Creating a dynamic team may be simpler than you think.

By Steve Moran

Leadership is a very curious mix of heart, passion and technique. I think all three can be learned or at least developed. If you had asked me when I was younger, I would have likely told you that heart and passion needed to be there before technique. Today, based on my personal experience, I am less sure that is true.

I will confess that when I started “Senior Home” it was essentially all about business. The idea was to create some prominence that would make it easier for me to sell emergency call systems for Vigil Health Solutions, a Senior Housing Forum partner.  

As I wrote, interviewed leaders, and visited communities, I had two recurring impressions:

  1. What a great business . . . sector, where you can really make a difference in people’s lives.

  2. As fantastic as the business is, there are some areas that offer room for improvement.

The deep heart and passion came out of what, in some sense, could be seen primarily as technique.

4 Questions

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on leadership based on Stan McChrystal’s keynote presentation at the AHCA/NCAL annual convention in San Antonio. A few weeks ago I thought that one article was enough. Then several days ago I came across my notes where I wrote down the 4 questions he would ask his leadership team every day and they just kept rattling around in my head.

This is my version of his questions, adapted for senior living (you can read the original McChrystal list at the bottom of the article):

  1. What happened in the last 24 hours? — This turns out to be a much better question than just asking, “What’s going on?”  or “What do we need to do today?” It provides time to reflect on the good and not so good.

  1. How is the pulse of our community or our organization today? — This is really an important question because sometimes, things are just not quite right, even though exactly what is wrong may not be obvious. It sets the stage for the next question.

  1. What should be done? What can be done? — I particularly like that there are two questions here. Sometimes for very practical reasons, what should be done is not what can be done.

  1. How well are we communicating and listening?  —  I find myself believing this may be the most important of the four questions. Way too often, as I talk to leaders at the property level and leaders at the top of organization, I find huge gaps in perceptions about what the other is thinking and doing. When these gaps occur it is impossible to have a healthy, trusting operation.

These are the kinds of questions that will generate meaningful, positive changes in the dynamics of every team. Those kinds of changes will inspire and build passion and heart.

What questions do you use to make sure you have the best possible pulse of your organization?


The original McCrystal questions:

1.  What happened in the last 24 hours?

2.  Where are we today?

3.  What can or should be done?

4.  How well is our network working?