sitting all day was thought to be one of the benefits of getting an education… this falls into the category of unintended consequences!

Follow the link below to the complete whitepaper - you will be glad you did!

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Monday, October 16, 2017




Workrite Ergo Family Relief Fund
My company, Workrite Ergonomics and our Northern California community has been devastated by fire and many of our team need help. Please visit the Workrite Ergo Family Relief Fund


Wednesday, October 15, 2014



Workrite Ergonomics, in partnership with Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc. (FLA) and Sony Picture Entertainment (SPE), finds positive benefits from a workplace ergonomics and office equipment study designed to measure the health benefits and workplace effects when introducing adjustable height sit stand work surfaces into a typical corporate office environment.

Joy Boese, President of E3 Consulting, conceptualized the study and brought the three companies together to collaborate on the initiative. Joy recognized the potential of using FLA’s monitoring capabilities as a way to measure stress and fatigue in the workplace with the ultimate goal of using the data collected to educate employees, reduce injury and improve performance.

Conducted in one of SPE Los Angeles facilities, volunteer participants consisted of members of the SPE finance and information services groups. Managing the monitoring and biometric measures was Fujitsu Laboratories of America, responsible for the independent capture, aggregation, and analysis of all collected data and the reporting of results. E3 Consulting took on the role of project management and also had staff members on site to provide support for the study participants. Workrite Ergonomics provided the height adjustable work centers and flat panel monitor supports and coordinated the installation and set-up of the ergonomic equipment used in the study.


During the study, volunteers were outfitted with a real-time wearable cardiac monitoring device designed to continuously capture various human biometrics, including ECG, heart rate and skin temperature. The adjustable height sit stand work surfaces were outfitted with Android devices, which served two purposes. First, they acted as sensors for surface height, movement and engagement, by continuously collecting accelerometer data and images of a specially placed sticker on the feet of the desk. Second, they hosted Fujitsu’s mobile real-time data aggregation and analysis platform — the Sprout™ (http://www.fujitsu.com/us/about/other/fla/research/data-driven-healthcare/index.html). The Sprout provided real-time data storage, analysis, and visualization of all the biometric and desk-related data streams. In all, over 287 GB of electronic data was captured over the test period. Participants were also manually assessed by a medical team at the beginning and end of the study, including capturing key metabolic biomarkers.



During the 4–week test period, over 40 biomarker changes were analyzed and tracked. The per participant average changes included:

  • An increase in good cholesterol (HDL) of 3.65
  • An increase in fasting glucose of 2.28
  • A reduction in fat as measured by Body Mass Index (BMI) of .86 lb.
  • A reduction in weight of .81 lb.
  • An decrease in average blood pressure of 2.28/1.20
  • Age and BMI were not distinguishing factors in the amount of standing desk usage
    The work surface tracking involved monitoring time spent sitting /standing and when participants were absent from their desks. On average, the mean standing percentage was 36%, with a high of 91% and low of less than 5%. Data revealed workers adjusted the height of their work surface on average two times per day, most often once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Workers stated they most enjoyed the freedom to make adjustments when they wanted to or needed to help relieve fatigue or better meet the work task at hand. On average, the heaviest standing occurred between the hours of 9–10 am, coinciding with the early part of most participants’ workdays, and the next heaviest standing period peaked around 3–4 pm. The data also revealed age was not a factor in desk usage - everybody in the study used the desks to stand: men and women, those with low and high body mass index, young and old. Women stood for a lower percentage of time compared to men, perhaps due to the footwear they used during the study.
    Having the ability to
    change work state during
    the day is broadly empowering
    In addition to objective sensor data findings, subjective self-reported findings were collected via questionnaires distributed at the beginning and at the end of the study. These revealed even stronger judgments:

