News & Information

Evangelical Homes News


Evangelical Homes of Michigan Senior & Assisted Living in Michigan | Saline, Detroit, Sterling Heights and Ann Arbor

Party Like A Pro!
Party Like  A Pro!

With end of the year holiday parties popping up all around you it may seem like sticking to your health goals will be impossible.  We asked our registered dietitians (RDs) to share their tips for enjoying party season without sacrificing your well-being.

Before the Party

Our Registered Dietitian, Rebecca Round, reviews a few tips for party planning “Eating healthy during holiday party season can be a challenge.  Spicing up that usually boring veggie tray can be a great way to ensure that you and your guests are still getting something nutritious.  Some tips include using veggies not normally seen on a traditional veggie tray like endive or marinated mushrooms. Blanch a few types of vegetables for those guests that don’t enjoy their veggies raw, this is especially good for broccoli or asparagus. Keep greens or stems on some veggies to create visual interest. Ditch that ho-hum platter for a unique serving dish that will draw attention to the vegetables like a colorful cutting board or glass bowl. Lastly, offer more than just one dip that will compliment a variety of vegetables and keep your guests coming back for more.”

During the Party

Our Registered Dietitian, Dao Tran, recommends “to prevent overeating, be mindful when selecting foods from buffet lines.  It’s helpful to see what’s available by browsing the buffet line first before filling your plate.  Once decided, you can head for those items.  Also, to minimize the temptation of second and third helpings, take the time to enjoy each bite of food.  Eat slowly and try to put your fork or plate down between bites.  Don’t forget to drink water!  Always have water nearby, even if you are drinking other beverages, keep your body hydrated!”


Eat Right, Live Well: More than Just Sugar
Eat Right, Live Well: More than Just Sugar

Eat Right, Live Well: More than Just Sugar

Many people go to the doctor and hear that their “sugar is a little high” and wonder if that means diabetes.  While many things can cause your blood sugar to be higher than it should, diabetes or being at risk for diabetes (sometimes called pre-diabetes) is a major reason.  The good news is that for many people, diabetes* can be prevented by making a few healthy changes – the same changes that can also work to control diabetes if you already have it. 

Eat Well: Eating well does not mean simply avoiding sugar.  We need a healthy balance of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fasts.  Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day, instead of skipping some meals and going overboard on others can also work wonders on balancing your blood sugar. Our Registered Dietitian, Dana Lutz, suggests “Many people like to finish their meal with a sweet item.  As an RD, I like to incorporate naturally sweetened foods like fruit as a dessert.  Adding fresh mint to berries is a satisfying combination.  Remember to read the nutrition label on packaged foods to know how the total amount of carbohydrates is in each portion.”

Move More: Getting 30 minutes of physical activity, at least five days per week, has been shown to help prevent or delay diabetes*.  Those 30 minutes don’t have to be spend doing unpleasant activities to see the benefits.  Pick something you like, do it at a moderate in intensity and stick with it.  If your schedule is tight, you can even break it into three 10 minute blocks throughout the day.



1. National Diabetes Education Program, a partnership of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public and private organizations. Accessed 9/6/17 at

2. 2015 Diabetes Types 1 and 2 Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library®. Available at

What to Expect At a Fitness Assessment

What to Expect At a Fitness Assessment

When someone comes in for an assessment for personal training, they often don’t know what to expect.  I’m here to share what to expect at any fitness assessment you should receive before starting an exercise program.

·       Before you arrive:

o   Plan on an hour (or more): your first appointment will be the longest, as there is much to go over. Budget at least an hour for your initial assessment.

o   Be prepared to move: dress comfortably with supportive athletic shoes, as we will do some simple tests to figure out good starting points for your fitness level.

o   Be familiar with your medical history/medications: certain precautions must be taken depending on current or past medical history and/or medications, so you will be asked a few questions about this. All certified personal trainers are educated on HIPAA, so your medical history will not be shared with others.

o   Eat and drink: don’t come on an entirely empty stomach. Since you’ll be moving, you will need some fuel and proper hydration. Stick with a lighter meal or snack, nothing that will make you feel weighed down.

