Larry Minnix’s 6 leadership imperatives for the future of aging services

During today’s general session at the LeadingAge annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Larry Minnix delivered his state of the association speech with a steadfast, pull-no-punches attitude. (He clearly has other things on his mind—but more on that in a forthcoming blog.)

Despite being a time for celebration—this being the 50th anniversary of LeadingAge, the third namesake of the organization—Minnix wasted no time on pomp and instead drove at the reason why all 9,000 attendees had made the trek to their nation’s capital: pondering what they can do to not only survive in such challenging times, but to become even better at delivering aging services. And he said members must focus on these six imperatives going forward:

1. Flex the strength of your non-profit status. This item essentially set the tone for the remaining imperatives, but Minnix stressed that LeadingAge members must start “redefining [their] missions to express core values in new and innovative ways.” Which then leads to:

2. Start engaging consumers. Or, more specifically, target those families who have a generation above and below to support. He called it “consumer-centered, consumer-directed” planning—another phrase for refocusing your programs to account for a new kind of long-term care customer. (Now where have we heard that before?)

3. Cultivate talent. A no-brainer: The future success of this industry is going to depend on having the right people at all levels—from frontline to executive suite. That includes LeadingAge’s leadership academy, but especially those who feel a deep calling to this field. “You have them in every one of your organizations,” Minnix said. Retaining those individuals is therefore a priority.

4. Lead innovation. “We cannot spend our way out of our situation,” Minnix stressed, before saying that the nation can’t cut anymore, either, having already “cut to the bone.” “The only way we can solve our problem is through innovation,” he continued. What unique programs, developments or partnerships has your organization created to lead innovation and further its sustainability? Minnix wants to hear them.

5. Create a new financing paradigm. Minnix called on members to do their part in helping the nation reduce its deficit by honoring a commitment to quality. He then inspired them to seek creative ways of accessing capital and to support consumers in their search for long-term care needs.

6. Pioneer technology. “Technology is not an end in itself,” but is a means to improve the quality of services offered, Minnix said. This includes monitoring technologies to prevent falls, personal emergency response systems, telehealth, seamless electronic health records—all linked to 24/7 call centers. This is just the beginning of where technology is leading quality improvement efforts, and a greater example of technology at work can be found at the LeadingAge Idea House (more on that later as well).

Topics: Leadership