By Steve Moran

David told me the story of how the sidewalk homeless problem at one of their high-end Southern California communities got so bad that residents were threatening to move out. When the residents were turned loose to solve the problem, they went from despair to delight.

So what: When the executive director and senior management couldn’t figure it out and the residents were in mutiny, the executive director suggested involving the residents. Senior leadership (David) felt that residents paying big dollars for lux service would not be interested in helping. But being a wise leader, he agreed to let the executive director give it a go.

The residents took it on; the solution was simple and elegant and needed the residents’ support to work. Because the residents were involved — more than involved, they actually found the solution — and it worked beautifully.

The Lessons:

  • Residents want you to succeed at least as much as you want to succeed.
  • Residents who can afford senior living (particularly high-end senior living) are really smart, or they couldn’t afford the product.
  • Smart senior leaders are willing to let local leadership try experiments.
  • Your residents would love to help you figure out your occupancy problems, staffing problems, and operational problems.
  • A note of caution — some won’t want to help, and that’s okay.

How are you doing with involving your residents in growing your business … other than collecting money from them?