By Steve Moran

It is baffling that this does not exist.

There are a few companies in the world that everyone wants to work for. Google, Apple, Amazon, Zappos, and Disney are a good starting list. Every year they get tens of thousands of applicants, allowing them to pick the best of the best. The rest of those applicants are cast back into the sea to be picked up by other companies.

This becomes a part of their competitive advantage, tapping into the very best talent.

This is true even in less glamorous companies. In the fast food sector, everyone wants to work for In-N-Out Burger or Chick-fil-A. Even a company like WD-40 gets way more applicants than it has openings.

Executive Directors

There is near 100% correlation between senior living communities having high occupancy and high margins and having a great executive director. This means that if a company had only high-performing executive directors, they would have only high-performing communities.

The Simple Solution

Imagine for a moment that your senior living organization made the decision to be the one organization in the entire industry that every single executive director wanted to work for — that each year you received hundreds more executive director applicants than you had openings.

You would be able to only hire the very best executive directors in the country. You would have full communities, happy staff, happy residents, and happy family members. You would have spectacular margins.

What Would It Look Like?

Here is what it might look like:

  • Exceptional pay. While pay is not everything, it is important, and if you have an executive director who is really crushing it, paying more to have high occupancy should be seen as an investment that will pay huge dividends.
  • Freedom to innovate and experiment. It is impossible for corporate leadership to intimately know what works best for a given market, for a particular executive director’s style, or for a particular group of team members.
  • Being heard. With guard rails, if your executive director says you need to pay more, lower rates, increase staffing, pay attention to them, and work with them.
  • Fewer meetings. Limit the amount of time the executive director has to spend in meetings and creating reports. Some of this is necessary, but make sure they have enough time to lead.
  • Support. Ask them how you can support them.
  • Mentorship. Ask them to help you help other executive directors get better.
  • Delegation and coaching. Figure out what they are not so good at (we all have “not-so-good” things), and find ways to work around them to get help with them.
  • Trust. Mandate systems minimally. It is pretty hard to run a company without common accounting, CRM, and HR platforms. Turn them loose on the rest. This includes suppliers like food, pharmacy, and rehab therapy.

The final bonus of doing this is that you will end up with a huge competitive bonus in each market you are in. Nothing like a rock star to beat the competition.

This Is Not the Only Way

It is not likely that you can ever take a terrible executive director and make them great, but there are a whole bunch of middle-of-the-road executive directors who want to be rock stars who could be turned into rock stars.

That is another article coming soon.

Comment below — what else should be on this list? Does that company already exist?

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