Crass or Practical?

By Steve Moran

Sometimes article ideas come from the craziest places. Each week I get 1-4 articles from the folks at Think with Google about online marketing. They are mostly focused on consumer products and often on what big budget companies are doing. This post is based on one of those articles, and yet there is an amazing gem, in the form of a question.

It really resonated coming off Vision2025 because of the word “intern”. The title is “Machine learning is like having a billion extra interns, not one Einstein, to make effective ads”. The essence of the article is that AI/machine learning has the potential not to replace people/interns but rather to make people more efficient at being people.

The Ultimate Question

The article argues the root problem is that we haven’t been able to figure out the right answer, or more accurately, the right set of answers to the ultimate question. Here it is:

What is the definition of “Winning”?

I think this graphic from the article is super helpful in thinking about it:


Winning . . .

In no business is winning a single thing . . . at least I hope that is the case. It is particularly true in senior living. While every single owner and operator is ultimately paying attention to the bottom line cash flow, it is too simplistic to say that it is, because it is possible, even in senior living, to get to great cash flow, at least in the short-term, and be unethical as hell. It will also vary from organization to organization.

Typically it will not be the same for not-for-profits as for for-profit organizations. It will likely look at least a bit different for public and private companies. It will also look different for faith-based and other affinity group organizations than more general not-for-profits.


For all of that, it is clear that for every single senior living organization there are some common themes of what winning looks like (at least for good senior living organizations):

  • A good to great positive cash flow

  • Happy residents (what that means could be sliced and diced 100 ways)

  • Happy family members

  • Being a serious part of the local marketplace community

  • Having low staff turnover

Crass or Practical?

I find myself thinking it would be pretty awesome to sit down with your team members and ask them what they think winning means with respect to your senior living organization or community. Then maybe asking that, even of residents or their families.

Once that has been defined, it becomes a ton easier to figure how to get there.

What does winning mean for you?

What does it mean for your organization?

What does it mean for your team members?

What does it mean for your marketplace?

I would love to hear your thoughts.