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CW 98: Kathy Parry

In this episode, Kathy Parry, Corporate Energy Expert helps you find the POWER. As we looked at in her first episode, 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?

Kathy identifies four MORE power sources for you to consider for your organization and teams. Get ready to grab the right batteries in the form of Concentrated Listening, Calm, Cuisine and Celebrate. AND the one bonus battery that keeps all senior living Powered UP. Listen to the end of the episode to hear about that one! Listeners will take away tips to use these batteries with your teams. 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 Parry, Corporate Energy Expert, and what does that mean? Well, I help organizations identify what they’re powering, their goals, where their energy drains may be happening and how to keep team members productive, engaged, and running fully powered. Sounds like some good stuff, right? That’s what I call power up and perform. And while I’ve been a guest contributor, we’ve been looking at energy drains that happen in senior living, finding the right energy sources, and then finally implementing a power up plan. Two episodes ago, we looked at the five types of energy drains your senior living teams might be facing. And well, let’s be honest. Most of us have more than one type. So if you haven’t had a chance to go listen to that, I encourage you to go back. And then in episode 93, that was my last episode.

We got to the good stuff, the power, as we looked at my first episode in Bridge the Gap, we looked at this fully functioning circuit in all of the power sources that it might need, what is gonna give our teams that energy that they need to show up, power up, and serve. So last time we looked at four of those energy sources, and I like to call them the C batteries that make life simple when they all start with C. So last time we looked at clear goals, contributions, and civility in their role in powering up senior living teams. This episode, we will uncover four more power sources and listen until the end, because I’m going to share the bonus power source that keeps all of senior living running. Well, recently I was traveling to the great state of Nebraska to be with senior living professionals at their annual conference.

And this was one of those trips that yes, involved planes, trains, and automobiles. I had a connecting flight, rented a car, drove for two hours. Well at the airport in Lincoln, Nebraska. When I was leaving to go home after a fabulous event, energizing some senior living professionals and totally enjoyed my time there. I was sitting at one of those benches at the airport that has the charger connected to it. So I just put my phone charger in it, let it sit there for about a half hour as I read. Well, when I went to pick up my phone just before boarding, I realized I wasn’t charging that entire time. I wasn’t getting any juice. I was about to board the plane for two hours with only 17%. Well, have you done this? You get in a little panic. How would I watch the great British baking challenge or catch up on my Bridge the Gap episodes with no power?

Well, luckily I did have one of those portable chargers, those power banks. And I did remember to charge that the night before. So I remembered I pulled it out, it was working fine, but do you do that? Do you panic when your phone battery dips into single digits and you were nowhere near a power source? You just won’t let it die, will you? It makes us nervous. So then I ask, why do we let our teams run on low batteries? There are many types of power sources and we might just not be tapping into all of them. Lots of things give us that energy. So I’m gonna talk about those four more, plus that bonus, stay to the end. Let’s get out those C batteries. So my first C battery today is concentrated listening sounds easy, but so many of us forget to do it.

Now. I work from home and so does my husband. And sometimes I don’t know that he’s got his Bluetooth earbuds in and he might even be on a call and I’ll just start talking. And I get the hand, he puts the hand up in the air and it lets me know, don’t talk. And we might be doing this around our teams, right? We’re tuning them out because we’re just so busy. Noise is coming from other places, other events, other tasks that we’re doing. And we just want to throw that hand up, like, don’t bug me. Don’t listen to me. And that, you know, although it is effective and I get the message when my husband does it, it’s not really welcoming, but what we need to do in our organizations and with our teams. So we feel like we are being heard and everyone is, is to have those safe times and places is and have those signals so that they may know it’s not a good time.


So setting up times that, “Hey, it’s 15 minutes before a shift, this is when I can talk,” sending out those invites, calendar links so that this is when we can have that discussion. And then when it is time to talk, show that you are listening. There’s ways that you can do that. And one of the best ways is by really paying attention. Don’t let other things filter in so that you aren’t paying attention, show that you’re listening. And also listen for what’s not being said in these conversations. So sometimes you might see body language that says, they can’t quite tell you exactly how they’re feeling, or you might see body language that ends up with rolling of the eyes or huffing away, pay attention to those things too, that make sure you’re asking a lot of open ended questions to pull that information out, shows that you’re listening so that when it is your time to talk, you’re not often another spot thinking, “oh, what did she just say?” Was I listening? Did I hear that correctly? Ask questions along the way to make sure are listening.

And then of course give appropriate feedback. And one of my favorite things about feedback is it’s also a time to offer praise feedback. Shouldn’t just always be in the negative. So if you have something that you’re questioning questioning, or you need to correct, you can compliment first, then add a correction, then compliment again. Those are a few tips on concentrated listening. We all know that we need to be better listeners, making sure that that is happening will keep your teams powered. Everyone wants to be heard. Well, the next C battery is calm. This is your call to de-stress your teams. Everyone is stressed out. I have several videos on my YouTube channel, which is called Senior Living Power up and Perform just about managing stress and how stress on a team affects residents, affects family members, affects productivity. 

But today I just want you to make an assessment, make an assessment of your own stress levels and those on your teams. How is this stress or this burnout that we’ve been dealing with manifesting itself? Then make this assessment for adding in some calmer moments throughout your day. Some of the things that you might think about doing is implementing a morning meditation, either be that for you personally, or for your team. Just starting out with something small that says we’re grateful for the day or something that will bring calm. Maybe it’s just a walk through your beautiful courtyards. Maybe it’s a gratitude entry and a journal. Next help team members know that you understand their job is stressful by continuing to acknowledge that you understand what they’re going through. Really boost that hour level up. “It’s like, yes, I’m being heard. Now I’m being seen, I’m being understood.”

