What if with the kindest, most well meaning heart we are doing things we think are in the best interests of residents, families and team members . . . and yet the things we are doing are actually bad for them?
By Steve Moran
I just received an email from Ash Ambrige who runs a website called the Middle Finger Project. She is an off-the-wall, out-of-the-box thinker and writer who publishes some really good stuff that is laced with profanity (I don’t quite get that part, but it’s her thing).
One of the things I like about her writing is that she often puts into words what we all have been thinking:
Checking into a hotel can be a nightmare. Long lines. Tourists in hiking shoes. That bald guy pounding a beer. At least, this was the scholarly scene I witnessed yesterday. (Just kidding, I rooted him on.)
But hotels are reticent to replace humans with technology, because they fear they’ll be sacrificing “the personal touch.” Do you know how many times I arrive to a hotel and wish I could just swipe my passport at a kiosk — like I do at the airport — and have a key card, a drink ticket, and instructions printed for me? Do you know how many times I wish I didn’t have to go through the personal touch, especially when it costs me an extra twenty minutes of time to wait in a line for the privilege?
Most hotels are still operating under the assumption that we want the personal touch. That assumption informs everything else they do. But what if anyone dared to assume something else?
(You can read the rest HERE.)
I have this experience every time I check in at a hotel for a big conference. I think, “I have a reservation, why can’t I just put my credit card in a machine and get my keys?” In this case, the personal touch.
What If . . .?
I find myself wondering what if there are a whole bunch of things we are doing that we are 100% convinced are right, are what our residents want, are what our families want, are what our team members want . . . when — in fact — it is not what they want?
Even Worse . . .
What if with the kindest, most well meaning heart we are — in a paternalistic way — doing things we think are in the best interests of residents, families and team members . . . and yet the things we are doing are actually bad for them? We have a long history of this in society. Just a single example from the 1930s to to the 1950s, doctors and dentists were the biggest endorsers of smoking.
It is a personal worry for me. I have no education, no background, no history as a writer, publisher, journalist. So everyday I wake up and think I have no idea what I am doing. My biggest fear: That I don’t even know what it is that I don’t know.
Figuring It Out
First, it is impossible to entirely stop doing this, because we often don’t know what we don’t know. But there are some things we can do to reduce the size of our blind spot:
We can keep our eyes and ears open and think about how people are responding to the way we do things. Be willing to ask yourself, your staff, your residents if things are really working right.
Experiment and embrace failure. If you experiment but have to have only successful experiments, you will miss out on learning important things. You have to be willing to fail and even to celebrate failure because, if nothing else, failure teaches you what to not do next time.
Learn from other people’s successes and failures. It will reduce the number of failures you have to go through yourself.
Look outside our industry for successes and failures that will spark your creativity.
If you think about it . . . how hard would it really be for hotels to figure this out? Maybe we have our own stuff that is this obvious.