How do you measure success? Bottom line profit? Achieving targets? Company growth?
Of course, financial results are incredibly important to all businesses but that is not really how I judge whether Middleton Hall is successful. If I ever have any doubts about success, I find going to a party a good test.
I have recently attended three parties at Middleton Hall – our annual Fun Day, Middleton Court’s celebration of 10 years since opening and as a guest at the party that one of our Middleton Woods residents throws each year. My fellow director Lesley also enjoyed attending the Middleton Oaks summer party on Saturday. It is at those events that I really get a sense of what we are achieving at Middleton Hall.
Many staff were involved in putting together the Fun Day (Wizard of Oz theme this year) with great creativity, huge enthusiasm, and a lot of hard work. Their efforts were rewarded with a large turnout and as one resident said to me “I don’t think I have ever seen so many smiling faces”.
Middleton Court opened 10 years ago as a new facility for nursing care clients. I well remember several owners of nursing homes telling me it could never work with only 20 beds (and what on earth were we doing installing full en-suite shower rooms for nursing care?). Their considerably larger businesses were of course cost driven models and what they failed to realise is that there is an alternative quality driven model. Middleton Court was full within six weeks of opening in 2007 and has consistently received very high customer satisfaction. The party to celebrate its 10th anniversary was full of cheerful residents and families pleased that we have stuck with nursing care. Most of our doubters have since given up even providing nursing care.
At the Middleton Woods private party that I was honoured to attend, there was a buzz around the restaurant and much jollity. I was telling some of my fellow guests about an incident not long after the first residents moved in ten years ago. I was at work late one night and walked past the bar around 10pm and heard some laughter coming from a group of residents sat in the bar following a meal in the restaurant. When I put my head round the door, one of them enquired if we did “lock-in’s”. Obviously, Middleton Hall would not condone out of hours drinking, but I did walk away delighted with the spirit (in both senses) of our pioneering new residents in 2007.
Of course, we need to make good profits and achieve financial returns on the considerable investment made into the business to repay debt and reinvest for the future. However, as a retirement village, all that investment would not make any sense if we did not make a positive difference to the lives of our customers at Middleton Hall.
So a good party is perhaps the real test of success at Middleton Hall.