Each and every day it is my pleasure and gifted honor just to awaken. Today while the weather was a bit milder than we have enjoyed in the Midwest recently, it was still enjoyable with a crisp breeze that accented the perfect morning temperature. I always look, not with a view to comparing the day with what it could have been but I look with a view to how a particular circumstance makes me happy.
That view of life is gratifying. However, it must not be allowed to blind us when the time comes to abandon for the moment an opportunity to bask in the sun of what might appear to be good fortune, and make decisions that best reflect what is best for us and our businesses. Thinking on this lately made me reflect on the last decade and a few connected experiences. First it took me to a visit into Macomb County, Michigan where I met with a delightful entrepreneur who managed multiple assisted living homes. While I was not impressed with the staff, decor or general operational protocol in most I visited, I was assured there was a plan for improvement in every category and I assigned the benefit of the doubt to them. While entering the one home I met a psychiatrist at the kitchen table and his protege, a local psychologist.
I sort of came to know them both over the next few months, but mainly the psychologist, even visiting with his associates to offer my opinion on a home for the aged project they considered developing in the City of Detroit. Within a couple of months both the psychiatrist and psychologist were indicted on charges of Medicare fraud. After neither took my calls so I could hear their sides, I distanced my companies and staff.
I maintained some limited communication with the owner of the home where I had met them both. My then care management company even arranged for one of our care management clients to move into one of his residences. The actual placement was against my better judgment but we let it proceed anyway at the family’s urging. Soon there were complaints of cold temps in the bedroom, inattentive staff and more. I learned the only staff person whom I had met there – who was offensive at first meeting due to her tobacco product usage and spitting it out in my presence – also lived in the facility. I was told this was temporary. I think she was burned out. Soon the new resident’s family complained to such an extent that she had to be moved.
I went through something similar at other homes owned by this care delivery entrepreneur. It was obvious his finger was not on the pulse of his operation. I began to distance my company.
Before long I met others from the same area of SE Michigan via these same connections, including a most enjoyable and pleasant pharmacist and his business associates whose entrepreneurial spirit was contagious. I enjoyed their company and after a while considering I am from Wayne County I labeled them all, “my east side posse”. As I enjoyed their company and hearing about their grandiose plans in a variety of directions, something felt off. This is when I learned the primary player in their group was a convicted felon, having been involved with his own family in a “credit repair” scheme that landed him in federal prison. No big deal in my book, as any of us in our imperfect state are subject to errors in judgment and even lapses in integrity especially if greed is among our weaknesses we may be fighting to control. We all have to battle daily to manifest God-approved behavior as the works in progress that we are.
But once I learned he was back in the same or similar situation and potentially heading back to prison, I did as I did with the assisted living owner, psychiatrist and psychologist I mentioned earlier. I began to distance my company, staff and products.
Heading southward as a project manager I began to assemble a wonderful team who could bring a special urban insight to caring for those from the city who were managing catastrophic injury. One such gentleman, whose family shared a long history in adult foster care was particularly impressive. He was energetic, poised and came from a medical background. While I was concerned about his non-conformist disposition, he did attend a number of my company’s continuing education events, (www.directcaretraining.com) and had utilized our continuing education and direct care worker training products and services for his staff. One day I was speaking with a rep from the Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing on another matter and she indicated while in his home, she noticed one of our transcripts in a file. I reminded her we served hundreds of adult foster care providers.
She inquired, “so you are sure he has attended sessions; I am just curious” and I responded yes. Assuring her absolute discretion when inquiring as to why she would even be concerned, she remarked, “well a little distance there might serve you well. Not all of us respect the rule of law.” Soon a representative of a community mental health agency gave me pretty much the same advice when discussing this provider. Within 1 1/2 years, this man’s home, licensed for twenty, (20) residents was ordered closed and remains closed to this date. Of course before that I separated myself and my company from him.
Not surprisingly, some of these players enjoy the mud throwing which I will never understand. After all, it can only cut into your own productivity. At the same time I know that misery loves company. This former licensed adult foster care provider even called clients of mine with his venom and they maturely dismissed him as having no integrity as manifested by this behavior. Some still talk about it.
And all of this basically means what? It means that I knew then and I continue to know when to make strategic decisions that reflect what is best for my companies and me. If I hurt the feelings of some who may not be as broad a thinker as I, then what has to be simply has to be.
Every single year we have experienced remarkable growth and I surely plan for that to continue. I have no intention of becoming judgmental or even investing significant time into examining and re-examining the past. Progressive people are focused on creating tomorrow’s rewards, not re-living yesterday’s minuses.
What is the point of it all. Well it is two-fold. Number one is: NEVER EVER GIVE UP!! Look at the photo to the right—a snake is swallowing a lizard alive. The lizard loses its movement of its legs etc. as the snake swallows it whole. But at the last moment the lizard bites down HARD preventing the snake from swallowing any further. The moral of the story is the lizard walked away from this and you can too even when it seems you are being SWALLOWED–NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
I simply think its important to make the point that regardless of temporary pain or inconvenience, all of us in business must make decisions that look beyond the immediate future. Its the only way to survive and thrive long-term. Do you agree?
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