Attunement is KEY to Serving Clients for “Aging in Place”

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I read an excellent book by Mr. Daniel Pink this year, titled “DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”.  It was quite enlightening in regards to what makes people WANT to TAKE ACTION – what motivates them.  I saw this as completely applicable to the challenge of educating a nation about “Aging in Place” as well, and how you must understand people’s motivations to be able to get them to plan for their own future success in their home living environments as they move into the second half of their life, and want to stay in their home as long as possible.

Then this week I heard a wonderful interview of Dan, hosted by another thought leader in his own right, Mr. Samad Aidane at Guerrilla Project Management.  Samad spoke with Dan about how all of his books tie together in relation to creative work in the 21st century, and most specifically Dan’s most recent book “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”.

In this interview by Samad, the term I gleaned onto was Dan’s vocabulary in explaining the “A,B,C” protocol in this latest book, A = Attunement  B = Bouyancy  C = Clarity.  Specifically what caught my attention was ATTUNEMENT.

The definition of the word is as follows:

n.”Being or bringing into harmony; a feeling of being “at one” with another being.”

Dan describes this well in the interview, paraphrasing the definition quite simply in this way. “Can you get out of your OWN HEAD, and see things from someone else’s point of view.  It’s “perspective taking”.  It’s understanding where someone else is coming from.  It is not trying to force your opinion on them, or force your way of doing things on them, but see things from their point of view, to look for common ground.”

This is simply BRILLIANT, and SO CRITICAL in our space in the realm of “Aging in Place”.  How else can you effectively provide your servant leadership and create client-specific design solutions if you are unable to put yourself if their shoes?

I understand that you can’t truly imagine or transform yourself into an alternate universe to experience first hand actually having someone else’s challenges, ailment, alternate level of ability (“disability” – a term I don’t choose to use), or unique size, shape, posture, or other situation.  But you MUST be able to LISTEN in such an honest and sincere way to each client’s unique situation, that you can visualize being in their situation.  You must HEAR them – not just their words, but their inferences, their desires, and especially their fears.

Then, and only then, can you SERVE your clients.  At this point in your relationship with your clients, you will have the frame of mind wherein, in your sincere desire to help them, you can design solutions that will do one of those two things that any product or service must do:

1) Increase a pleasure, or 2) Reduce a pain.

You’ve likely heard the term “The truth is three levels deep”, right?  Same idea.  You have to take the time, create the bond, develop the trust and rapport, and hold their hand (figuratively) as you both explore their hopes, dreams, and fears together.  In this exploration you’ll find the opportunities to help, and the solutions will expose themselves as you “come out the other side” with a clear vision and solutions, as well as a solid and steadfast team relationship with your clients.

THIS is the approach, and the goal, of anyone wanting to help Baby Boomers and their parents / children in navigating the best second-half of life, and for us here at EtMM (and ADM Architecture) it is our ability to do THESE THINGS that has led to the growth of that segment of our business and that demographic sector seeking out our organizations for help in their own journeys and search for housing solutions that work for each individual client.


Related Topics / Blogs:

SPECULATIVE: The Impersonal and Short-sighted House

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose: “Encore Careers” = A.I.P.

Image Credits:
ABC Letters:
Worried Older Woman:
Happy Multi-Generational Family:


2 thoughts on “Attunement is KEY to Serving Clients for “Aging in Place”
  • Samad Aidane says:


    Great post. I appreciate how you linked the concept of attunement and servant leadership to aging in place to encourage readers to create client-specific and client-centric design solutions. That resonated with me very much. As Dan said, that requires that you first get out of your OWN HEAD, something that does not come easy to us when we are in a “selling” mode. Getting out of our OWN Head requires tremendous attention, self-awareness, and mindfulness.

    Thank you for giving a plug to our podcast at

    Samad Aidane

    • admin says:

      Samad – Thank you for recognizing the power in the connection we were trying to make in this post! I’m happy to share the great work that you are doing as well, keep up your own amazing work… we ALL MATTER!

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