We've been intentional about integrating the "The Lenbrook Way" into every aspect of our operations this past year. It's been a time of exploring, defining and putting into action the behaviors and service standards essential to creating excellent experiences for our residents.

Through our resident satisfaction research, we identified factors that our residents believe are most important for high satisfaction at Lenbrook. From these factors, we developed “The Big Five of The Lenbrook Way." These are the traits necessary for service excellence and resident satisfaction. Residents and management have concluded that outstanding resident satisfaction is dependent on associates who are:

* Caring

* Competent

* Responsive

In a facility that is:

Beautiful and Clean

With lots of:

* appealing Amenities

As with so many aspects of life, unless you purposefully commit the time and resources to a goal’s success it probably will not happen. For that reason, we've chosen to focus on a different trait each quarter with our 275 associates. This quarter, it's CARING.

What Does CARING Look Like?

As I have now conducted well over 75 weekly Community Chats with residents (held every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. with a group of residents from one or more floors in a building), I can tell you that during every chat the residents express how important it is to them that they know our names and we know theirs. That's one way we show we care.

I also have a more personal story about CARING to share. Recently, I saw a resident coming out of the women’s restroom near my office. She seemed to be searching for something. I asked her if I could help and she said she really liked the fragrance in the women’s restroom and would like that fragrance for her own residence. This honestly put me in an awkward position. I am not much on fragrances, and I cannot actually go into the women’s restroom without approval.

So I asked the resident if I could go in and snap a picture of the fragrance deodorizer. You would think the CEO has all the answers, but that is not really the case at Lenbrook. We are an organization where many of the decisions are made on the front line by our associates. So I had to find out how that fragrance deodorizer made it to the women’s restroom and how I could get one for the resident.

Fortunately, our housekeeping director was able to help me locate where to purchase the fragrance deodorizer so I could put one in the resident’s cubby (internal mail box). I included a note to the resident saying the fragrance was from Lenbrook. I was stunned when a couple of days later the resident wrote me a letter back stating that she appreciated me finding the fragrance for her, but more importantly as a recent widow, she was just so happy that I knew her name. My heart melted! Can such a simple act make such a positive impact? I believe it can.

What is CARING at Lenbrook?

We recently asked our management team to describe daily CARING actions they see by their associates. I know for me, one behavior I believe demonstrates CARING is seeking to understand what is important to those with whom we interact. Here are some of the other descriptions we received:

* Being respectful, helpful ... having a positive attitude

* Someone listening to your concerns

* Having an attitude of service

* Kindness and concern shown to others

* Escorting residents/visitors to locations rather than pointing the way

* Holding a door for someone, speaking kindly to someone, assisting with things needed

* Adjusting delivery or our interactions based on the resident's current physical and/or cognitive needs

* Valet assisting with luggage all the way to an apartment rather than just to lobby

* Calling a resident by their name, engaging with them when you see them.

Making a Difference

Often times a simple act of CARING can make a difference in a person's life. We're focusing on creating those kinds of positive impacts through CARING at Lenbrook. I encourage our associates to try to make a difference in someone's life. I know, from experience, that if you make a difference in someone else's life, you will make a difference in your own.

Chris Keysor is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lenbrook. His passion for the senior living industry began early in his career as a CPA with KPMG Peat Marwick. Chris progressed in executive responsibilities over the years, working for a senior healthcare provider, healthcare financing organizations and senior living consulting groups. Chris is also a nationally ranked Ironman triathlete, which he says comes in handy raising his two young children with his wife here in Atlanta.