·       When you arrive for your appointment:

o   Conversation to start: Plan to sit down for a conversation before you get moving. You’ll be asked about pertinent medical history, medications, previous exercise experience, exercise preference, and goals. You’ll also want to discuss how much time you have each week to dedicate to a program and how frequently you’ll want to meet with your trainer so we can make a realistic program for you.

o   Physical Assessment: Now we move! We will start by looking at posture, balance, flexibility, and movement abilities (some of this we will assess just watching you walk in for your assessment!). Then we look at body composition (there are a variety of ways to do this, so stay tuned to future blogs to learn more on the different methods), cardiovascular abilities, and muscle strength and endurance.

·       Tips from a trainer:

o   Ask your trainer their credentials and experience: They should be certified by an accredited personal training group such as ACE, ACSM, ISSA, and NASM to name a few. If you have a complicated medical history or have very specific goals, you may want someone with a Bachelors or Master’s degree in some type of movement science such as Exercise Science, Kinesiology, or Physiology to better meet your needs.

o   Don’t be nervous: We see clients every day of varying ages and fitness levels. We are not judging your abilities, we are simply trying to understand your baseline so we can help you achieve your goals!

o   Speak up: if something it too hard, too easy, hurts, or makes you uncomfortable, let us know. We are here for YOU. If something doesn’t work for you, we will change it to meet your needs.

If you are looking to start a program and live in the Saline, Michigan area, contact us at the Brecon Village Wellness Center at (734)429-1155 ext. 2206 to set up your appointment.

Get moving!

Hannah Rauch BS, CPT


Expert Tips for Quick Dinners

Expert Tips for Quick Dinners

When life gets busy, whipping up a delicious, well balanced dinner that the whole family will enjoy can seem like a big task.  Follow these tips from some of our Registered Dietitians to make dinner time more manageable.

·       Plan and Prep ahead:

o   Spreading the work of meal prep to less hectic days can be a big time saver.  EHM’s Registered Dietitian, Christina Weber, recommends “set aside a few hours during the week when you have quiet time to plan meals, make a grocery list, and set aside meal prep time.  Then, prep vegetables and proteins in bulk for your meals that can be quickly cooked up during hectic evenings.  Top the meals with healthy additions such as avocado, or a homemade vinaigrette.”

·       Quick Dinner Solutions:

o   Weekdays don’t always lend themselves to spending a lot of time in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean that the healthfulness of your meals has to suffer.  Registered Dietitian, Anne Maynard, suggests “If you tend to feel overwhelmed by meal planning, try a general outline of meals based on your family’s favorite dinners. Before making your grocery list each week take a few minutes to customize the meal plan, that way you always have variety in your meals, but with less effort. For example:

§  Monday- soup & sandwich

§  Tuesday – tacos

§  Wednesday – pasta

§  Thursday- chicken and roasted vegetable

§  Friday – entrée salad             

o   For many, school is back in session which can make evenings and meal planning hectic.  The stress of the day and event scheduling often causes families to put nutritious meals on hold for ease and convenience.  One quick and healthy meal alternative is crockpot cooking. Crockpot cooking enables families to choose their favorite, healthy, food options and prepare them the day(s) or night(s) before.  During the busy day, food is slowing cooking so everyone can come home to a completed and warm meal.  This will help save families from hunger meltdowns and fast food stops.

Eat Right, Live Well,

Christina Weber MS, RD        

Anne Maynard RD

Nicole Blair RD                       

Powerful Presentation Helps EHM Senior Solutions Win Grant for “Safe at Home” Program


Powerful Presentation Helps EHM Senior Solutions Win Grant for “Safe at Home” Program

Funds from 100+ Women Who Care–Washtenaw County Will Help Build 

Endowment to Provide In-Home Support and Assistance to Seniors in Need 


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – June 19, 2017 – An impactful presentation helped EHM Senior Solutions (EHM), formerly Evangelical Homes of Michigan, win a grant of $11,400 from the Washtenaw County chapter of 100+ Women Who Care (WCC) to help seniors stay safe and independent in their own homes through one of its signature programs.


