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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Transformation in housing: the reality


Chantelle Miller, senior housing officer at Tuntum Housing Association attend our 'Transformation in housing' event last week and tells us what she learned from the day.

Transformation is an opportunity to look at what, when and why we do what we do across the entire business.

This was the second East Midlands regional event this year and it did not disappoint. As with most CIH events, it was refreshing to see both members and non-members in attendance. The experience in the room ranged from professionals’ working directly in housing, as well as consultants and professionals working outside of the sector.

This event explored the transformation journey, demystifying some of the jargon that accompanies it and shared the experiences of Orbit and Longhurst group. What was refreshing about the way that the content was delivered is the fact that there was a good balance of interaction, facts, experience and time for reflection. It felt relatable. I appreciated that not only did the speakers share their success stories but they also highlighted their mistakes and lessons learned.

Julian Beaney, business services director and Tom Forty, head of business improvement at Orbit Group kicked off the event with a brilliant ice breaker which I will definitely use when delivering my own training or briefing sessions in future.

They then took us through their transformation journey at Orbit. Within their session, we were given the opportunity to draw and describe what stage of transformation we are at within our own organisation, of which I found particularly useful.

Vicky Askey, head of business and transformation then briefed us on her transformation journey at Longhurst Group. She highlighted the importance of business culture within the transformation journey, explaining how Longhurst focused their efforts on getting the culture within the business right before anything else.

Here are my key learnings from the session…

1. Culture
Focus on culture first. If you do not create the right environment for the transformation to take place, it is likely to fail.

2. Resources
It helps to have a nominated person or team within the business to drive transformation and hold all business areas to account.

3. Time
Transformation cannot be slow. Tom Forty illustrated the fact that in order to maximize the likelihood of successful transformation, big change should happen over a short period.

4. Communication
Communicate, communicate and communicate again- but only when the time is right!

Tom and Julian gave brilliant examples of the processes that they used to plan the transformation within their business. They explained that they did not communicate any change until around 9-12 months after the planning stage. Once they delivered the message that change was imminent, communication was clear, transparent and consistent.

5. Leadership and vision
Strong leadership is key and all speakers explained that transformation came after changes within the leadership team in their organisation. It is important to have a clear vision and to stand by it despite challenges through the transformation process.

So what are the next steps for me?

I left the event feeling satisfied with the fact that my knowledge of business transformation has increased. I intend to apply what I have learnt within my own area of responsibility and share my key learnings from this event with colleagues within my organisation.

Chantelle Miller is senior housing officer at Tuntum Housing Assocation.

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