Circles of Change:Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen
on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment
October 12, 2008
“Building Community through Promises Kept”
1)Handmaker offers a “continuum of care” from independent living through skilled nursing for “aging in place”. Our adult day programs service the disabled, the impaired, and are a friendly social venue for individuals – a break for other caregivers.To us, families come in units.
2)We are non-profit to reflect our charitable activities, and are non-sectarian, accepting people of all faiths.We firmly focus on quality of care, not size of returns.While we need to be fiscally responsible to stay in business, our workday revolves around our residents, not our P&L sheet.
3)We offer a vibrant social life for our residents, and are centrally located near hospitals, doctors, dining and shopping. First founded in 1963 with a 40 bed skilled nursing home, our expansion occurred through the 60s and 70s, until by 1986 Handmaker had 161 skilled nursing beds.
4)In 2000, Handmaker went through major demolition and construction, and entered the new millennium with an emphasis on assisted living, while keeping our tradition of skilled nursing and adult day care.Residents are carefully placed within the right neighborhood of service, creating a sense of community.
5)We are dedicated to stability despite the rapidity with which the business landscape has changed. Almost every assisted living in Tucson that is older than seven years has been bought and sold at least twice.Handmaker has never changed hands in 45 years, and we are now serving the grandchildren of people we served in past years.
6)Our staff turnover is very low for this industry and we have many employees with 20, 30, even 40 years of service. Our employees “have it on the inside”, the heart and commitment to work for others.We have a very favorable staffing ratio to allow more interaction and one-on-one service time per resident.
7)Tucson has been undergoing a continuous expansion for a couple of decades which has expanded our client base; but, it has expanded everyone else’s too.Impacts occur that you might not think about until they happen. We are competing very hard against national chains for nurses and care staff, and we have also seen changes in population centers such as how the Northwest has grown.If the drive is too long or onerous, a family might well place a loved one close by vs. our campus in mid-town.
Leading my company through change is about becoming adept at balancing tensions – tradeoffs, new program choices, honoring compliance requirements in a cost effective way – trying to constantly reconcile polar opposites, and assessing the impact this has on the organization and our service to residents and their extended families.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008