“Amazing things can happen when you get a group of thoughtful caring women together and ask them to help change the world”, states Marge Farrand from WWC. But that’s exactly what 100+ Women Who Care does twice a year when they meet. Women from all over Washtenaw County get together and hear presentation from members who wish to support a local charity.  Then the participants vote on a winner and each member writes a check for $100.  EHM Director of Philanthropy Heather Feldkamp’s moving presentation on EHM’s “Safe at Home” program prompted one hundred and fourteen women from the chapter to write a check bringing the grant total to $11,400.


“We are proud of Heather and the work she did to earn this grant for EHM and the many seniors who need and benefit from our Safe at Home program.” said Denise Rabidoux, president and CEO of EHM Senior Solutions. The Safe at Home program is EHM Senior Solutions’ unique approach to combat the challenges faced by low-income, frail older adults aging in place.  Some of the problems include outliving their financial resources and insufficient community support to help them meet their day-to-day needs.


EHM Senior Solutions has set a goal of ultimately building an endowment to help eligible participants in Washtenaw county access Safe at Home program services, with assistance ranging from home assessments to home refurbishments to technical support.


“We are grateful to the 100+ Women Who Care (Washtenaw County chapter) for selecting our organization and helping give seniors in need an opportunity to stay safe and independent in their homes now and in the future,” said Rabidoux. 



About EHM Senior Solutions

EHM Senior Solutions is a health and human service organization that provides health care, housing and community services to seniors and their families in SE Michigan.  Founded nearly 140 years ago, EHM is one of the largest nonprofits of its kind in metro Detroit and one of the oldest in the state, serving more than 5,500 seniors annually.  Over the past 10 years, it has provided $18 million in charitable support and services to those in need.  For more information, visit


About 100+ Women Who Care

We are women from the Washtenaw County area who believe that we can all make our world a better place by helping those in need.  We meet twice a year to select a local charity and all members contribute $100 for a collective donation.  We believe as a collective group, our donation can make a huge difference.  We are on Facebook at: 100wwcwashtenawcounty or contact Marge Farrand at


# # #



MEDIA CONTACT:  Hope Brown, PublicCity PR – 248.346.3399;

Prepare for old age early
Prepare for old age early

Start early to prepare for old age, nursing home CEO says

By Frank Witsil (Detroit Free Press)

“When I went through that I was convinced I could change the world,” Rabidoux, 60, said. 

Now, as president and CEO of EHM Senior Solutions, she is part of a grow-ing industry that is wrestling with how to provide care for adults who seek to remain independent with-out burdening their children, and who are living longer than previous generations.

What’s more, organizations such as EHM — which changed its named from Evangelical Homes of Michigan — will also have to contend with aging baby boomers, the large generation born after World War II, who by many accounts have been reluctant to plan for old age.

To prepare, the nonprofit has broadened, deepened and added to its services. In addition to homes, it now also offers services, including technology to help monitor adults, that elderly people can get to help them while still living in their own homes.

In August, EHM announced it acquired the former St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Farmington Hills from St. John Providence Hospital and would be devel-oping the 31 acres to open a new senior living center that offers day programs, as well as independent and assisted living by 2020.

The Farmington-based company employs more than 1,200 people, serves about 5,500 adults in a nine county area in Michigan and has an annual operating budget of about $60 million. It also has offices in Ann Arbor and Monroe.

In an edited conversation, Rabidoux talks about her company’s acquisitions, what folks should expect as more baby boomers retire, and she offered advice on caring for the elderly.  ...

Visit the link for full story...


