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Screw Business As Usual

April 26, 2013

I have stolen this title from Richard Branson… he will be rewarded by a link to his book at the end :-).

I am, as you know if you read Close to the Edge and Quick Grab This… in the process of being re-housed into more affordable Social Housing in the UK. I feel very strongly in the benefits of compassion in business. Yes, compassion – in business. It is possible. Richard mentions this a lot in his book and I seem to be living through this so I am sharing this process with you.

Before applying for Social Housing I went through all the different Associations’ (companies not-for-profit) websites with a fine tooth comb. I particularly noticed how they were worded. For example terms such as ‘Live with us’ and ‘We work very hard to create thriving communities’ appealed – phrases such as: ‘Rent from us’ and ‘Your rent – your responsibility’ did not. The former promotes a sense of inclusion and community, the latter the opposite.

I also specifically looked at their programs for their employees. Companies that offered a varied and creative program of perks, such as free or discounted therapies, car pool, free DVD loaning and good pay appealed to me. The reason this appeals to me is this – take care of your staff, your staff will take care of your customers – your customers will respect your company. For Housing Associations this is very important because they need their customers, their tenants, to pay their rent on time. It makes sound business sense. Did you get that? Compassion makes sound business sense.

Business aside for just a second – getting to the stage of approaching a Housing Association often means that you are down on your luck, poor, desperate and probably sick with worry. I was and still am to some degree as my body catches up with my circumstances. So treating people with kindness is paramount. Being efficient and as speedy as possible is paramount. Taking some of the responsibility for ‘simple’ tasks such as form filling and benefits is paramount when someone is feeling so stressed that their body and mind are overloaded.

One Housing Association shone through in all of the above. The others did not. Now here is the potential pitfall – when you are on a waiting list for an affordable property – you tend to have to take the first offer you get. Now – you don’t HAVE to, of course, but when you are desperate and about to be homeless – you’d (I’d) kinda be stupid to say ‘No’!!. So I applied to a few Housing Associations and prayed my favourite one would come good.

I was lucky. Very, very lucky.

My preferred Housing Association came good and within a pretty short time frame actually, from application – interview – offer of a new home – was ‘only’ a matter of weeks. I say ‘only’ because with each passing day the anxiety was getting much more difficult to manage but in real-time it was pretty fast.

Now – was I lucky? Or was it down to efficiency, understanding – COMPASSION?

I say it again – Compassion makes sound business sense. More on this in a later post but for now – SCREW BUSINESS AS USUAL.

Matt Chase, Still Housed 🙂

Further Reading UK:

Screw Business As Usual – Richard Branson (Affiliate Link)

Further Reading US:

Screw Business As Usual – Richard Branson (Affiliate Link)

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