Creating Change – Is It Us?


A very well-established retirement community has undergone an identity crisis of sorts over the last ten years.

If there is any constant to the organization, it’s change. In fact, so much change has occurred or at least been attempted to be implemented that nothing ever lasts to improve the community. Between the executive leadership and the board of trustees having differing opinions on the direction of the organization, the wheels have spun so much over the years that the vehicle is not only staying put, but sinking deeper and deeper because of the holes they’re digging for themselves. Credibility in the region has dropped, financials are struggling due to lower occupancy in the retirement homes, and residents and employee engagement are at all-time lows.

The cause of these changes that have resulted in disruption are due to the following and many other reasons over the years:

  • Entrenched leadership creating rabbit trails to throw others off the scent of their true agenda
  • Poor planning led to poor implementation, then a new initiative to swing the other way and fix what was wrong, only to result in another poor choice with more repercussions
  • Leadership and a board that are not aligned with what the true (and stated) vision of the organization should be
  • Change for purely financial reasons
  • Change to be seen as trendy and relevant
  • Not being satisfied to see long-term change, looking for the short-term results of a “magic” plan

At no time did any of these new plans measure the core measure of successful changes:

Is It Us?

One of the most successful companies I know had this item as their last of four measures to ensure a strategic plan, marketing initiative, or operational change would be successful. If they had a great campaign, that would make money and come in on budget, and be exciting, they would scrap it if it did not represent their brand, culture, or company values. They held so close to their culture that straying from their values would lead them to become something they did not want to be. This guided them through some difficult economic times to become a solid brand and strong both financially and culturally.

That’s why the launch of “New Coke” in the mid-1980’s failed so miserably. At the end of the day, it wasn’t who Coca-Cola was. It was a poor misaligned plan which lost millions of dollars, ruined careers, and took them years to recover from.

If the retirement community had adopted the “Is It Us?” question before embarking on those failed plans, things would be much different. Decisions in leadership and succession planning would have been in line with their mission. Care for their residents would have been Job #1 at all times. Money would not have been wasted on failed initiatives and put pressure to recover them elsewhere. And checks and balances would have helped each person to be accountable to the residents and staff, resulting in alignment of agendas and less dysfunction in the organization.

Change is good, but the right change is better. Make sure every change is punctuated with the question “Is It Us?” for effective results.

Have an “Is It Us?” change story to share? Share with us below!

(image: autismafter16)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on March.28.2016, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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