EHM Senior Solutions Purchases The 31 Acre Site Which Was Former Home of Sarah Fisher Orphanage
EHM Senior Solutions Purchases The 31 Acre Site Which Was Former Home of Sarah Fisher Orphanage

EHM Senior Solutions Purchases The 31 Acre Site Which Was Former Home Of Sarah Fisher Orphanage


Click the link below for full story...


"EHM EHM Senior Solutions, formerly Evangelical Homes of Michigan, a non­profit health and human service organization that has been providing health care, housing and community services to seniors and their  families in SE Michigan for 137 years, announced its new corporate identity last week, along with a slate of company announcements that signify its expanded focus and continued growth and evolution of services.


“EHM Senior Solutions may be nearly 140 years old, but we are far from behind­the­times,” said Denise Rabidoux, president and CEO of EHM. “We are growing and innovating, shifting our focus to meet the evolving needs of today’s seniors and their families, which is reflected in our name change. Our new facilities, products and services are being designed to successfully carry EHM through its next century of operations" ...



PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Homes of Michigan completes purchase of St. Joseph Mercy Saline facility
PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Homes of Michigan completes purchase of St. Joseph Mercy Saline facility







Evangelical Homes of Michigan completes purchase of St. Joseph Mercy Saline facility

Planned "Community Center for Innovation & Education" will House Broad Spectrum of Services & Resources


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – July 6, 2016 – Evangelical Homes of Michigan (EHM), a non-profit health and human service organization that provides healthcare, housing and community services to seniors and their families in SE Michigan, is pleased to announce it has officially taken ownership of the former St. Joseph Mercy Saline health building.  Transfer of ownership from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to EHM, on the property located at 400 Russell St. in Saline, Mich., was made official June 28, 2016, and EHM has taken immediate ownership.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


The 100,000-square-foot facility became available when St. Joe's relocated its Urgent Care and outpatient services to Michigan Avenue last July to better serve its patients.  Since 2011, EHM has been leasing 22,000-square-feet of the building to operate its Redies Center for Rehabilitation and Healthy Living, a short-term rehabilitation center, and a $5.2 million investment by EHM in a state-of-the-art rehab and wellness facility.  The Redies Center employs more than 40 exercise specialists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, and a full complement of nurses and medical staff.   


It is estimated that EHM will spend an additional $500,000 over the next year to renovate the Saline facility.  “This space, once fully transformed, will offer the community a state-of-the-art resource for educational classes, community events, primary and specialty health care, rehab and wellness programs, residential care, hospice care and so much more,” said Denise Rabidoux, president and CEO of EHM.  “With this transaction complete, EHM can begin to bring our full vision of the Community Center for Innovation and Education to life.”


“We are pleased this sale represents an opportunity for expanded health services in Saline and the greater Washtenaw County community,” said David Brooks, president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston hospitals, who oversees health services in Saline.  “Together with EHM, we share a commitment to those we serve, and offer a complete continuum of care for the local community from urgent care to senior health.”


In January, when announcing its intent to purchase the Saline facility, EHM put out an open call to the local community, soliciting input from Saline-area residents on their vision and ideas for the future Center.  The website received 150 responses, followed by three in-person community forums, which yielded input from another 100 residents.


“Overwhelmingly, the community expressed interest in a vibrant space that offers expanded health care services, community health and wellness programs, educational opportunities and room for partnerships with other mission-driven non-profit organizations, like Arbor Hospice,”  said Rabidoux.  “And that’s precisely what we intend to deliver.  We want to ensure that this building…this community resource…appropriately reflects and represents its neighbors and embodies the spirit, heart and vitality of the people it will serve each day.”


