Lisa McCracken headshot
Lisa McCracken, Ziegler director of senior living research and development

Strategic planning is essential in “hitting the reset button” on post-pandemic investments, according to privately held specialty investment bank Ziegler.

“It is more critical than ever for senior living organizations to have a roadmap for their future,” Lisa McCracken, Ziegler’s director of senior living research and development wrote in a recent newsletter. “The lingering impact of the pandemic will be with us for some time, but it cannot be an excuse for ignoring the strategic initiatives for the organization.” 

Firstly, the board, along with the executive management team, needs to be proactive in developing a strategic plan, she said.

“If you do not have a current strategic plan, we encourage you to start the journey now,” McCracken wrote.

One mistake to avoid, she said, is to expect things to go back to the pre-pandemic normal. Boards and leadership teams need to work together to navigate the changes, and agree on how to proceed, McCracken wrote.

“If the C-Suite team is pushing for change, but the board is comfortable with the current state of affairs, there will be roadblocks,” she said.

Additionally, don’t get stuck on waiting to see how the overall economy fares;  act on the best information available at the time, “knowing that it might not be exactly right and that almost right is okay,” McCracken wrote.

Rather than making long-term decisions, organizations must also look at short-cycle planning in this new climate, she said, adding that instead of looking a decade or two down the road, plan for the next few years and be ready to re-evaluate in 18 months or so.

“This does not need to be a complete overhaul and abandonment of previously established goals, but rather necessary adjustments for how quickly things are changing and the need to be nimble in the planning process,” according to McCracken.

Further, she suggested bringing multiple perspectives into planning.

“Board diversity, diverse leadership teams and input from the range of stakeholder groups can enrich the process and propel your organization forward in remarkable ways,” McCracken wrote.

The pandemic created challenges across the board, but according to McCracken, the disruption also “presents great opportunity for reinvention and organizational repositioning.”