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CW 102: Kathy Parry

Kathy Parry, Corporate Energy Expert helps you turn on the POWER. As we saw in her first episode of the Contributor Wednesday series, a fully functioning circuit needs to have a power source. What is going to give our teams the ENERGY they need to show up, power up and serve? In this episode, it’s time to get all those power sources turned on.

Are you ready to ACTIVATE? That takes one special part of the circuit, the SWITCH. With worn out teams, long to-do lists and regulations, how do you prioritize a Power UP plan? Kathy shares ways to get your teams prepared to burn brightly. Don’t miss the end of the episode when Kathy shares the #1 thing needed by everyone in senior living to create that power. When teams are fully energized, retention, resident satisfaction and engagement stay high!

To learn more about Kathy please visit AND check out her YouTube channel JUST for senior living professionals – Power UP Senior Living.


Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday. I’m Kathy Perry, corporate energy expert, and I help organizations identify what they’re powering. Those are your goals, where are the energy drains maybe happening and how to keep team members productive and engaged, and really running a fully powered team. We know that many of us have been burned out, worned out, stressed out, in senior living, so I’m hoping that these sessions I’ve been doing on power up and perform have been helping. Helping you evaluate your energy drains, find your energy sources, and what we’re getting to now, implementing an energy plan, a power up plan. 

I know many of you are burned out. We’ve talked about that, and it’s of course all over and no doubt. There’s been a lot on our plates and our teams for the last couple years, but it really is time to re-energize, right? I’m hearing it from wherever I go. It’s like, yeah, it’s time we wanna start, you know, getting back to our new normal and really feeling that energy around senior living again. And this series has been all about helping you find the ways to build that energy. Not just for your organizations, but your teams, and even you personally. It isn’t easy because I know you’re pulled so many directions. But it is imperative, so you can care for your residents, retain your teams, that’s a big one. You know, when people are worn out, they leave. We want you to leave energized at the end of the day, right? You’re in this for a reason and feeling that sense of accomplishment and purpose will energize many of us, but not when we’re so overwhelmed. 


In the last several episodes of my power up and perform, guest contributor on Bridge the Gap, I’ve taken you on a tour of the circuit, the circuit that powers things. You know, I took you back to middle school science class and that rudimentary circuit that you built. Maybe you remember your middle school science teacher’s name. I definitely remember the day we showed up and that circuit was there. Well, the pieces of the circuit include the thing that you’re powering, right? The light bulb. I encourage you to look at all the events, the tasks, the goals that you power each day. That was a couple episodes ago. If you haven’t listened to all the episodes in my power up and perform series, go back because there’s some golden nuggets in there that might help you and your teams really energize. 

Then we took a look at all those wires, the pathways to the energy you devote to your teams and your organization. Are those pathways a big, tangled mess? I told a story about the first house I owned and all of my electrical circuitry in that house was a tangled mess. Or do you have some really clear goals? Is your circuitry clear and you know how you’re getting things done? In that episode, we talked about getting clear on how you get things done, because when you feel disjointed and things are confused, you do feel more drained at the end of your day. 

Then finally, in the last two episodes, we looked at all the different power sources you might be using to get this circuit powered up and we use the C batteries. If you go back and you listen, we talked about everything from contributing to civility, celebrating, all kinds of things that really get teams powered back up. If you haven’t taken a listen, go back and get some of those power up tips. 


Well, in today’s episode, we’re going to get to the final piece of the circuit. You know it? We haven’t talked about it at all, but it can’t work without it, the switch. The thing that activates your entire organization or team, the thing that puts this thing in motion, that switch. How do you get the energy flowing power to your team so that engagement, that productivity, the attention are burning bright? It’s the switch. I’m going to get how in a couple of minutes so keep listening, and listen to the end because I’ve got some great tips on getting activated within your teams and organization. 


But first let me take you to a home improvement land. Oh yeah, I love a good home improvement project. I just painted a bathroom this weekend. But several years ago, I had moved into a new house and you know, sometimes you get a handyman around. I hate to say it, I have a husband that is not handy. On the other hand, I think I can do everything because I watch HGTV, right? 