About Evangelical Homes of Michigan

Evangelical Homes of Michigan is a health and human service organization that provides healthcare, housing and community services to seniors and their families in SE Michigan. Founded nearly 140 years ago, EHM is one of the largest nonprofits of its kind in metro Detroit and one of the oldest in the state, serving more than 5,500 seniors annually.  Guided by a board composed of church leaders, corporate executives and community members, EHM takes pride in meeting the growing demands of seniors and their families.  For more information, visit

# # #

MEDIA CONTACT:  Hope Brown, PublicCity PR – 248.346.3399;



1866 Woodland Dr. · Saline, MI 48176-1613

Phone: 734-429-3502 · Fax: 734-429-5208


NEWS – For Immediate Release –

May 24, 2016 

Contact:  Keith Kooperman                                        

(734) 429-3502, ext. 2503                                  




Saline Parks and Recreation receives funding for second year for a free yoga in the park program.


SALINE, MI, May 17, 2016 – Have you always wanted to try yoga?  Maybe you already love yoga and want to add another session to your routine?  Saline Parks & Recreation is offering FREE yoga classes, 8 – 9 a.m. every Saturday this summer.  The outdoor program at Henne Field, 198 E. Bennett St., in downtown Saline, starts June 4, 2016 and runs through August 27.


Certified yoga instructors Liz Knight and Anna Deevers, believe practicing yoga outdoors in the park will intensify the physical and mental benefits of yoga.  Detroit personality Lila Lazarus, host of the “Discover Remarkable” series on WXYZ, will be a guest instructor on occasion.


Pre-registration is encouraged by calling Saline Rec Center, (734) 429-3502, ext. 2500.  Comfortable clothing, a water bottle, and a desire to participate are all you need to enjoy the program.   Mats are furnished (or bring your own.)  All abilities and ages are welcome to attend.


The Yoga in the Park program is funded through a joint sponsorship between St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Evangelical Homes of Michigan.


Saline Parks and Recreation is a department of the City of Saline.  For more information, please contact Keith Kooperman, (734) 429-3502, ext. 2503.






Building and Maintaining an Entrepreneurial Culture

 By Mark Crawford

Freedom, empowerment and creativity of thought are the cornerstones of a robust entrepreneurial culture. Entrepreneurial employees constantly think beyond standard expectations to find new ways to add value to the customer experience. Over time, this pattern of thinking can become ingrained as the corporate culture, anchored by the belief that employees should not be afraid to share new ideas that could benefit a customer’s well-being.

The key implementers of entrepreneurial thinking are the front-line employees who work closely with residents every day. An entrepreneurial culture encourages creativity, responsiveness and shared ownership by all members of the team—as a result, when employees see a way to serve clients better, they are encouraged to bring that potential solution to leadership.

“Having an entrepreneurial culture also helps us expand our reach to include serving not only elders, but their extended families and friends, the neighborhoods in which they live and the communities that provide their extended ecosystems,” says Denise Rabidoux, president and CEO of Evangelical Homes of Michigan in Farmington, MI.

An entrepreneurial team strives for excellence, continually innovating to make everything from programs and services to the environment and amenities the best they can be for customers—both as individuals and groups.

“We challenge each other every day,” says Julie Thorson, president and CEO of Friendship Haven in Fort Dodge, IA. “We talk about innovation in simple conversations, detailed conversations, at board meetings and even during daily huddles. Residents are encouraged to engage and offer their input as well. Friendship Haven is not a static organization. We are constantly looking for ways to provide innovative and responsive services to aging adults.”

Benefits of an entrepreneurial culture can be transformational, showing significant gains in customer satisfaction, employee productivity and reduced turnover. An empowered staff is a content staff—they feel better about themselves, what they do and the positive impact they have on clients. As a result, they have more ownership in their projects, teams and communities.

“This ultimately translates into everyone being excited to see positive experiences and outcomes for our residents and families,” adds Jennifer Crimmins, vice president of campus development for Friendship Haven.

Carving Out Time for Innovation

“It’s hard to be strategic when facing the tyranny of the urgent.”

That’s how Carol Barbour, president and CEO of Friends Life Care Partners, Plymouth Meeting, PA, refers to the difficulty of setting aside time to think strategically while also dealing with the day-to-day demands of running an organization.

