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JUST THE FACTS Assisted Living Federation of America.

Who: Assisted Living Federation of America

What: ALFA Fall 2000 show

Where: Seattle, Wash.

When: Sept 10-13,2000

THE TEE-SHIRTS FOR SALE IN PIKE'S Market exemplify what one should expect: "Come visit the Seattle rain festival: Held from January 1 to December 31." The perennial weather report notwithstanding, the city proved to be a dry, comfortable backdrop to the AIFA Fall 2000 show.

What the show lacked in traffic on the trade show floor it made up for in seminars and an arresting keynote speaker. Dr. Jackie Freiberg, along with co-author Dr. Kevin Freiberg, wrote Nuts: Southwest Airlines' crazy recipe for business and personal success. Their message is manifold: put customers second behind employees, and don't forget how to have fun.

"Create a culture where people want to work," Freiberg espouses. That means making the workplace fun. That resonates to resident needs as well. Find out what your employees and residents want to do to have fun. You're not just creating a job (for the employee) or warehousing a body (for the resident), you're creating relationships.

On being a great executive or administrator, Freiberg reminds, "Great leaders hire for attitude and train for skill." Attitude is critical, she says. Hire people who exude a good attitude, because attitudes are contagious.

But put residents second?

Freiberg explains why long-term success can come only when you put the resident second and your employee first. Start with the internal spirit of service. That leads to employee satisfaction, which leads to retention of great people. This leads to employee commitment and productivity, which then translates into resident satisfaction. This then results in resident retention and loyalty, which ultimately yields value and profit for the company.

Because of this paradigm, Freiberg explains, emphasizing customer (resident) satisfaction is worthless. You don't start building a sturdy structure from the middle, you have to start with the foundation, she summarizes. Moreover, touting your facility as one that guarantees resident satisfaction is worthless. After all, resident satisfaction should be a "gimme," it's expected. "It's basic, and basic is ordinary," she says. "Strive for something beyond basic service: strive for delightful service!"

Take your competition and the job that you do seriously, just don't take yourself too seriously, she emphasizes.
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Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Date:Nov 1, 2000
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