From Humble but Noble Beginnings.
Axiom Healthcare Management, LLC’s story begins in the great city of Wichita, KS. It, and several other companies, was part of the brainchild of three pioneering entrepreneurs: Mr. Fred Hermes, Mr. Matt Lillie and Dr. Greg Lakin. Being long-time friends and with connections to the senior care profession, they saw a substantial need that was not being met by the marketplace…namely, innovative and world class Senior Housing and Care. Unsatisfied with the typical, “vanilla” Long Term Care housing design and model, these talented, creative minds and motivated, passionate visionaries set out on a journey to develop something truly innovative and something driven by consumer desire. Several years later, and with the help of community investors, Family Health and Rehabilitation Center, LLC sprung to life with much deserved fanfare. To the delight of its residents and families, this completely innovative physical plant design revolutionized Skilled Nursing Home care in the market and continues to deliver unprecedented customer experiences even to this day.
The following year, they improved on the original model and with the help of additional investors, designed and built Derby Health and Rehabilitation Center, LLC. Not resting on their laurels and realizing there was also an under met need for assisted living in the market, they, with other physicians and healthcare investors, built the amazing West Wichita Assisted Living, LLC (dba Avita Rolling Hills) and Derby Assisted Living, LLC. Pushing themselves even further, they went back to the drawing board and delivered on an even more impressive and larger design that eventually came to be Reeds Cove Health and Rehabilitation Center, LLC.
During the above timeline, the three original pioneers also realized that building innovative, world class physical plant designs was not going to be enough. There also needed to be a company that would help manage and serve the communities so that the care and services matched the breath-taking structures that these customers lived and employees worked in. Thus, Axiom Healthcare Management, LLC was created to fill this need.
It is worth noting that the word Axiom actually means “a self-evident truth.” The founders of the company named it so because Axiom represents and communicates that we are in the business of building trust. It is self-evident that we must develop an uncompromising trust with the patients and residents, their families, the staff and the community at large if true success is to be achieved and earned.
What Got You Here Will Not Get You There!
Realizing that they were really on to something truly special, it became indisputable that these pioneers had a calling to bring this gift to areas outside of Wichita. With passion and excitement running through their veins with every breath they took, they knew a plan had to be created that would allow them to scale their vision to ever growing markets. They collaborated with a company called Next Element that coaches executives in situations similar to theirs. Through this relationship, they decided to focus their personal and professional energies on development and design and to search the country over for a President and Chief Operating Officer to take over the operations side of the companies.
After six months of searching and considering over 50 applicants, they placed their trust in Mr. Chance Becnel. Chance had over 20 years of Healthcare Executive experience and he took over the helm of Axiom on November 5, 2012. Realizing that the “corporate” model was not the most effective culture to scale and grow a company, Chance completely turned Axiom on its head and recreated it into a company that is laser focused on serving Senior Care Communities in a way that helps them to truly be successful. Shifting towards the mission for Axiom, “We Serve! You Succeed!”, he led the company away from a management mindset to a servicing spirit. This major shift had far-reaching effects, so much so, that the company officially and legally was renamed from Axiom Healthcare Management, LLC to Axiom Healthcare Services, LLC.
Axiom’s Strategic Priorities for 2013-2014:
In order to change the very nature of Axiom, the “Four Pillars Model” was created and implemented over a 24 month period. The most important thing we focused on changing was us. We needed to go from a command and control management company to a true services company. To achieve this, the focus had to be on Axiom SERVING so that the client communities could SUCCEED. Thus, Axiom’s mission statement of “We Serve … You Succeed!” was identified and embraced. In order to live this, four Core Values were adopted that focused on the central needs of the client communities:
- Listening – Only by active listening could Axiom truly understand how to be the most helpful.
- Anticipating – Once we got better at listening, the goal was to know our Client Communities well enough that we could begin to anticipate their needs, even before they expressed them.
- Responding – They did not want it tomorrow, they wanted it yesterday. Therefore we had to focus on creating more urgency around responding to our Client Communities’ needs.
- Partnering – They did not want “corporate” or “ivory tower,” but a company they could really partner with to help them be more successful.
