By Steve Moran

A New Way of Thinking About Leading.

“Toyota workers on average make about thirty-three suggestions per worker per year, 90% of which are implemented within weeks of their submission.”

This crazy way of thinking comes from a 30-year-old book, Dr. Deming, The American Who Taught the Japanese About Quality Control.

Okay, maybe the title was wrong, this actually is not so new, but it is still radical.

Here is My Dream for Senior Living

That in every single senior living community, there is a system that allows, even encourages, line staff to think about better ways to serve residents, families, and each other. That when they do make suggestions, they are seriously considered and rapidly implemented if they make sense.

Finally . . .

When implemented, those who submit them get all the credit. When suggestions are either not implemented or are delayed, at least those suggesting them know why that decision is made.

When This Happens . . . 7 Things

  1. First, and most obvious, is that the community will function better for everyone. This should be reason enough.
  2. It will make team members love coming to work every day. 
  3. It will get team members to have a mindset of “what else would make it better here?” 
  4. It will focus team members on residents and family members rather than the things they don’t like about their job, something everyone has to a greater or lesser degree.
  5. It will make recruiting much easier, as team members talk about how different your community is from every place else they have worked.
  6. Speaking of recruitment, even more importantly, you will have to do less recruitment because people will stay longer. 
  7. Team members will work harder and more efficiently. You may very well see staffing costs go down.

The Danger Zone – Going from Bad to Worse

The very worst thing you can do though is to ask for suggestions and do nothing with them. It is easy to say “that would never happen here,” but wait until they start coming in. It will be a bigger problem than you think.

A fundamental challenge facing most businesses is that they see employees as a liability, a cost center, and not as an asset. Taking this step will change that equation.