Larry Minnix recalls his first big firing

Any conversation with Larry Minnix is sure to have no shortage of quotable material, a fact anyone who has had the chance to share words with the man knows quite well. My realization of Minnix’s depth came after profiling the president of LeadingAge for our upcoming February issue of Long-Term Living. He left me with so much good material after our conversations that cutting dialogue for the sake of a word limit seemed profane. Luckily, we have blogs.

The quote from Minnix that follows did not make it into the profile, but it is still worth a read for anyone interested in his career arc.

I remember the first time that I had to replace a senior level person. I had colleagues who said you are making a big mistake and others said it’s about time that somebody did it.

I went to my boss and I asked, Did I do the right thing? And he said, Nobody can tell you, that’s why you get paid for a leadership position. Now time will tell if you did the right thing or not and you’ll have to live with the consequences of it either way. So then all of a sudden that’s when you know you’re expected to be a grown up in a management position because some of the toughest decisions you make are around people first.

The second toughest kind of decisions are to start or stop a program and you take a risk when you implement something new or shutdown something old if you know it’s not working. A huge decision in my early tenure as the CEO of Wesley Woods—we had a 1970s nursing home that had become antiquated in terms of its physical structure as well as its program. You really couldn’t change the structure to make it an attractive building, so you go to your board and say, We have an old building we got to do something with, and it has 30 years of tradition. You swallow hard before you tell somebody it’s time to cast aside 30 years of tradition and make something else out of it. But we turned an antiquated nursing home with a lot of double and triple rooms and a shared bath at the end of the hall into an outpatient and research center. And we had to raise money. It was a big decision for us and our board to make.

Minnix obviously knows enough about long-term care, but it’s his experience in the trenches that gives him a compelling voice.

Topics: Advocacy