“Sacred Cows” — things an organization does that everyone knows does not work or has no value.

By Steve Moran

I can’t even remember exactly which book this idea came from, but the author suggested that organizations need to be aggressive about killing their “sacred cows” . . .

They defined “Sacred Cows” as being those things an organization does that everyone knows does not work or has no value. My definition is a bit broader including what I think are largely dumb or untrue ideas or just things we tolerate that we should not.

I got to wondering what the senior living sacred cows are. I made a list then asked for suggestions on my feed at LinkedIn and in the Senior Living Leadership Group on Facebook (which we would love to have you join). What follows is my list based on my own thinking and input from others.

I apologize in advance to those of you who love one or more of these “sacred cows” and acknowledge that I might be wrong about some of them. Let me know what you think; let me know what else should be on the list.

I have written about some of them and will write about some that have gotten little or no airtime in the fast.

Sacred Cows That Need Slaughtering

  1. Employees who are “good at their job” but are unpleasant to work with

  2. That you need a salesperson plus an executive director

  3. That senior living communities can only afford to pay a little more than minimum wage

  4. That the increasing average age of entrance suggests we are only picking the low-hanging fruit

  5. That residents cannot be trusted to be employees of the communities they live in

  6. That no one wants to work in senior living

  7. That working in senior living is hard

  8. That we need to serve three big meals a day

  9. That workers are changing jobs for $.25 or .50 an hour more

  10. That more policies and procedures are the way to fix problems

  11. That when something bad happens more training will fix the problem

  12. That we don’t provide new team members enough initial training

  13. That there is no money in low-income senior living

  14. That 90% occupancy is the norm

  15. Big bosses who come in from the outside think they know everything but all they create is storms, frustration, and chaos

  16. That we are behind the times in what we do, particularly with technology

  17. Top-down execs who believe they have all the answers and don’t need to ask their staff for ideas and solutions

  18. That memory care units must be secured

  19. Staff uniforms are a must

  20. That we should hire only young attractive people to be EDs, regardless whether they know anything

  21. That we refer to the sales staff as “sales and marketing” even though they do NO marketing 

  22. That having salespeople create a false “urgency” to get seniors to decide to move in is a good way to increase occupancy

  23. That the current business model of senior living is sustainable

  24. That the way we do dining is the only way to do it (– I will tackle this one very soon)

  25. That panel discussions at senior living conferences are a good way to transfer valuable information

  26. That as a vendor you need to exhibit at a trade show

  27. Painting the community bus to look like an advertisement with silly pictures of seniors and big letters that says assisted living and memory care community is a good way to attract residents

  28. Keeping team members who have been around for years, can do their job well from a task perspective, but have a crappy and negative attitude

  29. Wearable tech can’t be improved in design and comfort

  30. That we should not publish rates online

What would you add to the list? Which ones are wrong?