By Steve Moran

Imagine for a moment that you are the COO of a senior living organization and that you are on the verge of running out of money. The cause seems hopeless, you have a one in a million chance of pulling off the biggest turnaround in history.

What would you do?

Imagine that you are an Executive Director and your occupancy is so low that the debtholder is threatening to boot current management, and given that, unlike before, your leaders have come to you and said, “We are desperate, you have 45 days to increase occupancy by 10%, which will save the building and save your job, so you can do anything you want as long it is legal and moral.”

You have a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of pulling it off. What would you do?

You are the sales leader and your community has been open 18 months in a very competitive market where everyone is suffering from low occupancy. Your leadership comes to you and says, “The REIT is taking it away unless you can improve occupancy by 10% each of the next two months.”

You have a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of pulling it off.  What would you do?

What Would You Do?

You might look at these three scenarios and think, wait a minute this is happening all the time in senior living and no one ever pulls it off. I would agree maybe that is true. I also believe that what happens most of the time is one of a few things:

  • The community, the company, or the leader keeps on doing the same thing they have been doing hoping for different results. This is the most common course of action.
  • They give up and plan on collecting a paycheck as long as they can, using that time to hunt for a new position.

What always happens is the blame game. It is the market, the company, the economy, the physical condition of the building, or senior management. In fairness, I want to say on very rare occasions it is the physical condition of the building (meaning some units are not habitable or just barely habitable). And that too often, it is leadership above that insists on doing the same old thing.

What’s the Point?

The reason it is worth asking yourself this question is that it says a lot about how you see yourself. Are you a “give-up” person or an “I am going to figure it out” person? The second reason for going through this exercise, you might very well come up with some things you can do to improve your situation by moving away from doing the same old thing you have been doing.

The last way of thinking about this is to ask yourself and maybe your team, “What is the most crazy, radical idea we can come up with, to make what we are doing better?” Something that is big and bold and unreasonable. Something that is crazy risky. Something you would only do if you were down to a one in a million chance.

It may very well be just the thing you need to do.