By Steve Moran

W. Edwards Deming (1900–1993) changed the way the global world of business thinks about how to lead in a way that produces outstanding results.

Underpinning Deming’s philosophy is the “empowerment of the individual.” To him, this was a complete way of thinking about how to run businesses and organizations successfully. In his view, businesses that don’t do this are doomed to mediocrity or failure.

Senior Living

Senior living gives lip service to this idea, but it seems to mostly get lost in the practical aspects of running a community and running a large senior living organization. Rules and regulations keep standing in the way of empowering team members and empowering residents.

The Story of No

Over and over again, I hear stories about residents and family members making requests and being told no. There are always requests that require flexibility and often go against stated policy or convention. The noes are easy to justify. And it is always easier to do nothing than to do something.


The problem is that people are unique; they have unique needs, hurts, fears, and superpowers. When an organization puts empowerment first, amazing things happen. The hurts, fears, and needs drift into the background, and the superpowers emerge.


When your team members are allowed to let their superpowers soar, they will become superstars in their own way. When your residents are allowed to let their superpowers soar, they will live longer, be happier, and be more independent. They will make you more successful. We too often forget that residents and their families have a vested interest in your success.

When you empower family members, they will forgive your missteps, pick up at least a little of the caregiving duties — and most importantly of all, they will tell others how great you are.

The Big Question — the Hard Question

Only in your head, or maybe with your team: Are you an empowering organization? What is the evidence that this is true?