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CW 93: Kathy Parry

In this episode, Kathy Parry, Corporate Energy Expert is going to help you find the POWER. As we looked at in her first episode with BTG, a fully functioning circuit needs to have a power source. What is going to give your teams the ENERGY they need to show up, power up and serve?

Kathy identifies three power sources for you to consider for your organization and teams. Get ready to grab the right batteries in the form of clear goals, contributions and civility! Listeners will take away tips to use these batteries with your teams. When teams are fully energized, retention, resident satisfaction and engagement stay high!

Powered by supporting partners AccushieldEnquireLTC REIT,  OneDayMeridian CapitaliN2LSolinity, and The Bridge Group Construction.

Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday, I’m Kathy Perry, corporate energy expert. And what that means is I help organizations identify what their powering, what their goals are, where the energy drains may be happening and how to power up senior living teams so they can be productive, engaged, and ready to run a fully powered team. I’m gonna give you some tips and tactics for that today in power up and perform, evaluate your energy drains, find your energy sources and implement a power up plan.

So in the last episode, when I was with you, we looked at the five types of energy drains your senior living teams may be facing. And really let’s be honest. Most of us are facing more than one type. If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to take a listen to that episode because we’re gonna build on that episode this week and the next time I’m with you as well.


Next month, we’re going to get all of that good stuff. We’re going to get the power. As we looked at in my first episode with Bridge the Gap, a fully functioning circuit, we’re kind of looking at our own energy and equating it to a circuit, needs to have a power source. What is going to give our teams that energy they need to show up, power up, serve residents, stay engaged and stay employed. I know so many are struggling with some retention. So those are the types of things we want to be powering up. Well, I literally just got off the phone today with a senior living director looking for some help. And she said, “what can we be doing to get buy-in from all team members so they don’t decide to stay home and watch Netflix or play video games.” I really felt for her, what she described is a team circuit, an energy circuit with some missing energy sources, right?


It’s not fully functioning. And I know many of you are missing those sources too. I work with senior living organizations and I understand the types of burnout you are facing, but to re-energize, we really have to begin to identify some of those organizational power sources. And we’re gonna get to that. Today we’re going to look at three and next time we’re going tolook at four of those energy sources. But first I want to take you back a few years to introduce you to a critical power source. In my son’s lives. I have four children and my two boys are sandwiched right in the middle of two girls, JP and Graham, who are actually now 25 and 22. But when they were younger, they loved all things operated by remote control. Do you remember those days of radio shack and how they always had remote controlled cars stacked up right at the front of the store?


Well, my boys would save up their birthday money and pick out the fastest, flashiest, remote controlled cars. And I’ll admit they were fun. Who doesn’t love the monster truck chasing down the cat at or running over their sister’s dolls? They’d fill up the back of the trucks with things. It was fun. But there was always one drawback to the fun. The batteries would drain pretty quickly and run out. And they weren’t the batteries that you always have on hand, like the double A’s right? You need those. But they were C batteries, the remote controlled cars, and most of the toys that many of us grew up with, take C batteries. The ones you have to intentionally keep stocked for this high level of power output so the toys wouldn’t stop working. Well, sometimes I messed up, you know, a lot of stuff on my, I played with four kids and I had no backup batteries.


And then the fun ended for the day. Well, WOMP WOMP, sorry, boys time to do some chores. 

Like my boys with remote cars, you and your teams may have been on high output and still on high output it and your C batteries are running out of power. You may say, “well, okay, Kathy, what are my C batteries? And that’s a great question. I’ve identified seven C sources of power that senior living teams need to stay powered up, keep your teams engaged. And, and as my client identified the problem just this morning, showing up and buying into your culture of care. So let’s get out that pack of C batteries. Today I’m gonna discuss the first three and the next time four more. 

My first C battery to power up your teams, clear goals communicated, and you might be thinking, well, that’s a really basic one.


Of course we have goals. I’m quite sure many of you have organizational values, mission statements, taglines, all those things that we use to identify and differentiate ourselves onvjust for our teams or even in marketplace, but do your teams, qnd maybe you are a manager of a team, a director of a team. Do you have your own goals and values identified so that people working with you and on your team understand? 

One of the most important things I feel that any team can do is clearly communicate the goals of the team. That’s a double C, and go over them really every day, ingrain them in your team. Let’s say you’re the director of dining, sir. And I met many of you last year at Association for Healthcare Food Service conference, that was a lot of fun love being with my foodies. You know your team’s goal is to get everyone basically happily fed. That’s our basic goal, right, for that team.


And I’m guessing everyone on your team understands that. But what if your goal was much more specific and included your team right there in the goal? So when that was stated or written or posted on the wall, your team would feel a little different on that buy-in. Wouldn’t that make your teams feel like they were part of it. And what if the a goal was reiterated and was spoken and talked about on a daily basis or a weekly basis, or again, put on a wall. So everyone knew. Wouldn’t that help the team members identify even more closely and buy into that mission? So a clearer goal for a team may then sound like “as a dining service team, we’re gonna show up for each other every day, knowing that by supporting each other, our role at get this, this is my name made up for my fictitious senior living residents, our role at Joful Meadows to give our residents the best possible dining experience will be consistently met with 90% satisfaction scores.


So let’s unpack that a little bit. I’ve actually put in, “we are going to show up for each other every day.” So knowing that is an important part of the goal. So when someone’s saying, “oh, I’m not sure I want to go in today, cuz I’m really binging on that Netflix series.” But knowing that they are part of that goal is really important and supporting each other. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about, you know, understanding what we do and we contribute, but supporting each other is a really clear goal. You can spell that out even further. How do we support each other? Well, if someone doesn’t have time to get to a task, we’re not going to moan about it. We’re gonna step in. And of course having those measurable goals, the last thing I put is to be met with 90% satisfaction score, something measurable.


