Peder Johnsen, CEO of Concordis Senior Living, uses personal experience to prove three management techniques that work in any business.
By Peder Johnsen
In business, the only thing that matters is what works.
The people in your company who are dealing with your customers – the clerks, the caregivers, the customer service reps – are where the rubber meets the road.
My company, Concordis Senior Living, owns, operates and develops senior housing communities. I make it part of my job to be where the action is and to meet regularly with the people who work directly with our customers every day.
At Concordis, we developed certain practices over the decades, first by building assisted-living communities and then by operating them. These practices work in any business because they keep the leadership actively involved in what’s going well – and not – on the front lines, and they provide a system for regular communication through all layers of the company.
Here are some of my tips for management that produce excellent results:
• Identify the influencers in each work group. As with most businesses, senior living communities require teams of staff, from administrators to housekeepers and everyone in between. Within the various groups that make up your business, identify the key players – the people who influence others’ behavior, whether or not they hold a title or official authority. Meet with them on a regular basis so you can stay plugged in to what’s happening on the front lines.
• Identify areas that need improvement. Talk to them about systems and areas that need to be fixed, overhauled or eliminated, and about how team members are working together. They’ll often have ideas for innovations. The idea is not to look for people or problems to blame, but to work together to develop solutions and improve the team’s overall efforts.
The information you get in speaking with these key players is invaluable. There may be nothing wrong, which is great, but these meetings give you, the CEO or manager, the information you need to constantly improve. It also reinforces the message to employees that they and their ideas are a valued part of the team.
• Figure out those “wildly important goals.” You can have the best people in the field working for you, yet if they’re not specifically guided to a certain goal, they are putting their time and effort toward an end that they’re assuming is correct. CEOs and other upper-level managers have the 30,000-foot view, so it’s up to them to guide everyone beneath them.
Short-term priorities may change slightly or drastically on a regular basis. Your team may be self-sufficient, but its members’ vision is limited to their daily duties. If they don’t know that a goal or objective has changed, they can’t work toward it.
Peder Johnsen is the CEO of Concordis Senior Living, www.concordisseniorliving.com, which owns, operates and develops senior housing communities. He’s a third-generation assisted-living specialist whose grandfather and father built one of the first contemporary-style ALFs in Florida more than 30 years ago. Johnsen took over administration of two small facilities at age 18. Today, he runs the full spectrum of ALFs – from “ALF lites,” where most residents live very independent lifestyles but know assisted-living services are available if they should need them, to homes specializing in care for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. He is an industry leader in staff development and training, and has overseen the development, acquisition and financing of several communities.