Knowing when it's time

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John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
I bought my wife an iPad about a week before it was announced a new model would soon be released. I had a similar experience with my last cell phone. Admittedly, I may not be the world's most qualified person for predicting technology shifts.

Yet if a provider were to ask me when the best time to change for the future might be, I'd have no hesitation about when to make the move: now.

The writing isn't just on the wall. The writing has been on the wall. Here are five obvious things future long-term care survivors need to be doing (if they aren't doing them already):

First, accept the fact that change is inevitable. That is not as easy as it sounds. But it is a non-negotiable price of admission to the future. It is true that most people really don't want to give up comfortable spots. But there is no future in clinging to the past. You and your organization need to truly accept that change is underway. And this new mindset needs to start at the top. Young Turks full of energy and new ideas are not going to get far if the gatekeepers running the show are little more than passive-aggressive keepers of the past. It's time to move on, or move out.

Second, develop several possible future scenarios. Will you need to be a partner to both a hospital and a homecare provider? Perhaps.

Third, understand what it is that you do well. How can you build on strength if you do not truly know what that strength is? Your organization did not make it this far without having some unique advantages.

Fourth, identify strategic moves that can position your firm as a winner. This can build on the previous point of knowing what your strengths are. But it's more than likely that you will also have to develop new capacities as well.

Fifth, develop a model that supports your new strategic direction. As the old adage goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

These are simple steps, but they are not easy. There will be organizations that trip at each of these five points, but that's forgivable.

What's not forgivable? Knowing that change is required, having a map in your hand and then staying exactly where you are.
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