Why The Revolution Matters

Sep 22nd 2013

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Last week, I had a magical day that let me touch the Signature Revolution up close and personal…
Several years ago, a dilapidated old nursing facility with a poor reputation located in Portland, Tennessee, operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church that was attached to a small factory on the property, was offered to the Signature organization as another operational turnaround.

This was important to the Adventists because they have a campus and boarding school on the grounds adjacent to the facility, which was part of their vision. So, with some blind faith, spiritual alignment between both organizations and a Signature leadership team with great vision, we decided to move forward.
The deal was complicated; The Tennessean newspaper listed the building as one of the three worst nursing facilities in the area, with zero stars and a campus that was falling down. To help save the high school vocational work program, we had to move our small furniture factory across the state to the new campus and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in state-of-the-art furniture manufacturing equipment. And we already had a five-star center (SHC of Westmoreland) close by, which was hurting them.
However, when we gave our word it was time to go, our visionary leaders saw a way to help a school, save a facility, restore quality and really impact an important community. It took longer than they thought, a little more money than we projected, and the team still did it in one of the worst healthcare times ever. No matter the challenges, our team thrived.
They landed a rising young leader, Karl Eck, who secured many strong community stakeholders. We had a Serenity regional team that just kept showing up and believing, creating a shared leadership nursing team model. Our segment leaders created a breakthrough vision for Serenity programming and services that are making a real difference to many residents with complex medical conditions. And it started to happen…
Today, I am just a witness here to hang the first banner commemorating their five-star CMS rating. I’m here to meet with the facility leadership team so I can learn how they did it, and to thank 154 stakeholders for creating a Portland, Tenn. Revolution. I’m here to tour a thriving furniture factory with long-term Signature leaders who are more like brothers and sisters, creating newly innovated products as I walk through the five stations, watching the diligent vocational high school performing light assembly and hoping they can add another shift soon.


People are smiling everywhere, and managers believe in something bigger than themselves. Therapists are swamped with a center that is at capacity and has a waiting list now and then. Pride and hope have been restored to all because a few Signature leaders had a bold vision. With God’s help and protection it all happened, and everyone is winning!
I want to clarify I had nothing to do with this heroic feat and never saw the facility or the small plant until today, because I trusted our Serenity leadership team when they asked for approval nearly three years ago…
I love the Revolution because of its intent. We are not perfect, but we believe in our organizational soul, knowing that we have saved many towns, created thousands of jobs, and created 25 five-star locations from operational turnarounds that were painful – all by taking risks that were based upon discernment and prayer!

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