As we enter into December, each of us at Retirement DYNAMICS looks forward to the holiday season. Parties, shopping, giving, thanking, and maybe even enjoying a few days of rest! But, it has also become a habit of our team, every year, to reflect upon the previous 11 months. And to say Thank You to each of you who have helped make 2018 our best year yet!
The gratitude we feel for our clients truly becomes stronger each year. Not only do we have clients that have been with us for many years, but our clients are the reason that many of our newer clients have found us. When we say “our clients are our partners”, we mean it. Thank you for supporting us, pushing us, challenging us, and promoting us - we are proud to say that we have celebrated our 17th year in business in 2018. We are deeply grateful for every single partner, in every single community.
In the spirit of sharing our blessings, we also encourage each of you to take time, or even create a new tradition in your community, to demonstrate gratitude to your teams. It is interesting to note that one definition of “reflection” means “casting back light”, as well as “giving back”. Reflection should not be a solitary process, but one that you share, and in which you invite others to participate.
6 Questions to Guide Reflection
We hope these questions will help you enjoy the process of reflecting upon 2018! And if it generates any ideas you want to share with us, please do! We'd love to hear feedback!
1. What were our greatest successes?
In our industry, our greatest successes are often highly visible.
- A brand new community that finally opened.
- A new memory care neighborhood.
- A wonderfully expanded fitness center.
- New residents meeting new friends, and the sounds of laughter throughout the community.
But we don't want to overlook the also notable – but less visible – successes. A sales team that's in sync, works well together, and is the best in the market at bringing your brand to prospects.Increasing occupancy month over month. Increasing profitability year over year. Positive trends with resident satisfaction surveys. Take note of your unique successes that might be less visible and celebrate them with your team, your residents, families, and your community partners.
2. What surprised you?
Life is always full of surprises, so this might be a long list. Whether for better or worse, those things that surprise us often point out how adaptable and capable we are. Sudden changes to costs, staffing, regulations, and health care laws can play havoc with the best of business plans. But add to these hurricanes, wildfires, flooding or tainted water or food supplies, and you've got surprises that are completely unpredictable. While the ripple effects of catastrophes can be long-lasting, it also teaches our industry how to be as prepared as possible for the unexpected.
3. What did we learn in 2018?
There's no doubt that we live in an era where we truly do “learn something new each day”. Just look at your smart-phone or your I-Pad! But what stands out? We know communities that began a program to reward staff who learn a second language. We have witnessed communities that have driven sales by savvy marketing to both parents and their retirement aged children. And the vast array of fitness and wellness trends that many of our partners are launching with great enthusiasm is stunning, to say the least. The opportunities for growth, learning, and change and isn't just what we want to provide to our seniors, it's the way we want to approach our work as well.
4. What trends will be front and center in 2019?
Trends are tricky. Trend awareness is critical in any business, but in ours, it's particularly important to understand the overlap between trends and our individual markets. 'Baby boomers retiring in droves' may not describe markets in certain northern or western states. 'Aging in place' can mean 'in my own home' to some, or 'in a CCRC' to others. And how are our marketing messages changing to reflect our understanding of what our prospects truly want today, as opposed to 10 or 20 years ago? Affinity branding is now, more than ever, focusing messages on who seniors ARE, as opposed to what they want to DO in a CCRC. Today, choosing a CCRC based on religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, occupation, education, or a strong avocation is on the rise, while age-centric identification is in decline.
5. What are our goals for 2019?
We always have goals, don't we?But this question asks you to be specific and concrete.Goals – if meaningful, relevant and backed up with a plan – will provide you and your team with focus, direction, and a sense of shared purpose.And remember these keys to setting goals:
- They should be achievable – but challenging.
- They should be measurable.
- They should be doable - your team has the tools in place to achieve the goal.
- They should be agreed upon.
- There is a specific, tactical plan to get there.
6. How can we be truly INNOVATIVE in 2019?
- Where do we shine?
- What do our residents love about us?
- What do our competitors take note of?
- What do our referral partners say about us?
Taking the best and most unique assets of our business to the next level, and making it even better is a sure path to true innovation. Are the new designs for our skilled nursing enhancements as resident focused as possible? Will we delight our skilled residents instead of just “nurse” them? Are our dining options competitive with local restaurants, rather than just with other RC's? Are we making the most of our outdoor spaces with active, not just passive opportunities for enjoyment? We are in a business of endless change.But we can lead and drive that change, instead of react to it. And when we do that, we really will believe that 2019 was our best year yet!
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