By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on September 27th, 2013
Nancy Fox is a nationally-recognized culture change consultant, and as a Green House adopter, we are especially delighted that she is going to be the closing plenary speaker at The 6th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration. This event is exclusively for Green House organizations and serves as a venue for learning, networking and celebration! Nancy’s long-term care career began in the 1980’s, serving at both the facility and regional levels. Nancy served as the first Executive Director of The Eden Alternative. Nancy is a well-known speaker and educator and regularly conducts training on the Eden Alternative, Culture Change and Leadership. Her book, The Journey of a Lifetime: Leadership Pathways to Culture Change in Long-Term Care, was published in March, 2007. She currently oversees person-directed philosophy of care for Vivage Quality Health Partners.
Nancy believes that leadership is a behavior not a position. In fact, all leadership is volunteer work! Leaders bring hope into the world. In order to shift the leadership paradigm, we must work to redefine accountability. This is a challenge because, most of human behavior is driven by things happening on a sub-conscious level, and leadership requires self-awareness. At The Green House Annual Meeting, Nancy will distinguish between leadership in an institutional model and leadership in a person-directed model of care. Through this presentation, Green House adopters will be inspired to adopt new leadership behaviors.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on August 9th, 2013
A recent profile in McKnight’s Long Term Care News, features Steve McAlilly, CEO of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services, the first Green House homes. “Thanks to McAlilly’s nurturing, the Green House model has grown from concept to phenomenon.”
The article profiles Steve’s upbringing, and the winding path that brought him to the helm of Methodist Senior Services in Tupelo, MS. It has been 10 years since the first Green House homes opened, and it is astounding to look back at all the factors that aligned to make this dream a reality. McAlilly says the “great adventure” of the Green House taught him how to “move forward without knowing all the answers.”
Chief Operating Officer, Susan Frazier, decribes the leadership gifts that have contributed to the success of Steve’s organization and The Green House model, “He demonstrated you can work through the regulatory challenges, the capital challenges,” Frazier says. She calls him a “profound leader” who is warm and gracious, and known by all the direct care staff.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on June 24th, 2013
In The Green House model, the core value that contributes most significantly to a deep and sustainable transformation is “Empowered Staff”. The hierarchy of the organization is flattened to bring power into the home, with the elders and those working closest to them. This group of direct care staff, who have a base education as Certified Nursing Assistants and then receive 128 hours of additional training, become Shahbazim, an honored and valued group who work in self managed work teams to protect, sustain and nurture the elders. The self managed work team reports to a Guide, and partners with a Clinical Support Team to provide individualized and holistic care with the elders. The Green House Project provides over 200 hours of education across the organization to develop coaching leaders in an environment where Elder’s Rule!
Check out this video to highlight how the Core Value of Empowered Staff!
By Joe DeMattos / Posted on May 8th, 2013
So, I begin with the most important message: Thank you.
From a leadership perspective, you are driven by governing values, have a clear image of a positive future and have the foundation to take action and be effective.
As leaders in our community, we know 10,000 of our friends, family members and neighbors will turn age 65 every day for the next 19 years! What a blessing it is to be able to tap the energy, insight and expertise of Boomers as they become our elders! And what a challenge it will be to adapt care in terms of financing, engagement and wellness.
My life experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, working with our treasured elders, has helped me to identify several attributes of effective leaders that will be essential to our professional success going forward.
In creating communities of care inside and outside of centers, effective leaders will recognize the importance of and study effective techniques in communication and negotiation that puts people first, places shared interest over individual position, and separates a person from the problem or challenge with which they are identified.
These concepts of negotiation come from the hallmark text, Getting to Yes by Harvard scholars Roger Fisher and William Ury. For leaders working in a public/private intersecting space with features of home, hospital and community, and with varied voices of community members, families, staff teams, funders and regulators, negotiation is most certainly a necessary core competency for success.
Leaders know the importance of identifying crucial conversations as the intersection between opposing opinions, strong emotions and high stakes – as outlined by the authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McLillan and Al Switzler in their powerful book of the same title. In the early pages of Crucial Conversations, the authors begin by offering important and powerful tools of dialogue – shared meaning, active listening, and starting from, instead of avoiding, the heart and emotion – to identify, and successfully navigate crucial conversations.
Today and tomorrow, effective leaders engaged in realizing the opportunities and overcoming the challenges of an aging America will study and work to not avoid crucial conversations with community members, families, employees, teams, and regulators (to name just a few in our broad circle of influence).
As Jack Welch and his wife Suzy point out in their book Winning, effective leaders recognize that “before you are a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.” Effective leaders in aging America recognize it is critical to learn from and nurture leaders in care, to grow leaders on staff and community teams, and to recognize the positive influence we can all have on other leaders in the broadest sense of community.
As leaders in our important work of helping elders to be as engaged, well, healthy and safe as they want and are able, we have a tremendous opportunity in our professional communities to envision and make the business case for sustainable care enterprises, whether for- or not-for-profit.
Effective leaders negotiate by putting people first, recognize and have crucial conversations, help others to grow as leaders and focus on all that connects us instead of that which separates us.
