During every job interview I conduct, I ask the candidate to share his or her purpose in life. It doesn’t have to be the same as mine, but it should align with Silverado’s. This is the most important question I ask because having purpose ultimately shapes a company’s culture, and culture is a big part of our success.
When starting Silverado, I knew I wanted to establish a company with a long-term vision that would be compelling and motivating to the people who join us in any capacity.
To build this type of company and create a vision to support it, a leader must first have a purpose. Purpose is what drives us. There were times our company should have failed, but having a clear purpose motivated us to move forward.
In fact, our approach to memory care was so different that people didn’t understand it, and some literally laughed at it. Knowing that our purpose was to transform the way the world cares for people with memory impairments kept us focused.
A clear purpose is the path to creating a vision that inspires others. Silverado’s vision is to give life to residents, clients, patients, associates and all their families. It means we aim to enhance the quality of life of everyone we touch. This vision is something we talk about all the time, and it gives our associates an opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Establishing a vision is critical because a company’s culture is derived from it.
A strong culture pays dividends
The future of our business depends on our culture and already it has helped us to achieve financial success.
Maintaining our culture enhances our premium brand position. Consumers see our brand as a collection of passionate, caring, innovative people who really make a difference in the lives of others.
And the business community recognizes our people as differentiators. What this means for business is less risk of volatility from economic swings and a stronger pricing model. Even during the major economic downturn of 2008, our occupancy and pricing held up. In fact, we grew at a record pace when others cut rates and services.
Even lenders recognize our culture and connect with our purpose and vision. When seeking financing, I don’t start with the financials. I begin with the vision and a story about what we do and how we do it — something that happens as a result of our vision and culture.
We have been able to easily obtain financing from banks and REITs at times when others cannot get funding for new development or acquisitions.
Leaders are the key to maintaining our culture. When you have strong leaders who share a purpose that aligns with the purpose of the organization, great things are possible. Their passion can be a major influence on what makes your culture unique.
Culture can and does drive financial success, but it doesn’t exist without first knowing your purpose. ●