everything mature consumers experiencebranding | marketing | web | pr | displays | advertising
Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond
About Creating Results...

Creating Results is a full-service strategic marketing, public relations and advertising agency with more than 15 years of experience. Our expertise is motivating mature 40+ consumers, including Baby Boomers, Silent (Ike) Generation and Gen X.

Supporting a Transformative Idea of Aging

April 30th, 2014 Posted by Todd Harff

One thing we love about marketing senior living is the chance to collaborate with organizations that help people live rewarding, meaningful and engaging lives.

But do most organizations genuinely believe this is possible regardless of age and health challenges? Do their residents and team members share these beliefs? And do the organization’s words and deeds support a transformative idea of aging?

These were some of the challenging questions that aging expert Kay Van Norman asked on April 24 at North Hill in Needham, Mass.Kay Van Norman - aging expert - with her horse, Dancer

The North Hill leadership team had been so inspired by Kay’s perspectives and research findings, they sponsored a PurposeFULL Living® event for New England senior living industry professionals.

Kay’s mission is to be an “Agent of Change.” She is a powerful agent. Her article “Purpose Driven Communities,” which first appeared in the Journal on Active Aging, has many parallels to North Hill’s PurposeFULL Living philosophy and approach.

In her presentation last week, Kay reviewed the roots and dangers of ageism and offered ideas that individuals and organizations can implement to improve both the quantity and quality of life. I was so inspired that I wanted to share some of them with Creating Results’ blog readers. With so many thought-provoking questions, this will be the first post in a multi-part series .

The Historical Basis (and Fallacy) of Ageism

Kay pointed out that many Gerontology studies used sample populations of people who lived in nursing homes because they were convenient and accessible. But they clearly aren’t representative of all older people. This would be equivalent to going to sports rehab facilities to study 40-year-olds.

Another historic basis for ageism is that Social Security was introduced to push people out of the work force. Before then, people worked until they died. Physically and mentally they were probably better off for doing so. By mandating or encouraging retirement, we took peoples’ jobs away and in many ways, we took away their self-worth.

Several years ago, I argued that same point in an article called “Working for a Life, Not a Living.” People want to keep contributing to society long after “retirement.” Prior to Social Security they did.

These ageist influences are seen in our language, our media and our marketing.

For example, Kay implored, “We’ve been forgetting our whole lives. Why are we suddenly afraid?” Would we take a child who forgot to give a note to their teacher to be screened for early onset Alzheimer’s? Labeling forgetfulness as a senior moment is being ageist.

Media Extremes Reinforce Negative Images of Aging

old runnersThe media generally shows images of older people in two extremes – either “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” or an 80 year old surfer. Since it’s hard for most people to relate running ultra-marathons at 85, they begin to place themselves in the first, “decrepit” camp. However, Kay stressed that there are other choices. “My mission is to convince people that age itself, has less to with who a person is and what they are capable of than any other factor.”

Kay encouraged the audience to contemplate how their thoughts and actions impact their outlook on life. The questions she posed apply to marketing senior living, travel, services, healthcare, financial services …

  1. Match up your marketing actions with your goals. Are they congruent?
  2. Monitor self-talk. Is there any ageism? (Almost all of the attendees at the session acknowledged that they have some ageist beliefs.)
  3. Do your organizational messages focus on taking care of people or providing them with opportunities to flourish?

As Kay asked, “What kind of emotional residue are we leaving with others around us? Are we patronizing or empowering? Do we help people feel confident and capable?”

Your Turn

Is your organization (and its marketing) empowering adults of all ages?

How can we help shift the focus from taking care of people to creating environments and cultures that allow people to live lives of meaning, passion and purpose up to their last breath?

Please use the comments section below to share your suggestions.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Technology & Boomer Migration

April 28th, 2014 Posted by Beth Mickey

Happy Monday! Here is a recap of the top mature marketing news and reports that had people talking.


