Flexibility Needed to Move Forward In a Rapidly Changing Environment

In senior living culinary services, it feels like something is changing every day—per- sonalized menus, touchscreen ordering, a sophisticated approach to nutrition that takes medications and diet into account, and more. CBORD is the global company behind many of these changes, and Jeff Wood, vice president, marketing & product, helps make them happen—and ensures the company is on the crest of the next change.

Q. What’s the top consideration to managing change? A. Being flexible. I think that's the main thing in terms of dealing with the different dynamics—and, obviously, what we've been experiencing the last year. I think it's important to provide different ways for employees and staff to have the flexibility that they need, given the disruptions to their life. It’s tough to be flexible in some cases

because you’re dealing with people who are the most vulnerable and the most impacted. But where there is that capability, I think this is an opportunity to provide it.

make good, rational decisions that are best for them. They need to know when they have that

flexibility and autonomy to make a difficult decision, and not face repercussions to their career if it doesn’t turn out well. That’s an important part of having a high-performing culture. We've all become a little bit


hierarchical and less looking for approval, because some things are moving so quickly that we have to make decisions—and it may not be 100 percent of the time what the leader or manager would have done. You need to make sure you’re establishing that culture of acceptance.

Q. What are some other changes the pandemic has brought? A. The need to protect residents obviously comes first. We’ve seen this move to ordering and in-room dining, which is an opportunity to keep people safer, but that can create its own challenges. For residents, being able to have some

Some things are moving so quickly that we have to make decisions—and it may not be what the leader or manager would have done. You need to make sure you’re establishing that culture of acceptance.

At CBORD, we went to a remote work

situation initially, then started allowing folks to come back to a lower-density environment. For that

those who needed flexibility—whose internet wasn’t

as reliable, or they had challenges to working at home—that’s an example of accommodating them. I think it’s important to deliver that message to say, look, we trust our team to

control over at least making your dining selection gives some power back to the resident. It’s important that they have a voice and some independence in those choices. They’re not getting that richer dining

experience, being surrounded by friends. The mental well-being side of having this more isolating environment is a huge challenge, and a critical aspect of this


Jeff Wood Vice president, marketing & product CBORD

pandemic. I’m excited to see it


about. We talk about the physical side and the nutritional side, but mental well-being is important as well, and people are talking about it more honestly. Another change is that we are always

thinking now whether a solution is not only more convenient, but safer. Great innovation can come out of crises like this, with this critical need to keep residents safer.

Q. What about changes within CBORD as a company? A. Given the enormous amount of stress that comes along with the changes to day- to-day life that the pandemic has created, we've taken some concrete steps. I’m proud to say I was able to initiate at our company weekly guided meditation sessions. We have a 15-minute session, virtually, where we guide people through a mediation. It's a great opportunity for people really

to kind of take a moment for themselves and focus on their mental well-being. If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be doing this, I would have said that sounds a little new-agey. But I’ve seen the benefits from it.

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