I have one huge deficit . . . I actually have no idea what I am doing.

By Steve Moran

Every day I wake up thinking about how to make Senior Housing Forum more valuable to the senior living sector and how to be a better, more effective publisher. I have one huge deficit though . . . I actually have no idea what I am doing.

What I mean by that is that I have no journalism or publishing experience or education. Adding to that challenge I have not owned my own business for decades. In fact — when I last did it — I was really bad at it . . . which is why I quit doing it!


On one hand, not having the education or experience can be seen as a deficit and I guess in some ways it is. The flip side, though, is that I have no preconceived notion of what it should be like. So each day, I read stuff, think about things, and have conversations with people who are a lot smarter than I am.  

Right now, Senior Housing Forum is in a significant expansion period. Denise Boudreau-Scott and I are growing our leadership development offerings (her full-time gig so I get to leverage that). And now we have this new “Women in Senior Living” series we are birthing. All amazing efforts that have a single goal: taking this already amazing senior living sector and being a part of making it even better.

Figuring It Out

Growth means increasing complexity — more things to think about, more things to worry about, more people, more moving parts. This means more time spent figuring things out. More and more I have discovered that — even after I figure out next steps — it helps a lot to bounce my thinking off people in my wisdom tribe. This tribe includes people like Denise Boudreau-Scott, Denise McIntee, Kent Mulkey, Fara Gold, Veronica Barber, and some others (someone is going to be unhappy I forgot them I bet).  

But I have one more person who really stands in a class by himself, and that person is Jack Cumming.

Not only is Jack a regular contributor to Senior Housing Forum . . . as a senior living consumer, he is my very best, my very wisest “go-to” advisor for my most puzzling leadership, business questions. He is the epitome of what Chip Conley talks about in his book “Wisdom at Work, The Making of a Modern Elder”.

So I Got to Thinking

One of the things I hear a lot when talking to leaders in our field is that we simply do not have enough excellent executive directors. Therefore, I find myself thinking that if there were a “wisdom guru” program (there must be a better word, because I have come to hate the concept of programs) — where really wise business leaders could spend an hour or two mentoring the executive director in the community they live in — that many of those not-quite-good-enough executive directors might be grown into amazing leaders.

Risks: Why It’s a Bad Idea

Some of you are reading this and thinking, “Is Steve smoking crack?” The answer is no — never have — but I do know there are some hurdles that will need to be dealt with. I also know that not every community will have someone who can do this and that even when there are people who can do this, the capabilities will vary.

Not every community will have a Jack Cumming . . . and I am not giving him up. But any little thing can help, and it is sure a lot better than churning through one more community leader.

Anybody else already doing this? I would LOVE to hear about it.