A study released in early April entitled Older Adults and Technology Use  by the  Pew Research Center that had many people sharing last week.  The study, and associated article,  focuses not just on general boomer and senior technology usage, but how it varies by age bracket within the overall 65 and better population. In general, seniors overall adaption of technology continues to increase, especially among the younger, more affluent boomers.

Key take-aways:Mature Marketing Links of the Week- Senior Technology Usage

*  6 in 10 seniors are online: 59% of seniors are online and 77% have a cell phone, both increasing from similar studies conducted in 2012:

But despite these gains, seniors continue to lag behind younger Americans when it comes to tech adoption. And many seniors remain largely unattached from online and mobile life—41% do not use the internet at all, 53% do not have broadband access at home, and 23% do not use cell phones.

*  Younger, more educated seniors use internet at rates exceeding general population usage:  82% of seniors with an annual income of $75,000 or more go online, while just 39% of seniors earning less than $30,000  go online.

*  Hurdles to technology usage among older seniors includes physical challenges, difficulty in learning new technology and  overall skepticism.

Around two in five seniors indicate that they have a “physical or health condition that makes reading difficult or challenging” or a “disability, handicap, or chronic disease that prevents them from fully participating in many common daily activities”. This group is significantly less likely than seniors who do not face these physical challenges to go online (49% vs. 66%), to have broadband at home (38% vs. 53%), and to own most major digital devices.

*  Once seniors begin utilizing technology (and have a positive attitude about it) they make it a habit to use regularly.

The article goes on to detail social media usage among boomers and beyond, a topic that Creating Results has researched thoroughly within our Social, Silver Surfer research.

Click here for the full article. 

RELATED: Pew Report Shows Gains in Technology Adoption by Older People & Older Adults and Technology: Two Groups of Seniors Emerge


An article within the Star Tribune entitled Where the Boomers Are generated a lot of interest…and clicks.  As they retire , boomers aren’t wooed just by maintenance-free living or one level floorplans and amenities – the location of the community plays a large part in driving the decision. And while for many urban living with all the trappings is the most appealing, many boomers are opting for a more suburban way of life.

But these newly-minted city folk have a country cousin counterpart — people who still want single-family homes and their own patch of green space, who may be sick of shoveling but aren’t ready to give up gardening.

Regardless of the locale, knowing what motivates your prospects is key to differentiating yourself and your community.

Read the full article.


Pew Report Shows Gains in Technology Adoption by Older People

April 24th, 2014 Posted by Erin Read

Yesterday we shared four facts from a new Pew Research Center report on technology adoption by older people, specifically Americans over the age of 65. It was a story of Internet haves and have nots, as younger, more affluent seniors dive into the web while older, lower-income elders remain disconnected.

Overall, though, there has been significant, positive movement when it comes to seniors online. Here are a few nuggets from the new Pew report, and from Creating Results’ own national survey of Social, Silver Surfers.

1. 6 in 10 Seniors are Now OnlineChart - internet users by age group; daily online usage - Pew Internet Project

Per Pew, there has been a large jump in the use of the Internet by all seniors, rising six percentage points in one year. Now 59% of all Americans over 65 go online.

This is especially significant when you consider the physical challenges aging often imposes on seniors, making it hard to use digital devices. And considering the fact that most elders say they would need assistance to begin using this technology.

“Just 18% would feel comfortable learning to use a new technology device such as a smartphone or tablet on their own, while 77% indicate they would need someone to help walk them through the process. And among seniors who go online but do not currently use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, 56% would need assistance if they wanted to use these sites to connect with friends or family members.”

Action Step: Helping elders get connected or comfortable with technology can be a marketing tool.

Consider hosting a Senior Tech Rally program, as  many active adult and senior living communities have. Or offer space in your clubhouse for ongoing classes run by a local organization. Seniors from throughout the area can sample the lifestyle you offer at an event that isn’t sales-y, promoting greater trust, appreciation and lead capture.

Remember that some 50+ers are already super-savvy with tech, and if they live in your community you should tap into their enthusiasm. That’s what Traditions of America at Silver Spring did. The 55+ lifestyle community has neighbors teaching neighbors — classes are “sold out”!

