ALFA kicks off its 2009 conference

It’s spring in Philadelphia as the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) celebrates 20 years of dedication to the field and the people it serves.

This year’s Best of the Best award winners are concrete proof that a bad economy cannot squelch innovative thinking and operational excellence. Resident Services, Human Resources, Sales and Marketing, and Operations Technologies are the categories in which the winners offer their templates for success. From Benchmark Assisted Living’s partnership with the Arthritis Foundation in creating exercise programs for its residents to Newton, Massachusetts’ Five Star Senior Living Signature Recipes Cookbook that highlights the “flavors” of each of its communities, facilities are continuing to find ways to serve clients in a financially distressing time.

In the opening session, keynote speaker Scott McKain, author and business leader, presented a lively discussion on “How to Adapt to Change When Change Is Constant.” He says that differentiation is the key to becoming a leading organization. He demonstrated how people see change more readily than through hearing or reading about it. Leading companies, whether they sell coffee (Starbucks), computers (Apple), or long-term care, achieved that success by becoming distinct from their competitors. Successful organizations don’t copy other competitors and their customers do not take them for granted. They strive for distinction. Traditional customer service is not enough anymore and facilities must have focus on their customers changing needs and preferences.

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