John O'Connor illustration
McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor
John O'Connor
John O’Connor

It’s no secret that senior living professionals are being challenged as perhaps never before. Whether it’s workforce management, dealing with competition, finding sustainable growth or some other hurdle, operators have their hands pretty full.

In the spirit of helping, I’d like to suggest five books that are chock full of valuable insights and strategies that can help you better navigate these — and other — awake-at-night issues.

  1. “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

Sinek explores the dynamics of effective leadership by examining the correlation between a leader’s behavior and team performance. For senior living professionals struggling with employee retention, “Leaders Eat Last” provides valuable lessons on building a culture of trust and loyalty within your community.

2. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

As senior living professionals face the challenge of increasing occupancy levels and navigating market competition, “The Lean Startup” offers a fresh perspective on entrepreneurship and business strategy. Ries introduces the concept of the lean startup methodology, emphasizing the importance of rapid experimentation and validated learning. Applying these principles can help senior living professionals refine their marketing strategies, enhance customer satisfaction, and adapt quickly to changing market dynamics.

3. “From Good to Great” by Jim Collins

This classic work smartly examines factors that differentiate successful companies from their counterparts. It also delivers timeless principles for achieving sustainable growth. By studying companies that made the leap from average to outstanding, senior living leaders can glean valuable insights into effective management practices while also fostering a culture of innovation and strategic planning.

4. “Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals” by Darian Rodriguez Heyman

Don’t let the title fool you. For-profits sizing up funding sources and exploring potential portfolio expansions can learn a lot here as well. The book covers various aspects of organizational management, fundraising and strategic planning.

5. “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

This ground-breaking work is a must-read for senior living professionals seeking to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing industry. Christensen examines how successful companies can fail by sticking too closely to their existing products and processes. He argues that disruptive innovations, often initially inferior or niche, can upend established industries, challenging companies to adapt or risk obsolescence.

As the saying goes, readers are leaders. These five books offer valuable insights and strategies that can help you lead your organization through times both good and bad.

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s Senior Living and its sister media brands, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, which focuses on skilled nursing, and McKnight’s Home Care. Read more of his columns here.