2. Social Online = Social Everywhere

I was struck by Pew’s finding that while only 46% of online seniors (27% of all American seniors) use social networking sites, those who do are more engaged in all social avenues. 81% of older online social networkers say they are socializing with others by phone, in person or … yes … online on a daily/near-daily basis.

Isolation among elders is a big issue, with serious health implications. Other studies have found that Internet use can reduce rates of depression in elders. Yet another reason for caregivers, family members and housing operators to encourage Internet adoption.

Our own research found an increase in online social networking activity from 2010 (when we first surveyed 40+ Americans) to 2013, as this chart illustrates.

Table - social networking activity level by generation; changes since 2010

3. Social Everywhere Isn’t Really Everywhere

Pew didn’t put it this way, but I will: If 27% of Americans over 65 are online AND using social networking sites, that means 73% are not.

And you won’t find them on Twitter. Only 6% of online 65+ers use the platform (which works out to 3% of all US 65+ers).

Action Step: Encourage social networking use and promote your own social platforms to homeowners, residents, prospects and influencers. Just be realistic about your expectations. As our Social, Silver Surfers research revealed, very few people of any age go on Facebook et al seeking to become engaged with brands.

4. Adoption of Mobile Devices by Seniors Up, Yet Still Lagging

While cellphone adoption still trails the general population (77% of seniors own one, vs. 91% of all Americans) there have been gains. Now, Pew reports, more than half of seniors in every subcategory own a cell, including 61% of those 80+.

Note that this is cellphone ownership, not smartphone ownership Pew is talking about. While 55% of American adults own smartphones, only 18% of those over 65 do. Those who are 65-74 years old are more likely to be smartphone users than those over 75.

Seniors are more likely to own e-readers or tablets than smartphones. 18% of them own a Kindle, Nook, or similar e-reader device, compared 24% of all US adults. 18% of seniors own a tablet computer, compared to 34% of all US adults.

Those with higher levels of education or income are also more likely to own cellphones, smartphones or tablets/e-readers.

Action Step: Start thinking about, testing and perhaps re-designing your emails and website for better mobile experience. Because whether older people are using desktops, smartphones or tablets, they’re more connected than ever and their expectations are rising.

PREVIOUS: Older Adults and Technology – Two Groups of Seniors Emerge

RELATED: Where ARE these senior social networkers? This January 2014 post has the answer.


What do YOU think? Did you read the Pew report? Will you be taking any actions based on these new insights into technology adoption?

Older Adults and Technology: Two Groups of Seniors Emerge

April 23rd, 2014 Posted by Erin Read

In early April, the Pew Research Center released its latest report on Older Adults and Technology Use. The subhead for the report tells the tale: “Adoption is increasing, but many seniors remain isolated from digital life.” Indeed, the researchers identified two groups:

1) Younger, higher-income and more educated Americans over 65. These use the Internet at rates approaching or exceeding the general population. They feel positively about online tools and services.

2) Older, less affluent seniors, often with significant health/disability challenges. These elders are largely disconnected from online or mobile life.

For nearly a decade, Creating Results has started any presentation about older adults reminding audience members that it isn’t one “single, silver sea.” Behaviors and attitudes WITHIN generations can vary as widely as BETWEEN generations.

Here are four facts from the new Pew report that illustrate how colorful that sea of seniors is when it comes to the adoption/use of technology.

Disparities Seen by Education, Income, Health, Age

Table - Internet, broadband adoption among seniors - Pew Internet Project

* 87% of seniors with a college degree go online. Only 40% of those who have not attended college go online.

Action Step: Web copy should be smart and respectful, not pretentious or pandering. And, not to be flip, but almost nothing turns off a highly-educated older adult more than poor spelling and grammar. Proofread those websites!


* 90% of seniors with higher incomes (annual household income of $75,000 or more) go online. 39% of those with household incomes of less than $30,000 go online. 63% of those with incomes between $30,000 and $49,999 are using Internet. According to data from the US Census Bureau, nationwide seniors are living off of a median household income of $35,107.

