How do you think these cultural artifacts interrelate? Notice the reference to cultural artifacts. If culture is important and according to Peter Druker who said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” it’s very important, then it follows that they’re all significant in the context of culture.
Following is the case study. As you review it, you’re invited to imagine how you could use it to nudge your culture forward or if need be, overhaul it.
A foundational characteristic of the vision for Garden Spot Village was that it be considered an extension of and contribute to the life and health of the local New Holland Community. Founder Victor Weaver initially imagined a retirement community in eastern Lancaster County that would benefit his local community. His son Dale subsequently broadened the vision when he envisioned Garden Spot speaking into the ways services are provided to older adults around the world.
Those complementary visions helped shape the mission: “We will enrich the lives of older adults as an expression of Christ’s love,” and the core values: Community, Excellence, Service, Stewardship, Innovation and Integrity. As the culture evolved, the vision, mission and core values adapted incrementally, propelling the culture into new realms.
When Steve Lindsey joined Garden Spot Village as CEO in 2000 he went to work crafting a culture that engaged the local community. When Garden Spot needed to increase skilled nursing in 2006, he desired to create a skilled nursing setting that resembled living at home as closely as possible. That led to an invitation to Action Pact to walk the organization through a culture change experience. The result was a unique household model of skilled nursing with a focus on Person Centered service. That model was replicated at Maple Farm several years later. Over time the person centered approach moved beyond residents to include employees. A dramatic example was the replacement of annual performance reviews with a coaching model of employee engagement.
During a Catalyst Conference attended by several Garden Spot leaders, Andy Stanley made a comment in reference to organizational culture that captured their attention; he said, “If you don’t know why something’s working when it is working, you won’t know how to fix it when it’s broke.” Because the culture seemed to be working by evidence of the fact that baby boomers recognized Garden Spot Village as a community that would significantly enhance their lifestyle and they were choosing it in record numbers, a strategic initiative was identified to define and articulate the Garden Spot Experience.
A Garden Spot Experience team was established to study the culture. Anthropologic studies were conducted. The elements and artifacts of the culture were identified. Educational sessions were crafted as well as sustainability initiatives.
All of that was channeled into a value proposition that defines Garden Spot’s uniqueness. Many communities offer beautiful campuses and resort style amenities. In addition to those, the people of Garden Spot experience “Abundant Opportunities to Live with Purpose in Community.” This seemingly simple statement articulates an incredibly engaging lifestyle that you have to experience to fully appreciate. It’s not only an authentic statement. It’s so compelling that Garden Spot lowered the minimum age of entry to 55 in July 2017 because people were challenging the minimum age restriction of 62. Garden Spot lowered the age minimum as a result of customer demand.
If you can attract baby boomers, you gain access to a demographic of 77 million people. There are two significant realities. This group of people demands an environment that reflects contemporary society and a culture that enhances their lifestyle. Give them that and you’ll position your community for long term sustainability and growth.
ForgeWorks believes in the principle of abundance. By openly sharing best practices everyone wins together, builds a better society and improves the lives of the people we serve. Give us a call to gain access to sustainable, culture shaping best practices and let’s explore how we might work together to create the community and services that uniquely position you in the markets you serve for years to come.
Scott Miller is not your typical marketer. He looks at the total experience and affords new ways of creating community, broadening customer insight and interaction through initiatives that engage the heart and mind.