I am in the process of reading an old business book titled, “The Knowledge Doing Gap”.

By Steve Moran

I am in the process of reading an old business book titled, “The Knowledge Doing Gap“, where the author’s premise is that the knowledge about how to create great cultures and how to be great leaders is out there and all around us. The big problem is that organizations and leaders are not actually putting into practice the things we know.

Hence the “Knowing Doing Gap.”

All Wrong

From that book comes this quote:

“This is the best we can think of right now. But the only thing I am sure of is that it is temporary and it is wrong. We just have to keep experimenting so it keeps getting better all the time.”  ~ David Kelly, IDEO

Of course, what he is describing is a mindset about how he as a leader and IDEO as an organization functions, moves forward, innovates, and iterates.

Senior Living Is Mostly Wrong

What is wild is that I can hardly have a conversation with a senior living leader that does not at some point drift into the area of “we are a great industry, but we have to . . .

. . . do better

. . . change how we are doing things

. . . innovate

. . . fill in the blank ________________________________________

Yet for all of that what do we do? We mostly keep building and operating as if . . . as if . . . we have it all figured out, not that what we have is a temporary situation that is the best we know how to do right now but that we already know is not what it should be.

So here are just a couple of ways we do this:

  • Significant operators and capital providers completely avoid developing, owning and operating outside major MSAs  

  • Dining has largely remained the same for 20 or 30 years and it looks nothing like what people had when they were living in their homes

  • Call systems are largely the same as they always have been

  • Programming remains largely the same

  • Buildings keep getting bigger and more opulent

What if We Assumed . . .

What if senior living really assumed that every single thing they do is temporary because it is the best we know how to do right now. But at the same time, we took to heart that what we are doing today is not nearly good enough.

It would . . . 

  • Force us to embrace criticism from in and out of the industry and our own organizations

  • Force us to be constantly looking for betters ways to do things, including asking staff what we could do better. How about asking this: What could we do that would improve profitability?

  • Compel us to look outside our industry for inspiration

  • Drive us to try new things . . . big new things not little things but huge things.  

So how is it in your organization? What is your mindset?