The above was the subtitle of Malcolm Gladwell’s book titled David and Goliath. Reading it has my mind churning with newfound perspective.
In my article of January 14, we noted that the average direct care hours we provide is double that of the average skilled nursing facility. Yet these Goliaths with large institutional buildings are seemingly the Giants of senior care. Brookdale, for example, has some 100,000 residents nationwide. We have 22. I think that qualifies us as the proverbial David when we compete with the large facilities, which is the situation we find ourselves in every day.
We are attracted to stories of lopsided conflicts – where the underdog battles through and wins against the odds. ComfortCare is the seeming underdog and misfit, with no weapons suitable to defeat the Giants.
Trying to play the Giant’s game is rarely successful. To win as an underdog you need the belief that you can win – and this often comes from having a higher purpose.
Gladwell’s premise is that David was never the underdog against Goliath. He envisions a Giant who was only comfortable fighting in close battle with swords due to vision issues because he invites David to come closer. He mistakes David’s expert use of a sling as a couple of sticks. This guerrilla tactic was unexpected but gave David a decided advantage.
In his research, Gladwell found that Ivan Arreguin-Toft analyzed all the wars over the past 200 years. When he looked at one-sided battles (where one side had 10x the size of the population to the other), he found the larger country won 71.5% of cases. However, when he looked at those cases where the smaller country fought with unconventional tactics (such as guerrilla warfare), he found in these situations they won more time than they lost – in these situations the underdogs won in just under two-thirds of wars (63.6%)!
To win against the Giants, the Davids need to adopt different strategies. But most of the time underdogs don’t fight like Davids as they blindly accept the rules of the game as defined by the dominant players.
It is by being unconventional that ComfortCare enjoyed some 95% occupancy in 2016, because our humble size is our advantage. By being small and nimble in adapting to change, by providing care to fewer residents in smaller buildings, by having intimate relationships develop between residents, caregivers and families, and by having a higher purpose—a focus on care instead of the bottom line—ComfortCare enjoys a great asset the Giants don’t have. Giants warehouse the elderly and cut the hours of care, they don’t have the time to know residents or families intimately and thus their gargantuan size and budgets end up being their downfall as they are unable to provide the care those with cognitive impairment and physical limitations really need.
Don’t take my word for it, but listen to this recent post from one of our families on our Facebook page in response to my January 14 article:
The care your loved one will receive at ComfortCare is outstanding. My Mother was a resident of ComfortCare in Baldwin for about 18 months and not once did I have to worry that she was receiving excellent care. That was truly a blessing since I lived in Virginia and visited every 3 or 4 months. Thank you to everyone at ComfortCare for the love and care you give to all your residents. Judith Briscoe
Visualize our love and compassion captured in video at comfortcareks.com. Feel the ComfortCare Difference.