Wayne Langley

LeadingAge Colorado celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in style with this year’s conference and exhibition, under the theme “Looking Back, Leading Forward.” Part of the Varsity team was on hand for the event and we thoroughly enjoyed the program.

We were especially taken with the keynote speaker, Reggie Rivers, a former player for the Denver Broncos, who shared his sports experiences and related them to the leading of teams. Reggie’s wit and humor were infectious and his presentation was packed full of great lessons. We wanted to share three takeaways from Reggie that we think could benefit any leader of teams in the aging services space.

Establish a metric for success.

Organizations accomplish goals because they keep their eye on the proverbial prize. While each individual person, team or department in an organization may have goals; they should all be contributing to the ultimate metric of success. Every person within the group should be able to clearly understand how their work helps to accomplish the overall mission and advance the organization.

This point really struck home with us at Varsity. As partners with our clients, we are keenly aware of how our work directly aids a client in achieving their goals and pushing their organization forward. We will definitely be asking our future partners to articulate their “metric of success” and working to demonstrate how we are contributing to that goal.

Focus on your area of control.

Aging services is a big and complicated space to work in. Every day we are confronted with new challenges and opportunities. They could range from a disappointed family, to an unexpected survey, to celebrating a 100th birthday. It can be easy to let ourselves get caught up in these moments and feel like we are constantly responding to issues instead of being proactive. To Reggie’s point, if we spend our time focusing on the items we can control, we’ll end up happier and closer to our goals.

Prepare to fail and instead focus on incremental wins.

If we succeeded one hundred percent of the time, the world wouldn’t need us. We must recognize, as people, that we are always learning and growing. We are going to fail our team. Our team is going to fail us. It’s how we respond to these failures that demonstrates our organizational culture, values, and understandings. On that same thought, we should also celebrate incremental wins. If your goal is 100% occupancy, don’t delay celebration until that number is hit. Instead celebrate every new resident and contract signed, as that’s an incremental win that is pushing you further towards your goal.

Reggie demonstrated the real world impact of these three points thorugh a story about the Broncos. The team shifted their philosophy for rewarding success and in doing so, made sure that EVERYONE “wins” when the team does well on the field. The leadership of the team made sure that every role in the organization understood how their job contributed to the overall team performance. This caused an absolute transformation in attitudes and, interestingly enough, the team went on to win several Super Bowls after numerous losses in the Big Game.

We congratulate LeadingAge Colorado on a successful conference and a productive half-century of advocacy for seniors in the State. Keep up the good work and we are looking forward to the 2019 conference!