By Steve Moran

In my recent interview with John Moore, the CEO of Atria, one idea stood out above all others. They called it the One Thing Campaign.

The Idea

The idea is that in nearly every organization people are thinking “If we just did this one thing, we would be so much better.” But then they don’t, because:

  • In too many organizations those ideas never go anywhere.   
  • Team members are not sure their idea is a really good one.  
  • They figure no one will listen anyway.
  • They don’t want to be embarrassed.
  • If it gets done, they won’t get credit for it.

Maybe Like This

I don’t have all the details of how Atria implemented it, but you have enough here to take it and run with it. Here is how I would go about it.

I would start modestly. Maybe in a stand-up meeting or in a single community, I would just casually ask, these questions:

    1. What is one thing that would make your job easier?
    2. What is one thing we could do that would make the lives of residents better?
    3. What is one thing that would make your life easier, that we could help with?
    4. What is one thing that would make our community better for visitors and families? 

I would not ask all at one time. Just pick the one that feels most comfortable to you.

  1. Then do one or two of the suggestions. Pick something that can be done immediately, that will make a difference.
  2. Celebrate what you did, giving all the credit to the person or people who suggested it.
  3. Roll it out in other departments and other communities.
  4. Celebrate your victories.
  5. Invite your residents to make suggestions and do the same thing.

I Promise

I promise these things will happen:

  1. Your retention problems will decrease.
  2. Your recruitment problems will decrease.
  3. Your occupancy will increase.
  4. It will be fun.

Please know that just putting out a suggestion box is not the same thing. That will fail, if you have not already figured this out. This is much more proactive and it works.