Steve McAlilly of Tupelo, Mississippi is this sort of effective, passionate and powerfully impacting leader. Steve can be counted among a handful of gifted leaders in our community of, for- and not-for-profit, large and small, government, private and philanthropic businesses, associations and scholars, who are working to guide us to a better tomorrow.
Our elder community is expanding exponentially. Green House homes have made a tremendous difference in the lives of real people. As long as we all put people first and recognize the various tangible and intrinsic values in caring, there is room for, and value in, various models of care and community.
Joseph DeMattos, Jr., is the CEO of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM), Maryland’s oldest and largest nationally affiliated provider association representing skilled nursing, transitional, rehabilitative and long term care providers. Prior to joining HFAM DeMattos worked in the leadership of AARP in Hawai’i, in its national office in Washington DC., and in Maryland.
DeMattos holds Masters Degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University and is an Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Erickson School for the Management of Aging Studies. He has over 30 years of professional experience in labor, government, the private sector, and in association management with a focus on health care policy. He can be reached at Jdemattos@Hfam.org.
By ghblog / Posted on November 12th, 2012Written by: Cyd Mason, LCSW Green House Guide VA Illiana Health Care System
On a mid-summer afternoon Veteran Thomas M. Booher (Korean War) sat looking out the front window of Liberty House (one of VA Illiana Health Care System’s Green House homes) at the front yard. As the Guide I visit the Green House homes with regularity and on this day I pulled up a chair and asked him what he thought about the landscaping. To my surprise I learned that Mr. Booher had a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He pointed out that there was one tree in particular that was “too close to the house.” He said, “as that tree grows it will destroy the foundation of this house. It’s a Burr Oak and they get very large. You have to remember there’s more under the ground than what you can see. Trees have an extensive root system and that’s why one day the foundation and the roof will be damaged. You really need to remove it and plant something smaller near the house.”
Veteran Thomas M. Booher’s expertise was shared with our Green House leadership and with our staff that maintains and cares for our landscaping. Several weeks later the Burr tree was removed and transplanted in the backyard and two crab trees were added to the front of Liberty House. Their small stature of twelve feet will not interfere with the house foundation or its roof. We owe a big “Thank you” to Mr. Booher for making us aware of this potential future problem!
We talked about his career in designing and building custom homes. “Impressive,“ I thought. He said, “That’s the hardest way to make an easy living!” He grinned ear to ear as he shared that with me.
Our conversation turned to his experience living in Liberty House. He said, “It’s just absolutely great here and that goes along with the staff. This couldn’t work without them (shahbazim). I can’t say anymore than that – that and with one of our RNs who ‘can spin a tale!’”
We are fortunate to have Mr. Booher residing in Liberty House. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of plant life, music and a good joke now and then. In the past ten months of living in Liberty House I have seen Mr. Booher “open up” and “blossom” with his fellow Veterans around the dinner table and with the shahbazim and one RN in particular. We truly see the building of relationships in Liberty House. Mr. Booher is one very fine example of why embracing the Green House model was the “right thing to do.”
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on April 11th, 2012
Wise Leadership is the Lifeblood of any Organization
To make real change in an organization, leaders must cast the vision for change and inspire others to join them on the journey. A culture change journey is one without a destination, and often has many twists and turns along the way and thought of implementing change in an organization can seem overwhelming. The Green House® Project is a proven model and process that can provide the roadmap. The Green House Project is a national initiative to transform the lives of elders and those working closest to them
Research on this initiative shows that by changing the environment, philosophy and organizational design of skilled nursing care, a financially viable system is created where people living AND working in long term care are happier, healthier and feel a strong sense of purpose.
The LeadingAge PEAK Conference in Washington, DC April 23-25, is a wonderful venue for organizational leaders to meet with The Green House team members, and learn more about how The Green House Project can amplify an organization’s mission through a comprehensive technical assistance package. Please See Us at Booth # 702
By Dr. Bill Thomas / Posted on January 24th, 2012
Flat is Good
Flat tires are bad. Flat cakes are bad. Flat organizations, can be, good. So, what makes an organization “flat?”
All human organizations have leaders and followers. One thing that defines a free society is that people can be a leader in one organization and a follower in another. All of us are part-time leaders and part-time followers. Some organizations create an enormous distance between leaders and followers. For example, the United States Army has a very steep and very large hierarchy that separates the lowest recruit from the highest general. An army private has very little chance of every becoming a general and generals never get busted down to private. The Army is the opposite of a “flat” organization.
A steep hierarchy is good for things like fighting wars and flying to the moon but steep organizations are pretty cold and very impersonal.
Flat organizations have a much smaller distance between leaders and followers. These two groups are able to challenge each other’s ideas. Green House homes are meant to be Flat organizations because the Elders need for all of us to work together. Everyone in The Green House home has ideas and insights and everyone can contribute to the conversation.
How can we tell if a Green House home is losing its “flatness?”
The main symptom is a decrease in problem-solving conversations and an increase in “problem-solving” by the leaders. In The Green House, leaders are not supposed to solve problems. In The Green House, leaders are supposed to help others solve problems.
The loss of “flatness” can become a big problem if people are not aware that it is happening. So, here is my challenge for you: Have a conversation about the flatness of your Green House home because when it comes to warmth and compassion, “flat is good.”