Friends Life Care Partners is by definition innovative and entrepreneurial, as it is the largest continuing care at home (CCAH) organization in the country. Its mantra, in fact, is “Pioneer. Innovate. Inspire.” Even so, Barbour and her staff face the same pressures as any other aging-services leaders.

Getting Used to Change

Building an entrepreneurial culture requires having both a board and a senior management team in place that is committed to it. It also requires training or hiring employees who are open to the challenge of owning their roles in creating a culture that is dynamic.

The most difficult part of the building process is overcoming uncertainties about going too far, or making mistakes.

“Post-acute care companies are typically very risk-adverse,” states Paul Stavros, vice president of marketing and business development for Evangelical Homes of Michigan. “High amounts of regulation and a punitive oversight structure have caused … providers to opt for a culture that encourages compliance and avoids risk.”

It can be difficult to get employees to accept change as part of their daily routine. Employees may initially resist because they fear rejection of their ideas and/or punishment should an idea be proposed and then eventually fail. Therefore, it is paramount to establish trust and a sense of empowerment. “Employees must believe that they are truly valued and that senior management will support them, even if their ideas fail,” Stavros adds.

LeadingAge e-mag Mar-Apr16 Entrepr FriendshipH Bike 450w
Friendship Haven

After an exciting visit from All Ability cycles of Jefferson, Iowa, Friendship Haven team members set their sights on raising enough money to offer this great experience to residents.

A good way to get started is to frequently discuss the benefits of an entrepreneurial culture at all staff levels, including the C-suite. All upper-level executives should be readily available to staff members to talk about new ideas. “It would not be uncommon at Evangelical Homes of Michigan for employees to pick up the phone and call the senior vice president or CEO directly if they had something to say,” says Stavros. “Similarly, when senior managers walk the halls, they look forward to interacting with staff members, providing a forum for discussion and sharing of ideas.”

Although consultants are not required for developing an entrepreneurial culture, they can be excellent resources for jump-starting the process, especially if short-staffed, or if the opposite kind of culture exists.

“Early on we used consultants, but now we consider ourselves to be the experts,” says Crimmins. “Advice coming from a source with an outside perspective can bring valuable insights that encourage us to think differently.”

A top goal at the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls, SD, is growth through the creation of new services—a perfect fit for entrepreneurial thinking. New employees, including innovation designers, are hired to develop these services. Many of these designers have experience as entrepreneurs or founders of startup businesses, or did similar work with large health-care providers. The team uses a human-centered design approach, which has been made famous by organizations like IDEO, to focus on the customer and add value to the customer experience.

“Having permission to experiment with potential new service concepts, at a small scale, and even conduct in-market tests, has proven invaluable in creating an entrepreneurial/startup culture,” comments Kelly Soyland, director of innovation and research for Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. Soyland is part of Vivo, the Society’s in-house idea shop and innovation program.

“For example, being able to test just 1 community, and 10 or 20 customers, for 6 weeks, instead of a longitudinal study of 500 seniors that costs $3 million and takes 2 years to complete, is a process that is much closer to how entrepreneurs and providers can nimbly react and learn. Affordable learning with customers, and having some allowance for not having everything be perfect before we test, has been liberating, allowing us to move 5 or 6 times faster.”

The Value of Entrepreneurial Governance

When the board of Landis Homes, Lititz, PA, embarked on its strategic planning process in 2008, it began with the Appreciative Inquiry approach, and the board and leadership team contacted 150 key stakeholders of the stand-alone retirement community. This led to a strategic plan focusing on keeping Landis Homes strong and vital, but also expanding its mission in an entrepreneurial pursuit of new affordable living options serving those who do not have the resources for a retirement community, and pursuit of serving persons in their homes, wherever they choose to call home. The board also recognized the importance of creative partnerships with others in support of this mission.


