The single most important ingredient at any senior living organization is the leadership team.

I am the newest member of the board for a little place called Abe’s Garden, a memory care community located in Nashville that is being built with the very specific goal of exploring and measuring best practices for dementia care and growing our knowledge about how to provide the very best quality of life for residents and their families.

Last week I attended my first board meeting and it was followed the next day with a strategic planning/visioning session. During that meeting, we got to talking about what it is, and what it will be, that makes Abe’s Garden special.

What Is Not Secret Sauce

Secret SauceWhile we have lots of very specific detailed plans about how to have a great memory care design and how to do some amazing care, at the end of the day that is not really the secret sauce. Those are designs and programs. They can be copied and replicated; they will change over time and we will discover things we thought were going to work well didn’t work. We will also have some ideas that don’t look all that promising and turn out to be amazing. 

It is not just a program and a design, if it were those things every senior community would be more or less the same and amazing.

Trying to be careful how I say this . . . but at the end of the day, it is also not the front line staff. Don’t get me wrong, there are communities that have amazing front line staff and department leaders. These are the hands-on team members who do the day-to-day heavy lifting and without them amazing wonderful senior living would never happen . . . and yet that is not the secret sauce.

The Most Important Ingredient

The single most important ingredient at any senior living organization is the leadership team. It is you, the readers of Senior Housing Forum. You are the ones that set the tone, that have the vision, that see the possibilities in your residents and your team members. 

You are the ones that inspire and dream. 

You are the ones that create the reason for residents to be glad to be alive another day.

You are the ones that make team members glad to show up and do what they do for your residents, your community.

Big and Small

There was a popular Christian song about 15 or 20 years ago that talked about seeing the big in the small. That is what great leaders do. They see lives still to live in residents. They help families stay connected and feel positive about their relationships. They see team members from dish washers to marketing directors that can and will do great things.

Your ability to see the big in the small means you can work for the biggest for-profit or not-for-profit organization in the whole world and be the secret sauce in your community, your region or even in the entire organization. If you can see the big in the small you can be the secret sauce in a single free-standing community with six, ten, twenty, fifty or one hundred units.

My closing question:  What do you do each day to see the big in the small? to be the secret sauce in your role?

Steve Moran