My editor (my wife) when she sees this will tell me not to publish it because . . . well, because.  But I can’t resist, it honestly needs to be said. I write it in defense of emerging senior living providers trying to figure it all out.  These are the guys who are going to be your competitors and either do a good job and help the whole industry or do a not so good job and drag us all down.  It is also in defense of the the poor sales guys trying to make a new contact who may have just the thing that will really help your residents and your business.

Inspiration for the Article

In February a Cleveland business woman by the name of Kelly Blazek went viral in the very worst kind of way, though in truth getting what she deserved. Click the link above or do a Google search and you can read the whole ugly story . . . it’s a great story and cautionary tale. The short version is that she had become a local maven in the Cleveland business community and over time became very, very impressed with how important she was.  Her big claim to fame was a highly regarded local job board. Feeding her own ego, when someone who she deemed unworthy (pretty much anyone she didn’t know or hadn’t heard of) reached out and asked to connect with her on LinkedIn or join her job board she would respond with scathing, mean spirited, vicious emails.  Here is a sample:

“Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky,” . . .  “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.””I love the sense of entitlement in your generation,”

“You’re welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don’t ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network.”

“I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh — guess what. There isn’t one,” “Done with this conversation, and you.”

“Don’t ever write me again.”

My Passion for This

A little over two years ago I came back into the senior living industry after being gone for a long long time.  I still knew a few people but not many and so I started Senior Housing Forum and began reaching out to people in order to develop relationships, to build a network.  Since I started this effort I have met hundreds (likely thousands) of kind, gracious, wonderful people.  I am particularly grateful to some big name leaders in the industry who spent time talking to me, telling me their stories and introducing me to even more people. And yet . . . At essentially every single conference there were a a few people who were just plain rude about it.  They were jerks! It was clear they thought they were above me, that I was nothing.  I just don’t get it.  Here are my takeaways:

  • Universally, when I have introduced myself to the leaders of the largest senior housing companies they have been polite and friendly.
  • The most rude of the bunch (the ones who most need to read this and are least likely to do so) tend to be leaders of fairly small organizations making me think there is a correlation: small mind, small business?
  • As a personal pet peeve, many of the most rude are people who represent themselves as being religious. As a religious person I find this particularly troubling.
  • Being rude will deny you the chance to get to know some amazing people.
  • Being rude will deny you business opportunities and you will never know what you lost.

All of this does not mean you shouldn’t filter your interactions or that you might not ever have to cut someone off.  I am not talking about the times I have accidentally interrupted an important conversation; I am talking about being rude in the food line or ignoring someone who walks up to you in the hallway. Don’t be a Kelly Blazek!

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