And then at the end of the day, have that five minutes to de-stress, don’t take it home. That’s when we get into problems, when we take all of that stress of our days into our personal life. So work with your teams and say, “how could we do this five minute de-stress at the end of each day?.” So that’s our second C battery, calm. Third one, one of my favorites is cuisine. Well, some of you know, I used to do a lot of work in corporate wellness. I’ve written several wellness books, and that all goes back to the story of my daughter, Merit Joy, who was born with a degenerative mitochondrial dysfunction, meaning that her cells didn’t turn food into energy properly. So I spent 10 years of my life really dedicated to the foods that power us and Merit Joy was given the life expectancy of two years,


And she lived 20. And many doctors said, that’s because of the work you did around this energizing through nutrition. Food powers us. Yet we eat wrong. We know that eating power foods is one of the best ways that you can increase performance on a team and show your team that you care. So what can you do? What can you do at an organizational level? If you are in a residence, you have have kitchens and you have refrigerators and you have probably most of you someplace where staff eats. Well, use that to your advantage. Maybe it’s once a month, you have a power up program and say, “Hey, we’re just gonna eat power meals, or we’re going to have a decreased or month. You know, sugar has been rated by the American dietetics and the American Diabetes Associations is one of the top three reasons for degenerative disease.


And this over abundance of sugar in our lives is making us less energetic daily be so making us sick. Now, some of you might be familiar with the work that Onshift has done in the surveys that they create in the senior living space. And Onshift has a survey called employee perspective survey. And in this, 40% of senior living employees voiced that staying healthy was one of their biggest concerns. As teams, let’s work together, let’s work together, again, I said, maybe it’s once a month, maybe it’s once a week, but you start a wellness initiative. And in my last episode when I’m going to be with you, I’m going to talk a little bit more about this because it is so important. We are powered up by what fuels us. So spend a little time thinking about how you are powering up through food and how your team is as well.

Our fourth battery that I want to look at today is celebrate. How are you celebrating on your teams within your organizations? I see a whole lot of work anniversary celebrations, and that’s great. We want to acknowledge that we’ve stayed and that you have a nice retention rate. But when I work with teams on these longer term power up programs, we really get down to the nitty gritty about, does everyone understand what is celebrated? Because who leaves a celebration not energized? Right? Think about the last birthday party you went to, especially if it was a birthday, a party of young kids. Well, you might leave a little drained, but watching their energy levels at a celebration is so fun. So think about how are you celebrating? What are you celebrating, when, and does your entire team understand what’s being and are they involved? One of my favorite tactics to do is on an employee’s first day, ask them how they like to be celebrated.

 Would you mind if we put your accomplishments in our organization’s newsletter? Can you post pictures of you excelling on our social media? What’s your favorite candy? If you could choose a gift card from any store, where would it be? When you give them this assessment? The very first day, and again, I work with teams to create these assessments. They get to go home and say, “guess what I was asked today? I was asked how I like to be celebrated.” That really sets a tone and gives energy to your teams and saying, “man, I wanna be a part of a team that knows how to celebrate.” Well, those are the four more G producing batteries that I’d love to see you start implementing on your teams, concentrated listening, calm, finding ways to de-stress eating the cuisines, that power you up. And then those so important celebrations of accomplishments and of team members.

But I told you there was gonna be a bonus battery, and it’s the one that drives all of senior living. And that is care. We all know that caring is that thing that can power us up. So let me take you back to that phone, your cell phone that I use as the example at the beginning of this episode, I recently got a new phone. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I kind of dread it when I have to go out and, are the apps all gonna upload? Sign up for the plan, you feel like you’re signing your life away there and what do they ask you? Do you want a case for this? Do you wanna buy the extra protection plan with your new phone? This thing is important to you, right? Our lives have started to evolve around this.

Some of us might even ask, well, what’s the battery life on this thing? And we go out and we get like all the things that are going to make this thing work, right? Some of us put that popup socket on the back. I was recently with someone who he had his entire phone encased in a wallet. So it was really protected. Plus he had all of his credit cards and  all of his things that he would need just with his phone. Well, we take care of the things that are important to us, right? And we’ve all known, we’re having a hard time living without our phones.As senior living professionals, we know how to care. But we need to get back in touch with our caregiving abilities for our teams to keep our teams powered up. Really implementing a caring culture, not just for our residents, but for ourselves and our teams, because that care will end up being that power source. When we leave at the end of the day, we think, “I am well cared for in this place.” It isn’t just about our residents. It isn’t just about the families. It’s about us as a team.


So really think about that bonus C battery. How are you caring for each other on your teams? Because we must care with joy for everyone. You know, my daughter’s middle name was Joy, and I use that as a mantra. There is great joy in caring. Let’s just make sure to extend it to our entire teams. So those are the four C batteries to power up your teams and organizations. And next time we’re gonna talk about activating this circuit. What is going to flip that switch? Because, you know, you can listen to Bridge the Gap podcast all day long and there’s so much great information or you can watch YouTube videos or you can get the latest books, but we all know unless we flip the switch, we’re not really going to activate anything. So next time I’m gonna be giving you those tips to help activate you and activate your teams. So until next time, think about upgrading your batteries, recharging and powering up your teams. I want to  thank you so much for listening to this week’s Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday, please connect with me at This is Kathy Perry, corporate energy expert. And until next time keep burning bright.


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CW 98: Kathy Parry