Action Step: Consider the income level of your ideal prospect when creating digital marketing budgets. If you’re serving a lower-income group, money spent on church flyers could go a lot further than money spent on online ads.


* Roughly 40% of Americans over 65 reported having a physical challenge. This could be anything from diminished eyesight that makes reading online difficult to a chronic disease. Only 49% of this group goes online, vs. 66% of all seniors.

Action Step: Conduct usability testing on websites to be sure important actions can be taken by all. Avoid tiny “submit” buttons!


* 74% of the “younger olds,” those aged 65-69, go online. 37% of those 80 or better are using the Internet.

Action Step: Look at your digital marketing through the eyes of a 65-69 year old target. Do they see themselves there? Do the photos feel authentic and representative of your customer’s self image?

Creating Results’ national Social, Silver Surfers study showed that a decreasing number of younger olds feel websites reflect their generation. Since we first measured attitudes in 2010, it appears expectations have risen and matures are feeling less represented on the web.

Chart - older age groups on whether websites reflect their generation, 2010 vs 2013

As we noted in the Social, Silver Surfers 2013 eBook, “if consumers don’t feel they see themselves in your marketing, they’re less likely to purchase your product or service.” (To buy the ebook and learn what steps to take, click here.)

Tomorrow we’ll share more data — and related action steps! — about older adults and technology.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: How Do You Make an Email Subject Line Irresistible?

April 21st, 2014 Posted by Erin Read

Our Monday round up of top 50-plus marketing links aims to grab you by the subject line and take you on the road. Are you ready to ride?

1. MOST CLICKED / MOST RETWEETED: “Using one of these 2 elements in your email’s subject line all but guarantees someone will open it,” we posted, applying the insights of John Nemo to our tweet. His strategy proved itself immediately through opens and shares.

How does Nemo turn an email subject line into “catnip for clients”? We’ll let him explain:

“Three Carnegie-Mellon scientists found that effective email subject lines fall into one of two categories: Utility and Curiosity. They either demonstrate their usefulness to the recipient or make the recipient curious about what’s inside.

Stop and think about it. Better yet, go back over the last 5 sales emails you sent out to prospects.

  • Do your email subject lines make readers curious? Do they offer any kind of intrigue?
  • Do your email subject lines make readers HAVE to open the document in order to discover the relevant and invaluable knowledge you’re about to part with?”

Read Nemo’s post: http://bit.ly/1h4V9XN

RELATED: Email Subject Lines – What’s the Magic Number?

2. Also of note

* Marketing travel to older women (boomers & seniors)? Find insights on our blog. http://bit.ly/1ltbCVt

That dip into the Creating Results blog vaults was prompted by this newer item: ”Leave complaints, aches & pains at home” – travel advice from the Global Grannies. Three “grannies” from Montana started the group, which has grown to 260 members from 13 states.

This is a great piece on NPR — worth a listen for 50-plus marketing insights! http://n.pr/PmX9PY

* 47% of 55+ers say they “don’t really trust” ads. Distrust also rises with education levels, so if you’re marketing a high-end product or service to 50-plussers, check this report out. http://bit.ly/1eUFxan

And finally, we offer a favorite quote from a great writer … a great journalist … a great human who passed last week. RIP, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


A Subsegment of Seniors Tops Spending Charts

April 16th, 2014 Posted by Erin Read

You might not be surprised to learn that those who spend the most daily are those with children under the age of 18. After reading a new Gallup report, we discovered there is an age overlay to daily spending as well: 65+ seniors with young children have the highest daily spending of any Americans.

Americans daily spending - Seniors with children under 16 top charts

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 338,000 households in which children under 18 are living with at least one parent over 65.

There also are 1,648,000 US households in which a child under 18 lives with a grandparent and no parents are present in the household. These grandparents can be of any age, though most are between 55 and 65, per Census data.

