By Stephen Tweed
This past week, we spent two days in Clearwater with the Strategic Growth Mastermind Group. This is a group of seven companies – going to ten – who come together twice a year to share ideas, solve problems, and support one another. In between formal meetings, they meet monthly by web conference to continue the conversation.
As I look through my fifteen pages of notes from this meeting, I have gleaned three important lessons from our conversation that you may learn from as well.
1. Everyone has a story. What’s Yours?
We opened our mastermind meeting with a round of conversations where each member told us their story by answering three questions:
- Why did you start your company?
- Why do you do what you do today?
- Why should people buy from you?
Not only was this a great way for members to learn about each other, but it was great practice for our next lesson which is about promoting your agency by telling your story. We connect emotionally with clients, families, referral sources, and caregivers through story. When you master the craft of telling your story, you make that emotional connection that creates competitive advantage in the marketplace.
All things being equal, people would rather do business with a friend. When people know your story, you become more closely connected to them and they want to do business with you.
As I have looked at hundreds of home care agency web sites and promotional brochures, they are way too impersonal. I get no sense of who this company really is, and why I would want to do business with them. When you make your web site, your brochures, and your marketing message more personal, it gives prospective buyers an opportunity to connect with you at an emotional level.
The Mastermind Group reinforced what we have been saying all year. There is a Caregiver Recruiting Crisis in home care and there is no quick fix. The group engaged in an extensive conversation about the results of the 2015 Caregiver Recruiting Study, and how the results of t his study can be applied to improve recruiting.
Then we talked about the reality that better recruiting is not enough. To survive and prosper in home care of the future, you will need to create at “Culture of Attraction”. That means creating a culture in your company where you place people first, and where current and prospective caregivers feel like they are valued and appreciated. They feel like they are doing meaningful work, and they believe they are working for leaders who put service before self. Those that create a culture of attraction will be able to get the caregivers they need to grow and prosper. It won’t be easy, but they will be successful.
The companies that fail to create such a culture will have a constant struggle of get enough caregivers to meet the ever-growing needs. The result will be more and more unfilled shifts, more and more disappointed clients, and more and more burned out schedulers.
3. The Culture is Set by the CEO
There are four factors that influence the culture of your agency:
- The leadership style of the CEO
- The core values that guide your actions and decisions
- The behavior you expect
- The behavior you permit (What you permit you promote)
In the Mastermind Group, we discussed the elements of the ongoing 2016 Home Care CEO Study being conducted by Leading Home Care. Elizabeth Jeffries shared with the group members the three elements of the TriMetrix DNA assessment tool, and explained how this tool will help leaders look in the mirror and get a clearer picture of their own leadership style. Then she discussed how we will use the data from the CEO Leadership Study to learn more about the behavioral styles, workplace motivators, and core competencies of CEOs in top tier home care companies.
How Can YOU Apply These Lessons?
As I was reviewing my notes and thinking about writing this article, it occurred to me that there is a sequence of learning here.
First, work on mastering your story. Develop enough detail in your story that you create an emotional connection with the listener.
Second, use your story as part of creating the culture of your company. Your story reveals the core values that guide your decisions and actions. When you tell your story well, you impart your core values and you attract the people who share those values.
Third, use your story and your culture to attract the kind of caregivers who will create an exceptional customer experience for your clients and family members.
Lessons in Action
You can continue with these lessons through three specific actions:
- Become a Member of the Home Care CEO Forum and participate in our monthly Virtual CEO Round Tables.
- Attend a Home Care Field Trip to see how highly successful home care leaders run their companies.
- Join a Home Care Mastermind Group.
There are still spaces available in the Strategic Focus Mastermind Group. We are just now organizing a $15 Million Mastermind Group. And soon we will be organizing a group in between $4 and $7 Million.