Friday, July 7, 2017

"Time To Choose Up Sides To Put Together A Truly Professional AIP Team"

Remember back to our youth when we used to choose up sides to play kickball, football, baseball, or other sports or games? We would designate two captains - or they would emerge (maybe one of them had the ball that we were going to use)  - and then everyone else would form an informal line or semicircle. One-by-one, the captains would take turns picking their team from those remaining in line. Eventually it would be down to the last two people, and then one.

That's the essence of choosing sides, and it has some relevance for our aging in place service teams.

To perform much of the work that we want to do as aging in place professionals, we are going to need a team. We need to begin choosing one now so that we will be ready when we get that first assignment where we need one. It's a little late at that point to go out an recruit one so let's begin now. Then we can begin marketing ourselves with our team in place.

Unlike a sandlot situation where the captains initially pick the strongest players and work their way down to the weakest ones, we can - and must - pick all strong candidates. By beginning before we have been retained to show up with a team, we can take our time and be choosy.

We begin with ourselves, whatever profession we are. Whether we are a general contractor or remodeler, custom builder, carpenter, plumber, flooring contractor, lighting contractor, electrician, low voltage electrician, HVAC contractor, occupational therapist or COTA, physical therapist or PTA, nurse, physician, case manager, real estate agent, durable medical equipment specialist, interior designer, kitchen and/or bath designer, cabinet designer, or other part of the aging in place solutions delivery system, we need all of the other pieces and likely more to help us. Additionally, we need two or more of the others because of scheduling and availability. 

We also are going to need a strong bench - people who can refer work to us, such as other medical professionals, attorneys, insurance agents, public adjusters, service and repair professionals, paramedics, and others who are in a position to meet people and understand their needs when we can't.

However, before we just start looking for professionals to contact - online or from our database - we need a plan. What are we looking for in the potential team members? We must formulate job descriptions - informal ones. When we talk with a potential team member to begin filling in our roster spots, we must know what qualities, temperament, skills, and background we are looking for. This is not a job interview in the sense that we are going to be hiring someone, but it functions much the same way. When we talk with someone by phone to set up the appointment (if we decide to go to that next step) and when we meet with them in person, we need to have a good idea of what we are looking for in an associate. We ask a series of questions - not written out but known to us because we have planned for this.

Unlike our youth or playground days when the pool of potential players is limited, our search for team members is not. There is no deadline, but neither is there any point in waiting to get started. It will take a little while to put this together so let's get started. Then we can begin marketing ourselves to people who need more than just the services we can provide, and we won't be relegated to just trying to find someone to work with us on a case-by-case basis at the last minute. We will have interviewed and formed a bond with people who think like us and want to approach aging in place solutions like we do.

Unless we want to limit ourselves to just the work that we can perform on our own, we are going to need a team. We are the captain, so let's start choosing our team and get the strongest players available. We have the entire marketplace from which to choose..

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.