While this is not a huge segment, it’s certainly an intriguing one. As demographic trends collide — longevity bonuses, delayed marriages and child bearing, fractured families — our stereotypes of who is the “parent” of a young child will be challenged. And so might stereotypes about discretionary spending and 65+ seniors.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Mobile Apps & The New Face of Retirement

April 14th, 2014 Posted by Beth Mickey

Happy Monday!  Hard to believe that the month is already half over.  Thankfully, we’ve got another round-up of the top mature marketing articles and insights that had people talking this past week.  Have something to add?  We’d love to see your comments in the section below.

Mobile Apps MOST SHARED: There’s an app for that!

Seems like this is a phrase uttered repeatedly as more and more adapt to smart phones.  An article by Kerry Gorgone introduced 7 must-have phone apps for mature marketers.  Some of the “essential apps” according to the author:

*Evernote Hello: provides full social media profile when an email address is entered.

*Userium: creates a website usability checklist to ensure your site is optimized.

*Moat: suite of online banner ads and design inspiration.

Learn about other apps and read the full article here: http://bit.ly/1kRdhIg

MOST CLICKED: A Forbes article entitled A Guide to the New Retirement Communities drove several clicks this past week.  Beth Baker, author of the book With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community As We Grow Older traveled the country exploring retirement communities. Interviewed by Forbes, Baker shared some of her top insights from her travels, including her surprise at the number of non-traditional communities people have flocked to.

In the past, with traditional retirement communities, people were dependent on a company or nonprofit to create them. That traditional model was much more top-down. I don’t want to come across as bashing those communities, because I know people who have moved there and are happy. But I think many people don’t like the feeling of being isolated from the broader community. They don’t like the idea of being around only older people.

For mature marketing experts, understanding that a community is more than just the four-walls will help you more effectively stand out from competitors and welcome more residents.

WORTH REPEATING: Will the new Facebook Paper format appeal to boomers and seniors?  Read the article by Creating Results’ Jessica Ruhle to learn how to best leverage social media to reach your mature target market.

Will Facebook Paper Reach the Doorsteps of Baby Boomers and Seniors?

April 8th, 2014 Posted by Jessica Ruhle

What is Facebook Paper, and why should those marketing to Baby Boomers and seniors care? Facebook Paper is the social network giant’s newest way of delivering content and putting its stamp on the digital world. But it’s not just about providing you with the newest way to reach your personal social newsfeed. Facebook Paper allows you to connect and read all news that is important to you.

I recently began using Facebook Paper and I found it quite intuitive and super-sleek. I have enjoyed it so much that I vowed to never go back to using “regular” Facebook again. If you’re interested in seeing how it works, they’ve created this 2-minute introductory video on how it works.

In the segment, you see there is a subtle nod to the fact that they would like for this to replace your daily newspaper. Or at least that’s what they are hoping. Facebook created the app (only available to IPhone users) to continue to be not only the leading social network, but to chip away at online news sources. Paper combines the two into a one-stop shop.

You not only get to connect with your friends, old and new, but you can select other topics to view. Choose from such areas as “Headlines” (top news), “Score” (sports), “Flavor” (food topics) and “Cute” (all the kittens and puppies you can handle). Customizable, relevant news plus your social network – an ideal for most people in this fast-paced world we live in today.

But the question remains, will Facebook Paper be something the older generation will download?

Will Baby Boomers adopt Facebook Paper?

Creating Results’ 2013 Social, Silver Surfers study found that, despite the fact that social networking activity by older adults has grown in the past 3 years, there is still reluctance to adopt social amongst the older generations.

Chart -social networking activity level by age group - baby boomers, seniors

Most think it’s a waste of time, or it’s too commercial, or it’s a breach of their privacy. So, now that Facebook has taken a more grown-up approach with Paper, will that change the perception of social networking in seniors? Will they even consider the app given the stigma that Facebook has in their minds? Only time will tell, but our guess is that as with its predecessor, seniors and boomers will likely be late adopters to Paper if at all.

How Facebook Paper affects the way we market to Baby Boomers

Short answer: it shouldn’t.

If your business is already on Facebook and attracting the 50+ audience, then there’s nothing you need to change. The information you put on Facebook will automatically be put onto Facebook Paper. There is no need to make additional posts in one place versus the other.