Operationally, Axiom went to work hammering away on implementing Four Strategic Pillars:
- Culture – The above Mission and Core Values were identified, embraced and deployed.
- Expertise – A professional organizational chart was created to identify, and then fill, needed positions of expertise. In addition, for all of the services that Axiom outsourced, all third party contracts were re-vetted and enterprise level partnerships were put in place.
- Resources – Working in the culture described above, the internal experts and the strategic vendor partners got busy creating all of the resources the Client Communities needed to be successful. This was the origin of the “Resource Cabinet” still being updated and added to today.
- Metrics – With very little capacity in the beginning to track and trend many outcomes, implementing all of the above made it possible to create relatively sophisticated data collection systems. This would eventually lead to the “Balanced Scorecard” we know and cherish today.
Axiom’s Strategic Priorities for 2015 – Current:
Realizing that “what got you here may not get you there,” the “Foundation Stones Model” was created to build upon the foundation laid by the previous “Four Pillars Model” outlined above. The key difference between the two models is that the first focused on getting “Axiom’s House” in order and the second focuses 100% on what is important operationally in every one of the Client Communities.
First and foremost, a new unifying Mission or Purpose Statement for all the companies was adopted – “Improving Lives. Exceeding Expectations.” We call it the I.L.E.E. Way Culture. It is a Journey of Love … and Fun! According to the words of St. Francis de Sales, “True Love is Sacrificial.” We strive to live this, even when it is not easy or convenient. This kind of love takes dedication and commitment. It means taking what we do very seriously without taking ourselves too serious.
On this Journey of Love … and Fun, we travel up and through six key strategic areas of focus:
- Leadership Focus – Leaders who embrace and lead the “I.L.E.E. Way;” who are strategic, disciplined, decisive and accountable; who use influence and not title or authority to motivate people towards greatness; who are damn good at what they do and who run the facility like they own it.
- Employee Focus – To recruit and retain employees who are talented, engaged and energized; to create a culture and work environment that inspires employees to stay and grow with the organization; to treat employees with the same care, compassion, and respect they are expected to provide to customers and, finally, employees who embrace the spirit of the “I.L.E.E. Way” and “Stay in Character.”
- Quality Focus – Client Communities that provide excellent care that is knowledgeable, timely and compassionate; quality outcomes that blow away the competition; 5 Star Rated; Quality that is resident directed and centered; and where Quality is 100% focused on the “medicine.”
- Service Focus – Totally separate focus from Quality; customers are hungry for a real, positive, memorable experience; employees form relationships with every customer they meet; all employees “Stay in Character” at all times, while on stage; employees get to know the customers to the point where they are able to also meet their unexpressed needs; and an investment of full time dedicated I.L.E.E. Champs at all communities.
- Financial Focus – No margin, no mission; we recognize that strong margins come from exceptional care and service; financial success requires a really high focus on revenue growth, as well as, being really good at managing expenses and being good financial stewards; and finally, positive cash flow keeps the lights on the paychecks coming.
- Growth Focus – Axiom prepared to onboard up to 4 new client communities a year; on time and on budget; openings are well planned in advance – SMOOTH; grow outside of projects built by Physician’s Development Group; current Client Communities’ success is a prerequisite for growth and diversifying Product Lines.
In addition to the above, 10 new Guiding Virtues were also adopted and rolled out across all companies (see Scroll Graphic below). These Guiding Virtues capture the essence of how we treat all of our customers and each other. Furthermore, since the creation of the Wichita market properties, new communities have also been built and added to Axiom’s Client Community List in the Kansas City Market with Nottingham Health and Rehabilitation, LLC and in the Denver Market with Flatirons Health and Rehab, LLC. Future expansion projects include additional properties in Denver and Kansas City, as well as, additional product lines, to include Home Plus Communities around the state of Kansas.
I trust that you have enjoyed traveling through this journey of the history of Axiom Healthcare Services, LLC. A journey of Love … and Fun. As we look to the future, we are filled with Faith, Hope and Love for we know that this journey Improves Lives and Exceeds Expectations of countless individuals along the way. We also commit to continue to work diligently on earning your TRUST!