Well, I had a new light fixture, and being all inspired by the HGTV shows and Joanna Gaines and the property brothers, I wanted instant results. I didn’t want to wait for somebody to come hang this new light fixture in my front hall. I wanted it done today. You know that feeling? I went to YouTube university, and I taught myself how to wire the fixture. I watched several videos. I went out and I got one of those testers to make sure the wires aren’t live. It lights up if there’s power flowing through it. I actually did it. Somehow, I got it done. I was really nervous because after the fixture was up and all the wires were up and I, you know, I did the thing where you scrape the wire, you pull the coating off so you can fix it all together. Well now it came time to see if I’d done it right, time to flip the switch. Now, if you’ve done your own home improvement, you know, that’s a scary moment. Would I catch my house on fire, you know, would I get that electrical shock? I was pretty nervous, but I had confidence in what I’d done and the videos I’d watched, so I did the whole 1, 2, 3. I flipped the switch and boom. No, it didn’t blow up. Instead, I had a bright, beautiful light in my front entry. I think Joanna Gaines would be proud of me, and I didn’t burn the house down. 

Well in building your team’s back up after this energy draining couple of years, you might be ready to flip that switch. I’m gonna give you a few tips on how to activate this, you know, call it this power up plan or this reset plan, this remodel, whatever it is for your team. A few things to do to flip that switch. The first is the mindset switch needs to be flipped on.


Now as a professional speaker, I go to a lot of senior living conferences where I speak, and I get to engage with so many of you. I absolutely love it, but I hear a lot of the same language being used. We don’t have the people. We’re short staffed all the time. We can’t afford to keep bringing on these temps. We’re tired of the regulations changing. People don’t wanna be in senior living. Ugh, such a negative mindset! I’m not saying I hear it all the time or that’s all I hear, but many of you know it. We need to do a little bit of switching that. Some of your power switches are off, when it comes to mindset. The first one we wanna switch is the mindset in senior living. 

Now I actually just got off a call with another Bridge the Gap contributor, and that is Chris Hines. If you haven’t gone back and listened to his episode about his hashtag, #SeniorLivingLife. Please, do yourself a favor and go listen to that. Chris is just one of those many voices who’s elevating the mindset and the language around senior living. Gotta flip the switch from the negative, of this nativity that’s found in the media, negativity that people’s perceptions. We’ve gotta elevate it. Elevate on your social media and your conversations. You are doing incredible work, caring for frail and the fragile and the grandmas and the grandpas. Let’s elevate that. Let’s flip the mindset of everyone we come into contact with and turn that switch on, so your vocation can burn bright. That’s your first switch. 


The second switch is to create a power-up vision on your team or organization. Unfortunately for the last couple years, we’ve grown kind of used to all of our lights, being a little bit dim. In order to flip the switch for a brighter bulb, we need to create the vision. The visions on our teams, our organizations, or us personally, what do you look like powered up? 

First, who in your organization is energized? Why don’t you go ahead and tap into their energy? I like to say, you know, those people you wanna be around, they just give and give. Maybe it’s someone you know, even on your janitor team. Maybe, it’s someone in dining. Really elevate them and let them know, Hey, you are energized. How can we share that around your organization? Tap into those people first. 

Next, what can you do to energize your team? In a recent study in the Harvard business review, on engagement in the workplace. Studies show that employees say that once their basic needs are met, they’re more powerfully motivated by feelings rather than my material features. You can give the money, you can give the benefits, you can give the signing bonuses, but at the end of the day, people just wanna be related to as people, not workers. They want to have that interaction. They want to be understood. Can you begin to energize your team by having some of those conversations about them? Get specific about what an energized team or organization looks like. 

We talk about goals and vision statements, but nothing happens without a plan. Starting to really plan this energy team, the best way to energize is to prioritize energy and engagement. In that same Harvard business review study, only 37% of employees said their organization understood what they needed in their personal lives and for their families. A team is never gonna really feel energized if they feel that the place they show up to every day doesn’t get or understand them.

We are in the caregiving business. To power up your teams, we need to show that we care about them as well, not just the people that they are serving. Really getting and digging in deep about how to create this energy within teams and how to care for your teams. Once you start to see that, people begin to engage more. People are like, oh, they get me, they understand me, they know what my family needs, they know how drained I am. Conversations can begin to happen. That second piece of getting that switch powered up after we change the mindset is creating that vision on a team for what is an energized team. Getting our empathy in line for our team members, really understanding, so you can help them burn brighter and shine and show up for your residents. 


