By Steve Moran
Let’s play a little intellectual game.
Your occupancy is at 74% and stagnating. Cash flow is upside down. The pandemic is no longer cutting it as an excuse. You are faced with an ultimatum. You have nine months to fix it, or else that ultimatum could look like one of these three scenarios. Which one would be most likely to get you to 95% occupancy?
- Imagine for a moment that your boss (or the universe, if you are THE BOSS) came to you and said, “Hit 95% occupancy or die!”
Maybe that is extreme. How about this instead?
- Imagine for a moment that your boss (or the universe, if you are THE BOSS) came to you and said, “Hit 95% occupancy or end up homeless living on the streets of your city.”
Or, less drastic but more real …
- Imagine for a moment that your boss (or the universe, if you are THE BOSS) came to you and said, “Hit 95% occupancy or you will lose your job and your status.”
The last one is of course the most realistic, but play the game with me. Close your eyes and imagine the first one is your reality. Would you stay the course and hope the universe will get you to 95% occupancy or do something big, bold, and radical because you are in a desperate situation?
Two Kinds of Risks and Regrets
There are two kinds of risks/regrets that leaders face — really that humans face. The first is the risk of radical change, where, if the change works, the results will be spectacular, or if it does not work, there will be a complete failure and abject humiliation.
The second risk is staying the course that you have mapped out, figured out, and then hoping that it will get better, or in the case of senior living, hoping demographics will make all things better.
It turns out, the research shows that people are more likely to regret staying the course than taking the “big risk,” even if the big risk fails.
I see senior living organizations, senior living leaders, who are really struggling have cash flow problems, turnover problems, culture problems, and yet continue to do the same old thing. It both pains me and puzzles me. It is not in my emotional DNA to keep doing what is clearly not working.
Worth Thinking About …
Can you think of a single senior living organization that was struggling and stayed the course where the results were spectacular? Can you think of a single non-senior-living organization where this was true? We could name senior living organizations and senior living leaders who stayed the course and are no longer leading. In some cases, their organizations no longer exist.
If you are struggling as a leader, whether department head or CEO, I beg you to experiment in big ways. It is ultimately the only path to salvation. And … if the scenario were life and death, you would do whatever it took.
Better to go down in a ball of flames than a puddle of regret.