Currently, Facebook Paper is only available to those with iPhones. It has not trickled to those with iPads or for Android users. And while Mobile and Tablet users among the older generations has increased (some as much as 117% in the last year, as seen with our client North Hill), the dominant way for your prospects viewing you online is still via their desktop (more than 75%). Therefore, the chances that your older audience is using Facebook Paper are quite limited at this stage.

What’s all the hype?

If you hadn’t heard about Facebook Paper before today, you’re actually not alone. Facebook Paper is a very new app (released in February 2014), so it hasn’t had much time to gain users and awareness. Just 4% of mobile users said they have downloaded Facebook Paper already. Another 10% said they know what it is. 11% said they have heard of Facebook Paper but don’t exactly know what it is. And 76% of mobile users said they have never even heard of Facebook Paper.

Therefore, while it’s a very intuitive and sleekly designed application, we at Creating Results do not see boomers and seniors trading in their New York Times subscriptions just yet. (Print is still a very valuable medium to Baby Boomers.) Nor do we even envision them seeing the need to combine their online news sources with their social networks.

Tell us, have you downloaded Facebook Paper yet? Do you think older generations will jump in? Share your comments with us.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – A Smorgasbord

April 7th, 2014 Posted by Erin Read

Last week, our Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn connections clicked on a wide variety of links. The result? This weekly links round-up is a smorgasbord* of resources for folks marketing to seniors and boomers.

Without further ado, let’s serve up those insights:

Photo source: ReelSEO

Photo source: ReelSEO

1) The next time someone implies that seniors can’t handle technology, tell them about Peter Oakley, often described as “YouTube’s Granddad.” He once had the most popular channel on YouTube! ReelSEO shared his story along with news of his passing at 86. Oakley was quoted as saying “[YouTube] does, I think, reflect the whole of society, so that’s a wonderful thing.”

Read the wonderful tribute on ReelSEO: http://bit.ly/1h7vGgz

2) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is — we hope — an ongoing effort for anyone marketing to seniors and boomers. But what about social media optimization? Recent Google algorithm changes have increased the value of social shares. James Scherer offers advice for optimizing content for social media in 2014.

Read Scherer’s 5 tips: http://bit.ly/1jUmfBK

3) “If a community works for kids and elderly, it works for EVERYONE.” So notes urban planner Scott Ball in Coming of Age in Aging America, which presents the “big idea in 4 minutes.” This video is definitely worth 4 minutes of your time, and you’ll likely spend many more minutes considering the issues raised.

Watch the video: http://bit.ly/1srQFiI


4) Creating Results has been nominated as the “best sales & marketing consultants” in the Best of Senior Living Awards from SeniorHomes.com. Every vote counts and we’d appreciate yours. http://ow.ly/uUlxM 

5) A communications/messaging tip from David Meerman Scott that isn’t limited to PR:

“PR tip: Don’t tell journalists what your products do. Tell them how you solve problems for your customers.”


* Smorgasbord – Merriam Webster definition: a meal with many different foods on a large table where people can help themselves. Erin’s definition: a word that makes me smile and think of the Muppets’ Swedish Chef.

Bork-bork-bork! Have a lovely week.


More Senior Living Take-Aways from PEAK 2014

April 1st, 2014 Posted by Beth Spohn

Last week we shared senior living insights from LeadingAge’s PEAK Leadership Summit.  Here are several ideas from the conference specifically about how to implement and lead change.

What are you doing within your own organization to ensure you are continuing to innovate and evolve?  Perhaps these examples can provide some food for thought:

YMCA core values, as represented by YMCA Calgary

YMCA core values, as represented by YMCA Calgary

1. Know what you stand for – Take the advice of Kelly Papa from Masonicare offered during her session Effervescence: Leading Change with Enthusiasm. Write down your core values and the actions you will take to live those values.  She noted that this will make it easier to practice your values so everyone around you knows what you stand for.