So next time when I’m together and we talk about celebrating, we’ll know what things we’re celebrating. So a next step on clear goals communicated, how, and when will you talk about these goals? Is it gonna be daily, hourly? Are you gonna have some sort of signage made, get a shortcut for the name of that goals too. I one time worked with a team and we had QCs, we’d always say, what was your QCs today? And that was Quality Customer Service. Well, what if you on your dining team, as our example continues, what if you had an EDE today? Exceptional Dining Experience. And so just becomes ingrained on the team that you have a goal that you all work towards. So that’s a first C battery clear goals communicated at every level, not just organizational, not just department, but even down to the teams.


The next C battery is contributions. Well, everybody contributes right? Or do they? Well, the problem with contributions often arises because different types of communications or miscommunications, or misunderstandings about what we all contribute to teams. Let me explain a little further. One of the exercises I do with senior living teams is individual contribution statements because what an individual contributes to a team or organization may be different in their eyes than their director or their manager. And the quickest way for a team to lose energy is to have a miscommunication around contributions. And maybe you’ve experienced this. Maybe you’ve heard things like, “that isn’t my job,” or “that isn’t in my job description.” Or you hear about shifts leaving the next shift with more work to do. They didn’t finish up. I hear about that a lot. And while we know that many, so many of us in senior living are doing multiple jobs that may not be in our job descriptions. We still need to acknowledge that the contributions are happening. So a great way to do this is to have each member of the team create what they contribute. And that’s what I call this individual contribution statement. You may be shocked. I recently did a version of this with this exercise with a senior living team. And I asked them to write down three things they did that were not in their job description, answers that I heard range from cheerleader, food runner, janitor, social worker.


There are so many things that we take responsibility for and we want to, because we are carrying communities and we want to get the work done. But when that work isn’t recognized, or if somebody feels that their contributions are going unnoticed, they lose energy for being on that team. It’s wonderful that so many of us do step up and so many do step out of their written roles. And I, I work also with some HR professionals and I’m hearing over and over, “hey, we gotta start rewriting those job descriptions because COVID just disrupted so many job descriptions,” 

But as organizations and teams, we need to acknowledge all contributions. People leave when their contributions are not acknowledged. So great exercise to do with your team, take an assessment of what they’re contributing and ask them what they feel like they’re contributing. That acknowledgement will begin to power some people back up.


Some people back up our next C battery is civility. Ooh, this one’s a big one. Powered up teams we know run best with a big civility battery, beccause when we’re stressed out, no doubt, we are mostly stressed out and reactions to stress include some reactions that aren’t always the best in a team setting. And they might include anger or crankiness or just a basic impatient with others. And they manifest in things like poor attitude, unfriendly tones, rolling of eyes. And then those are just the subtle bits of inability. And they can get on to bigger ones where people don’t want to show up if there’s a bully on their team or there is language being used that makes people uncomfortable. All of these things can drain teams of their civility, which leaves people leaving or acting out in other that affect how you care for your residents becomes very uncomfortable.


So how do you power up civility? Bring it to the table, define incivility on a team. What are the actions that are unacceptable and what is the method in place to work through it? I know because I’ve heard from many directors, you often end up playing playground referee in these squabbles that could have been prevented. If civility had just been defined and talked about like it’s a positive being civil towards one another, kindness. I have a friend Dr. Renee Thompson, if you’re ever looking for more work on civility and healthcare go to Healthy Workforce Institute, man, she is the best on this. So setting up civility sessions, just a few minutes at the huddle to identify what are incivil types of behaviors, or doing an online training for directors. These are the types of things that power up teams for caring for each other.


We are in the caring business and I’ve heard from many people in senior living who are getting out and realizing, “hey, we are in the caring business, but we need to be caring for one another as well.” That’s where some of these civility batteries come in. So those are our first C batteries to power up your teams and organizations. Clear goals communicated civility, and of course contributions. What are people doing for one another? So next time I will be dressing four more of the important energy sources that are gonna keep your teams productive, engaged, and caring. But I want to leave you with one last story. I’m gonna take you back to those boys of mine and their remote controlled cars. Well recently my son who is now 25 was home for a visit, and one of his friends from college stopped over because he was all excited.


He had recently studied and received his com commercial drone pilot license. And you know, I’ve known this guy for a while and this is a new passion of his and a new career path he’s taking. So he brought his drone over his commercial grade drone, and he was all excited to show us. And we watched with so much anticipation and fun on his cell phone as he kind of took us on a little 10 minute tour of our neighborhood, he kind of sent it out a couple miles. And after about 20 minutes, he said, “my battery’s getting a little low.” And so of course I was curious. I said, “well, what will happen when it crashes?” And he goes, no, it knows to slow down. And it even has a way to land if the battery gets too low. And I said, but then what kind of battery do you use?


I’m going back to thinking about these remote control cars. Of course he says, “oh, it’s rechargeable. I have another one I can put in.” And that got me thinking about this podcast. We can recharge and we are rechargeable, but we have to have those batteries in place that we can put in and doing a little bit of this work to think about what are the things that power up our teams so you can be ready for when you start getting low on power, critically important. Until next time, think about upgrading your batteries, recharging, and powering up your teams. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday, please connect with me at That’s BTG This is Kathy Parry. Corporate Energy Expert, and until then keep burning bright.


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CW 93: Kathy Parry