With the flurry of construction going on now at Sunrise Ridge and renovations to other parts of the campus, it’s hard to miss all the activity going on at Kendal. However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes too. Kendal is embarking on a new strategic planning process for the first time since 2008. To kick off this initiative, the Board of Directors approved the adoption of a refreshed mission statement on July 19, 2018.
According to Bob Glidden, Kendal at Lexington’s Board Chair, it is extremely important to have an organization’s mission statement clearly stated. “A mission statement should be simple, concise, and precise in terms of what you want your organization to be about,” he said. As a retired university president, he has a great deal of expertise to contribute. While they can be difficult to write, he says, a mission statement needs to state an organization’s purpose and direction, so that it may serve as a reference when making major decisions having to do with expenditures.
Bob explained that Kendal “has to have a mission statement that everyone can agree to before you have strategic planning that everyone can adhere to.” So, the Strategic Planning Committee comprised of about 8 members, including staff members, board members, and residents took on the task of composing the mission statement. The group met regularly over the course of about 6 months to wordsmith many drafts before finally agreeing upon the approved version as the best representation of Kendal at Lexington’s purpose and direction.
Kendal at Lexington’s Executive Director Mina Tepper said it was the right time to embark on this process, noting that the organization is wrapping up the execution of the strategic plan developed the last time they went through this 10 years ago. “Our industry continues to evolve,” Mina explained. “You want to stay current with your industry and its changes.” She continued, “We are not only renovating the environment in which we provide care and services, we are also changing the manner in which our health services are provided so that they are more reflective of the current and future needs and desires of the persons we serve.”
Mina and the Committee wanted to be sure that the new mission reflected the organization’s Quaker values, diverse community, support of healthy and meaningful aging, and commitment to being good stewards of our resources, supporting current and future needs of residents and staff, and providing quality care – all while looking forward to the future and capturing the changes in the industry. Some of these industry changes are noted in the new mission including referring to Kendal as a Life Plan community, as opposed to a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community). In addition, since Kendal opened its doors in 2000, it has become a destination community. Over 50% of the community now comes from areas outside of Lexington and Rockbridge County, so areas beyond this region have been included in the new mission statement as well.
Residents were also active participants in crafting the new mission statement. Ruth Woodcock, 18-year resident of Kendal who has been active on the Board and on the Strategic Planning Committee, highlighted what she felt were additional key components of the new mission such as defining Kendal as a vibrant, caring community; encouraging a diverse population; being good neighbors and citizens of the world; and having a sound financial operation. She said, “I think we ended up with a pretty good statement. I think it reflects what Kendal is all about.”
Linda Wilder, Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, also felt the organization must prepare for the future while completing their immediate builds: “The current phase of our life (planning for the build and implementing the plan) will consume four plus years of effort,” she said, “and if we just concentrated on the immediate during those four years, we would certainly be behind the curve for the future at the end of that time. So, our goals are to come out of the build project with a fulfillment of the outcome of the last major strategic planning process and a clearly defined path for the future.”
With the new mission in hand, the Strategic Planning Committee will hold a retreat in the fall. Robert Kramer, Founder & Strategic Advisor of National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care will lead the group.
Linda is very optimistic. “We are excited about exploring the ideas that will make life even more meaningful for the residents of Kendal at Lexington,” she said. “So much is changing in the thoughts about the transition phases of folks. Kendal residents are vibrant, active, interesting, and engaged, so we can stretch ourselves even further and end up on the leading edge of Life Care if we do our job thoroughly, thoughtfully and well.”