Thyra Frank may the the person, who is the closest you can get, to a real UNBOSS.
In 1988, Thyra Frank (born 1952) took over as manager of a small nursing home, Lotte, in Copenhagen. Nothing special; the institution was much like any other nursing home, where staff members was more focused on their own needs than the needs of clients.
Thyra carried through a mindshift. She defined a new purpose for the institution to make it into a real home for clients rather than an institution. She threw out most rules and regulations and made Lotte a place where old people could drink, laugh and love themselves into death. She substituted sleeping pills with wine for the meal and Baileys for the coffee. She opened Lotte for loved ones of the clients to come and participate, including eating with the clients as often as they wished – for free. She organized vacations abroad for everybody despite the obvious logistical problems. She moved out of her office and turned one end of the dining table into her office. She persuaded staff to eat their meals together with clients; thus eliminating the need for at staff room. The list is endless!
During the course of her work, Thyra fought constantly with labor unions and municipal authorities who wanted to tighten regulations and documentation requirements for Lotte in line with current New Public Management thinking. She managed to engage hundreds of volunteers in the work of Lotte and opened the doors to journalists and colleagues from around the world.
And results have been stunning! The waiting list is long, both for potential clients and for potential employees who want to be hearthunted (not headhunted) for at job at Lotte. Thyra has received a long list of prizes and her management model is rapidly spreading to other countries. A brilliant book has been written about her life and work – unfortunately only available in Danish (Thyra Frank, Livsglæde og Stjernestunder, Gyldendal) .
For inspiration – do you know anybody that would qualify like Thyra Frank for a place in the UNBOSS Hall of Fame?