By Steve Moran

For each of us as individuals, as leaders of people, and leaders of or in organizations, we are writing a story. And that story is comprised of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of smaller stories. Often those smaller stories contain even smaller stories.

Story Types

Storytelling experts, and yes there is such a thing, tell us there are somewhere between 3 and 7 story types, but, at the end of the day, they all come down to the single-story structure of:

  1. The setting
  2. The messy middle
  3. The resolution of the messy middle

Right Now — The Messy Middle

Right now, today, we are right smack dab in the MESSY MIDDLE of a story that starts:

“Once upon a time this horrible contagious virus attacked our nation’s older people and those who serve them . . .”

We are in the middle of the biggest fight for survival that anyone in senior living has ever experienced. The monsters are huge and at times seem unending and insurmountable. The virus itself, the lack of PPE, residents who are tired of being cooped up, families who want to see their loved ones, increased costs, decreased occupancy, regulators and the press who seem mostly determined to make everything worse.

The Big Question

The big question we face is this:

How Do We Want the Story to End?

We don’t really have a lot of control over the external pressures that are a part of the messy middle. Some individuals and some organizations will fall, some while fighting valiantly, some that were unprepared to do battle and didn’t stand a chance, and others that simply gave up.

Circumstances and Destiny

There are some circumstances that we have no control over and some that we can influence a little or a lot. And yet we ultimately get to choose how the story will end. The question we need to be asking as individuals, as leaders, and as organizations is what do we want the last act of this story to look like and how are we going to go about making sure we come out as a victor.

It won’t be going back to the way things were. I think there is good evidence that going back to the good old days is not possible and that maybe the good old days were not really all that good anyway.

My Dream

In times of great chaos and disruption there are new opportunities to reinvent and to get better. I believe it is possible to take the scars and stripes we have earned and come out of this stronger and better. My dream for the end of the story is that . . .

  • Senior living will be seen as an important, maybe the most important, part of the healthcare system
  • Senior living will be seen as the lowest hanging fruit to save healthcare dollars
  • Senior living will be seen as the place older people go to increase their healthspan
  • Senior living will be seen as the best place for older people to dream big and accomplish those dreams
  • Senior living will create new and better ways to keep older people safe in the next pandemic
  • Senior living will pay their frontline workers a living wage
  • Senior living will create a robust farm team system
  • Every senior living community will be full with a waitlist
  • Every senior living executive will want to live in a senior living community

What’s the end of the story for you?