INSIGHT TO ACTION: Do this same exercise with your organization – an excellent start to a repositioning strategy or refreshing a brand. Can you imagine how much more powerful a message you send if your residents see your tagline being demonstrate in every interaction they have?

2. Find your Passion – We also loved Kelly’s working theory on leading change: Inspire, Connect & Transform.  She has observed that a primary catalyst for change is often just one person’s passion.  That passion can become even more powerful when they connect and empower others to share in their excitement.

Kelly illustrated this with a story about a nurse at Masonicare who had sent emails about a therapy for Parkinson’s disease called “BIG & LOUD.” Since the leadership team was unfamiliar with the effectiveness of the therapy, no one had pushed the idea forward. Not until Kelly saw the nurse demonstrate the treatment did she realize its value and was able help secure the proper training.

INSIGHT TO ACTION: What are you passionate about – what is your staff passionate about? Are they empowered to share their passions, especially those that align with your community’s values?  Do you make time to listen and be a conduit to connect their passion into transformation?

3. Transform Habits – I highly recommend Charles Dughigg’s book The Power of Habit.  Dughigg served as PEAK 2014’s keynote speaker and shared many ideas regarding how to effectively use the science behind our habits, social connections and even a crisis to affect positive change in your organization.

Some actionable take-a-ways from his research included:

* Willpower: Research shows willpower (self-control) is similar to exercise endurance – the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Beware, however, as major stress or inflection points can completely derail one’s willpower.

Charles Duhigg - Power of Habit - Starbucks LATTE Method

Charles Duhigg – “The Power of Habit”

INSIGHT INTO ACTION: It is important for leaders to tune into the stressors or triggers of their team and offer strategies for perseverance. Teach and practice tools like Starbuck’s LATTE method (Listen, Acknowledge, Take, Thanks, Encourage) to handle difficult customer encounters gracefully.

* During a crisis people are more susceptible to change, Duhigg found, because after a crisis people are more likely to make the connection between their current routines to the negative outcomes of the crisis.

“Good leaders will seize crises to remake organizational habits.”

INSIGHT INTO ACTION: Be aware of the habits you may not even know exist: Every organization has unwritten rules regarding how an organization communicates.

* Give employees “permission” to challenge a superior. At Rhode Island Hospital, doctors didn’t listen when nurses challenged them and several patients’ lives were lost as a result.

* Take time to listen to front line employees’ ideas. They could lead to innovation, solving problems, cost savings and may even create a competitive advantage. For example, at the multi-national company Alcoa, their new CEO set an unwavering rule to report safety issues across the company in “real time.” This led to the creation of a worldwide corporate email system in which employees shared more than accident reports. They now shared competitive intelligence and pricing information. Since everyone in the company had access to the tool, even employees on the production floor could share the process improvements.

3. All Stakeholders Matter – Make sure that you get your residents and employees invested in implementing change. I had the pleasure of sitting with three residents of Thomas Circle during a roundtable discussion lead by Amy Levner of AARP. Thomas Circle is a community in the heart of Washington, D.C. a location that the residents I spoke with really valued. The residents offered such a different perspective on the conversation topics than the senior living professionals gathered for PEAK.

INSIGHT INTO ACTION: Don’t forget your existing residents when approaching a change or innovation.  Their insights and experiences with your organization could be invaluable.

BONUS Invest in the Next generation of young leaders NOW – Larry Zook of Landis Communities is a loyal Mature Marketing Matters follower – thank you, Larry! – and a leader in senior living. He emailed me that Charles Duhigg’s session reinforced for him “the opportunity we have to encourage young people new to the workforce to become serving leaders, and to celebrate our organizational cultures and habits that empower and reward service to others.

Copyright ©1999-2013  Creating Results, LLC | Mid Atlantic: 703.494.7888 | New England: 401.289.2500 | Privacy Notice

Creative Commons License
Mature Marketing Matters - Blog by Creating Results, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at www.maturemarketingmatters.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.CreatingResults.com.

A 2013 Finalist - Best of Senior Living Awards


Our Work
Case Studies