  • Participants were uniformly delighted with their new desks
  • Self-reported back pain decreased on average 1.3 points on a 1–10 scale
  • 88% respond feeling healthier throughout the day
  • 98% “loved” the new sit/stand work surface
  • Home sleep quality improved +0.7 on a 1–10 scale
  • All participants asked to keep height adjustable work surface after study
    Halo effects: Some participants reported becoming more cognizant of diet, sleep and exercise during the study and reported that having the ability to change work state during the day was broadly empowering.
    Hourly data tracking suggests heart rate can be affected by several factors throughout the workday including basic activities such as talking or standing. Several individual participants’ heart rate measures settled into narrower bands (the average highs post-adjustable work surface introduction are not as high as before), possibly suggesting improved cardiovascular fitness upon the introduction of the adjustable height work surface.

During the study, some participants reported becoming more cognizant of their diet, sleep, and exercise

At the end of the study, all participants were given a choice to keep their height adjustable work center or have their fixed height desks reinstalled. All participants chose to keep their height adjustable workcenters.


In late 2013, Workrite Ergonomics was invited to partner with SPE and Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc. in the design, development and implementation of a research study intended to measure the effects of and use of traditional office furniture work surfaces and the introduction of an adjustable height work surface in a typical corporate office environment. E3 Ergonomic Consultants conceptualized the study, brought the three companies together to collaborate and acted as project manager and on-site ergonomics consultants throughout the course of the study. Conducted in one of SPE’s Los Angeles facilities, volunteer participants were comprised of the SPE finance and information services groups. Fujitsu Laboratories was responsible for the monitoring of the participants and the adjustable height work surfaces, the aggregation and analysis of the collected data, and for reporting on the results of the study. Workrite Ergonomics provided height adjustable work centers and flat panel monitor supports and coordinated the installation and set-up of the ergonomic equipment to be used in the study.



The study was conducted over a five week period. During Week One of the study, all participants worked in their usual workcenters which consisted of traditional fixed height desks in both cubicle and private office environments. During that week, the volunteers were outfitted with VitalConnect’s HealthPatch wearable cardiac patch sensor devices, which continuously monitor a variety of key biomarkers including ECG and heart rate. These sensor devices were integrated by Fujitsu Laboratories into the Sprout platform, thereby providing continuous storage of these biomarker data streams for establishing a baseline for each participant. The Sprout also enabled storage of participant stress values, based on real-time analysis of the ECG data stream. All participants also underwent basic health screenings for weight and body mass index (BMI) and took blood tests to establish starting levels for HDL & LDL cholesterol, fasting glucose levels and other key biomarkers.

Leading into Week Two, fixed height work surfaces were replaced with the Workrite Sierra Electric Workcenters and the Workrite Willow or Willow Dual adjustable monitor arms. These workcenters were instrumented with tablets running the Fujitsu Sprout; the accelerometer and camera sensors in the tablets were used to algorithmically assess the height and state of the workcenter. Beginning on Monday of Week Two, participants returned to work and began using their new workcenter equipment after receiving basic operating instructions and an overview of proper ergonomic equipment positioning.

During the next four weeks, each individual desk was monitored using periodic photographic data and real-time tablet accelerometry data to determine when participants were present and how much time was spent in the sitting or standing position. This real-time data collection and analysis was made possible through the use of Fujitsu’s Sprout mobile real-time data aggregation and analysis platform, running on Android tablets affixed to the work surfaces. In addition, all data streams (including those made available through the cardiac patches) were synchronized with the cloud in real-time for visualization and real-time on-site triage of any data collection issues.

During Week Five of the study, participants were patched and monitored again so physiological measurements could be taken and compared to the baseline data established during Week One of the study. Both biometric results and self-reporting results are included in this report. Participants completed a paper questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study.

At the end of the study, all participants were given a choice to keep their height adjustable work center or have their fixed height desks reinstalled. All participants chose to keep their height adjustable workcenters.


©2014 Workrite Ergonomics, 2277 Pine View Way, Suite 100, Petaluma, CA 94954 www.workriteergo.com 800.959.9675