Knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are essential to the success of any executive. This study explores the KSAs necessary for successful executive directors of continuing care retirement communities (CCRC). The key dimensions ranked as the most important include in descending rank order: organizational skills, business acumen and interpersonal skills. Based upon these findings, a CCRC leadership development component model is proposed. The model exhibits the six C's of successful CCRC leadership which include communication, customer service, change management, creativity, coaching and controlling.
Peter Drucker is well known for his statement that, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Leadership is defined as "the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organization" (House et al, 1999, p. 188). It goes beyond the ability to just do things right but creates an environment of learning and positive culture towards higher organizational performance. According to a survey by the Health Management Academy of executive leaders in both healthcare and Fortune 500 companies, there is clear consensus that strong leadership is the key to organizational success (W. Wells & Hejna, 2009). Developing leaders is a daunting task for most organizations and has become especially salient in the healthcare industry.
The 21st century brings new and continuing challenges for the healthcare organizations. The industry is changing and having to adapt to new business models on a continuous basis. This is especially true with the new federal healthcare legislation that was recently passed. The complexity of the healthcare arena has multiplied and leaders will need to satisfy all stakeholders including the payers, consumers and regulators. There is a shortage of labor to fill many healthcare jobs and the demand will likely increase as the baby-boomers retire and require additional services. It will take extraordinary leaders to guide healthcare organizations forward, particularly those dealing with the older population.
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are one piece of this healthcare web. CCRCs are typically non-profit organizations that provide living arrangements for various stages of the aging process. This includes options of living in individual apartments, assisted living arrangements or nursing facility beds (Winklevoss & Powell, 1984). The number of CCRCs has continued to grow since the late 1980s and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities has indicated that there are approximately 1,100 in existence today in the US ("CARF Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities," 2010). Little research has focused on this niche of healthcare organizations, yet, with the potential explosion of the baby-boomer population moving into CCRCs, leadership will be vital to appropriately grow the industry. The question will be what type of leader should be at the helm of the CCRC and what kind of leadership development is necessary for future transformation and growth?
LITERATURE REVIEW AND BACKGROUND
Literature on leadership in healthcare organizations is extensive but little focuses specifically on CCRCs. Researchers have conducted many studies examining the knowledge, skills and abilities of healthcare executives in hospital settings (Guo, 2002; Hudak, 1994). Glister and Dalessandro (2009) discovered that leaders are key to the culture creation, culture change and organizational success. These align closely with characteristics found in other types of industries as well. Hyatt (1997) identified key components in defining successful assisted living administrators. Similar to CCRCs, assisted living facilities provide care to older adults and are more focused on providing supportive services than independent living yet not as intensive as a nursing facility. …