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Core values give us guidance at work, home
Senior Moments
Rich DeLong is executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care in Richmond Hill. - photo by File photo

By now most of us have seen the unfortunate video of a passenger being dragged off of a United Airlines flight last month.

Moreover, we have been inundated with all the fallout comments and rhetoric regarding what happened, and what will most likely result from this event; as well as subsequent high-profile airline-related incidents captured on video.

There may be much more to these stories than what we all know at this time; and yet I can’t help feeling that these occurrences are something that could have and should have been avoided. I’m certain United feels the same way.

Any organization, large or small, no matter the industry or trade, is susceptible to a public relations nightmare when actions fall short of expectations. The magnitude of an event only worsens when there’s video rolling.

Senior living organizations are certainly not exempt from this group; and are, in fact, probably one of the leading industries for which core values must not only be preached daily, but also embraced by every single person working with our elderly population.

When you rely on people serving people, there is hardly any margin for error; and yet we have the recent United Airlines incident to prove that we still have a long way to go.

Some time ago I created my own personal mission statement to help guide me in my professional life, as well as impact my personal relationships. It is not perfect, but it does help keep me on a straighter, narrower pathway.

Within the framework of any mission are core values. I would have developed my own, but instead decided to adopt the values expounded by my company. Why reinvent the wheel if you already have something that takes you where you want to go?

The key to core values is making sure they can be both memorized and internalized. They should be simple but significant. Anything more or less will make it difficult to be embraced by the greatest asset of any business — its people.

The other day I asked our staff members to relate our core values to the United Airlines incident and then comment on what happened. Each employee remarked in one way or another indicating an incident like that would have been unthinkable. Here’s why.

Our core values use the acronym CARE. This word speaks for itself. C is for compassion. Imagine a hospital without compassionate people. It’s a busy place for sure and yet there must be an effort to weave compassion throughout each action that occurs on any given day; anything less is honestly unacceptable.

A is for attitude. Success demands a great attitude. Years ago Zig Ziglar declared, "It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude." If you have a sour attitude and want to change the way you feel, you must first change the way you think.

R stands for respect. Respect means giving the proper time to a person or situation. Every successful person I ever knew took time to build great relationships; yet today we always hear there is not enough time. And what do our seniors need more than anything else today? That’s right; they need our time!

E is for ethics. Fair principles, responsible actions, duties and obligations are key essentials to operating any business. Doing the right thing doesn’t automatically bring success. But compromising ethics almost always leads to failure.

Take CARE my friends.

 Contact him at 912-531-7867 or email him at:

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