Joy, Compassion, Integrity, Stewardship, & Community. These were the values that Pennsylvania’s Landis Communities uncovered as they set out strategically to build an organization that excels in customer-friendly service and information.
For this “senior living spotlight” series, we talked to Larry Guengerich, Director of Communications & Church Relations at Landis. He says those values aren’t just stated. They drive everything Landis does.
Putting Values Into Practice
Values Based Leadership: It is easy to just attribute an organization’s success to a single charismatic leader. But Guengerich says that what makes Landis successful is that it takes a TEAM. “The entire leadership team (director level and up) uses the principles of ‘Values Based Leadership.’”
Landis is one of the 17 members of the Anabaptist Providers Group (APG) that trains employees and helps instill their values within all aspects of leadership development. They also make attending and participating at conferences a priority. Being active in APG, LeadingAge and other organizations brings value to the Landis organization as well.
Marketing: You’re not following Landis Homes on Facebook? Then you’re missing a master-class in values-driven communications. A great share on YouTube explaining their stream restoration project: http://youtu.be/S44V9QtQDQg
Recruiting: Before hiring for a new position, Landis’ leadership thinks carefully about the type of people they are seeking: This is true for ANY person – a high school intern to the CFO.
They want to find people that exhibit joy in their work as well as Landis’ other values. As Guengerich notes, “You can train someone to have skills to perform a job, but it is much more difficult to teach someone values.”
Landis’ HR team or, the “value finders” are responsible for identifying new employees that fit this bill.
Each candidate receives a copy of the mission and vision statement at their interview. They are asked to pick one of the values that they feel their closest family and friends would say they emulate, and describe a time they exhibited that value.
After team members are hired, Landis celebrates the small victories with ice cream, free meals, coupons, public recognition of their time in service and more.
Partnerships: One of Landis’ latest projects, Steeple View Lofts, shows how forming unique partnerships creates innovative and customer-friendly offerings.
As many senior living organizations know, not everyone can (or wants) to move to a traditional CCRC in the suburbs. Landis’ solution was to develop an apartment community with amenities within downtown Lancaster, PA. Steeple View Lofts has retail space, an art gallery and ample common space that helps create a greater sense of community among residents. Not to mention amazing views from the apartments!
Landis created this high quality housing thanks to a partnership. A land planning developer working with Landis on another project happened to meet a developer interested in purchasing the old tobacco warehouse. Landis’ vision was so clear that the developer was compelled to make an introduction to Larry Zook, CEO of Landis Communities, and Steeple View was born.
Guengerich’s Three Tips for Value-Driven Partnerships
1. Be intentional – look for partners that can help the organization answer “WHERE ARE WE HEADED.”
2. Make creating partnerships a strategic goal. That gives your team the “right and the duty” to explore and form them.
3. Meet with LOTS of groups/people, but set some parameters. You never know how or when the planting of a partnership seed will grow into a value tree.
Larry said it this way: “Take a meeting with someone even if you don’t have a clear idea of what the end result will be, but stay within a couple hour drive for in-person meetings.”
Do you share your organization’s mission, vision and values with your partners? What kind of amplification have you seen from doing that?
Please use the comments section below to contribute. Or stop by our booth (#524) at the LeadingAge Ohio conference next week, and share your thoughts in person!
* Part 1: How Landis Excels at Customer-Friendly Service, Information
* Hear Todd Harff speak about partnership marketing at the 2014 LeadingAge national conference in Nashville