Entrepreneurship requires a board that supports creativity and is willing to accept a certain level of risk. It must accept that, although some ideas will not work out, the value of encouraging creativity outweighs the potential cost of occasional failures.

Establishing trust between senior management and the board is essential.

“The board needs to be flexible and have outside-the-box conversations early on to establish broad but actionable strategic directions, and then be willing to listen, engage and act quickly when innovative opportunities arise,” says Crimmins.

Trust between front-line employees and their managers is also critical for achieving the greatest innovation. Employees don’t expect their organization to implement every idea, but they do want to know why their ideas were or were not adopted. Open, honest discussion is the key for maintaining commitment to creativity, after ideas are rejected. “Even when ideas don’t work out, we still learn something from them,” adds Thorson. “We regroup together. And we always celebrate the wins—even small ones are important.”

LeadingAge e-mag Mar-Apr16 Entrepr GoodSam grp 712w
Good Samaritan Society

Kelly Soyland, standing, with a team of Good Samaritan Innovation Designers discussing a wellness service the team is testing with 20 seniors they have equipped with wearable activity and sleep-tracking technology.

Soyland emphasizes that dedicated resources and skill sets are required. “Not everyone is, or can be an entrepreneur, so we have to have the right DNA, experience and mindset,” he says. “For example, I would not make a great administrator, but I have come to learn that innovation is a great fit for me, and the passion I have to create.”

He has also learned that being an innovator is a full-time responsibility—it cannot be done effectively in a part-time role. This is especially true in a large organization, where being an entrepreneur can be challenging and complex—in part because large organizations are not geared toward taking risks or moving with speed. “They are also pretty good at killing ideas before they see the light of day, or before they can be tested with customers, because they represent risk,” he adds. “Therefore having methods to test ideas in a low-fidelity way that enables affordable learning are essential for building entrepreneurism.”

Moving Forward

To have a meaningful entrepreneurial culture, organizations must be prepared to act on ideas that show promise. This requires investment of time and resources. Creating a strategy that balances the short-term need for quick wins with longer-term, more costly disruptive innovation can be challenging. “Really big ideas take years to accomplish, so organizational expectations and patience are key if this is the strategy,” says Soyland.

Changing from a traditional, compliance-oriented culture to an entrepreneurial culture typically requires a shift in the type of employees that are hired. This can create stress, as employees who are resistant to the entrepreneurial approach leave and new employees are hired. Once the talent is in place, Soyland suggests creating an entrepreneurial center “as a show of the organization’s commitment to the goal, as well as a space that designers and internal and external collaborators can thrive in The size of your ambition and strategy will determine the size of the budget you need to get started, and for each year thereafter.”

Developing an entrepreneurial culture is an ongoing process of improvement. Managers must maintain open-door policies, be visible on the floor and actively engage in the daily activities of the staff. Break down silos and encourage cross-departmental collaboration. Provide sensitive, constructive feedback to employees regarding their ideas. Monthly leadership motivational sessions are a good way to further leadership skills and keeps employees on track.

“Although there are some days where the basics seems to be difficult to conquer, most of the time we are dreaming about the possibilities, asking questions and trying new things,” says Thorson. “Team members develop into transformational leaders, and then these new leaders serve the followers and grow more leaders. I truly believe that embracing this philosophy is essential for creating an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Entrepreneurial Expansion for Survival

Marquardt Village, a single-site life plan community in Watertown, WI, views entrepreneurialism as a necessity—a way to strengthen and grow itself for long-term survival.

The Marquardt Village board and management launched an 8-month strategic planning process in 2013.

“We realized that if we did not grow, if we did not take some risk we would not survive long-term,” says CEO Matt Mauthe. “We would lose our ability to access the capital markets, lose our ability to hire top-quality employees, and we realized we either need to start looking for someone to partner with or have someone acquire us, or we would need to take an aggressive posture and look for our own acquisition or merger opportunities.”

News | Resources | Volunteer | Careers | Privacy Policy | IntranetContact Us