By Steve Moran
Setting the stage:
- AI is dominating the technology conversation everywhere. Many of you are using it. It is a tool that has some value. It is getting better by the day. It scares many and excites many more. Most recently Sam Altman was booted from his position as CEO of OpenAI (a for-profit company controlled by a not-for-profit organization) by the not-for-profit CEO. Three days later he announced that he was joining Microsoft to lead their AI efforts. There is a lot more drama around all this, and there are hundreds of stories on the web that do a great job of describing the ongoing saga. But the key thing is that this firing and move to Microsoft — one guy — seems likely to completely upend and transform how AI will unfold in the whole world. Something I don’t write lightly.
- Then, while at LeadingAge in Chicago, Dan Levitt posted this question: “Does not-for-profit senior living matter?” For context, it’s a question Katie Smith Sloan tackled from the stage. It’s a big question, and it is way too simplistic to simply say “Not-for-profit good; for-profit bad.” Both cohorts have some work to do.
- Most recently, Jack Cumming posted this article here at Foresight: “Our Roller-Coaster Lives: Learning From Sam,” where he tackles the question of assumed not-for-profit superiority. I will let you read it for yourself.
The World of AI and Senior Living
In all of this, it strikes me that there is a massive difference between those in senior living and those in AI as they think about the future. AI leaders, while cognizant of the dangers, the risks, and the unknown, are wildly optimistic about the future. They see unlimited potential and possibilities that will make the world a better place. They are sharing ideas and dreaming big.
Senior living leaders are for the most part stuck in the world we currently live in. We see minor incremental changes as massive improvements. We are protective and defensive. We don’t trust each other (while pretending we do). We publicly talk about how no one wants to work in senior living — and, secretly mostly, wonder why anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to moves into senior living.
There is competitiveness and even sniping between segments of senior living factions. Too many not-for-profit providers look down on for-profit operators; non-nursing home operators want to distance themselves from nursing home operators.
We wistfully look at what Margaritaville and Storyliving by Disney are doing and wonder why we can’t find our own senior living version of it. Curiously, what they are doing is in fact a kind of senior living, and yet they want nothing to do with the traditional senior living sector.
They likely fear being tainted with the label senior living.
But perhaps the problem is that we don’t believe in ourselves, our industry. This is wrong. It is an amazing industry with unlimited potential to transform the lives of residents, team members, and family members.
It starts with you as a leader believing this can happen in your organization. I talk about how to do that in my keynote “Look to the Sky.”
I dream of a day when we believe in ourselves.