“You’re wrong,” said Tom Grape and then he . . .

By Steve Moran

“You’re wrong,” said Tom Grape and then he . . .

I am sitting on an airplane heading home from Chicago where Denise Boudreau Scott and I facilitated a CEO Roundtable on the human capital challenges in senior living. It was an invite only event and we determined that it would not work unless it was a very small group of very high level leaders.  

The mix included C-suite leaders from some of the largest senior living companies in the country, leaders from small emerging companies, and single site CCRCs. It included for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.   

The Cool, the Weird and the Scary

Toward the end of the day we were having a vigorous conversation about the types of leaders an organization might find at the property or campus level. I made this statement . . .  

“I think it might actually be better to have good leaders who are running their communities well than to have superstars that, while doing a great job, are likely to become restless and move-on.”

I was kinda proud of this wonderful insight and thought . . . I saw some heads nodding . . . and then . . .

Tom Grape, with Benchmark said “I think you are wrong,” he then went on to talk about why. It got worse, several others agreed with him. I gave kind of a pathetic response that I was misunderstood.  

Tom responded “I still think you are wrong,” and then with a grin on his face tossed a wadded up ball of paper toward me.   

A Fine, Fine Moment

I am like most people, it feels much better when people say “you’re right” than when people say “you’re wrong.” In fact, even though my writing style and content opens me up to criticism more than any other writer in the industry, it stings when someone says “you’re wrong.” A couple of things about this:

  1. The sting part is an emotional reaction not a logical one. Logically I love it when I get challenged. I wish I could figure out how to get past that emotional thing, but honestly don’t know how or if it is even possible. I was not/am not quite certain I should even write this because I would never want anyone to hold back because I might feel bad.

  2. When I let logic reign supreme, I relish the criticism. While there is no doubt that praise feels better, I am not sure I have ever learned very much from saying things like “That was amazing,” “I loved what you said,” “Your writing is the best ever.” This doesn’t mean though you should stop saying those things . . .

At the end of the day I hold in highest regard my friends and work colleagues like Tom Grape, who know it is good, noble, even great to say, “You’re wrong.” He knows I know saying “you’re wrong” is all about figuring things out, important things that make the world of senior living better for residents and team members.

A Word About the CEO Roundtable on Human Capital

I am not quite prepared to write very much about what transpired and where we go from here except to say it was a thing that exceeded expectations by a country mile and at the same time appears to have morphed into something much bigger than we could have imagined.

We will be making available in some form, an ebook that is designed to help the whole industry grow in the area of recruiting and retaining team members.

And finally . . . Okay, Tom, I admit it. You are right.