Finally, you need to flip the switch and activate a plan. Okay? So we have this vision. We have a mindset. A plan is necessary because a goal without a plan is really just a wish. Maybe you’ve heard that one before. We can’t just wish that light to burn bright, right? We have to make the plan. How are you going to increase the engagement on your team? Create that brighter vision for energized teams? You know, someone put it to me in a way that really stuck with me my entire life. I was expecting my second child, and he’s right now, 26. So 26 years ago, I was sitting around anticipating having another child in my life. My first child was under two and I thought, this is crazy. How am I gonna do it? And I was sitting around with some other mothers and they said, oh, well just know that once the second child, you will never cook again. You just won’t have time to make dinners. I thought, oh my gosh, I love to cook. I love to make dinner. In my next episode, next month, you’ll learn a little bit more behind why I do what I do and how I believe that fueling our bodies is so important for staying energized. We’re gonna talk about that next month when we talk about personally energizing. 

So I’m lamenting this whole conversation about, Hmm, I’m never gonna cook cause I’m gonna be so busy. A friend turned to me at this conversation and she just looked at me and she already had two children and she was wise. We’re friends to this day, and she just looked at me and she said, you will always make time for what is important to you. That is so true in everything we do! 

But we have to plan for that sometimes. Creating this energized team, this energized vision, is it important to you? Is this something you wanna work on? Have you noticed your team’s feeling unenergized, not showing up. 

Now, obviously we don’t have time on this podcast to create your big audacious, energized plan. But I do have tools and work with organizations on engagement, visions, and plans. Many of those tips have been given in my previous episodes. If you wanna really important first step, put it on your calendar. Make time for the plan. Create a team around it. You know, maybe you’re just thinking, ah, my own shift team isn’t that engaged or energized. Start there. The best way to create powered up teams and organizations is to flip the switch and start now. You know you have tools, but remember making a wish isn’t gonna make it happen.


Well, let’s go back for a minute to my light wiring project that I started off talking about in the switch. The most basic concept we need and a powered up team or organization, is like that first time I flipped that switch after I wired that light. The thing I needed most in order to flip that switch was trust. Trust that I followed directions, trust that I had the right equipment, trust that I paid attention when I was looking at the color coded wires. For your teams and organizations to be powered up, there must be trust. One of the things I love about the Bridge the Gap team and their mission is it’s one of the founding principles. That may be why you follow along and get the mission, but trust is so important on teams, especially when we want them engaged and we want them productive. 

There is no power on a team if employees don’t trust that you care about their health, their wellbeing, their career path. Your families of residents will not trust their loved ones with your care, if they don’t see the energy behind your work. Trust is how everything is activated. If your teams or your organization have an issue with trust, start there. The bulb will be dim until that one thing is restored. That’s kind of a brief look about that activation of your plan and powering up. You know, we can do everything with thinking we want this circuit to work well, but finding the trust to get your teams powered up and starting the plan, changing the mindset, all of those things are going to get you re-energized. That’s my goal when I work with senior living professionals! finding that energy, that passion that fuels you to keep serving the people you serve.


So the next time I will be addressing some critical ways to power up you and your teams personally. As I mentioned, employees want to know you care about their wellbeing, but if everyone’s burned out, maxed outs, stressed out, how can we care? I’ve touched on this before. I’m actually a former wellness and nutrition coach. A lot of that goes back to, if you listen to my first episode, being the caregiver of my special needs daughter who had the disease of no energy. The first book I wrote is titled The Ultimate Recipe for an Energetic Life. Next month, you are going to get a dose of information to help you and your team members personally energize. Yes, I’ve heard from so many. There is fatigue. There is stress. We go home worn out, and it’s harder to get up the next day and go serve the people we’re gonna serve when we’re worn out. 


And if you need tips, now look for my YouTube channel. It’s called Power Up Senior Living with Kathy Perry. There are tips on stress. There are videos on engaging your teams, and I’m going to be doing interviews with other engaged and energized senior living professionals. So go find that on YouTube, I’m always adding new things weekly. So until next time, think about upgrading your batteries, recharging, and powering up your teams. And don’t forget to start with the plan. 

Thanks so much for listening to this week’s Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday. This is Kathy Perry, corporate energy expert. Please connect with me at BTG voice and until then keep burning bright.



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CW 102: Kathy Parry