Transformation begins at home!

I was recently reminded of a great saying: “If you are going through a big change think first about what you can do for yourself, what you can do to actively own the change and be the change “

Who said that?  Well I don’t remember exactly who but it is good advice. Change starts from within. Change starts at home.

And that brings me to my own change story. Well it’s about me and my wife.

We have been married for long enough to have two children both in their twenties. They have grown, grown and now pretty much flown. Well they do still drop in from time to time -which is nice!

With the kids now moving on with their lives, we have taken stock about our own lives and started by looking at our home base.  Do we still need all those bedrooms? Should we move home?

One thing is for sure: we don’t like how dark it is in those of our rooms which don’t face sunrise or sunset. The electric lights are on most of the day when we are in those rooms to compensate for this lack of natural light. We were just putting up with this before like a slightly uncomfortable habit. We didn’t think about it that much, all the time we were focusing on bringing up our children. And now they have gone. And we have time to think…

As key budget holders of our home, and the remaining stakeholders, my wife and I now looked at the options and weighed up both cost efficiency and quality of experience. As you do.

Do you know what?  Looking at all the options we actually decided is to stay where we were -not move to a new lighter house or to downsize – but to improve our home, add value, build on strong foundations and the framework and process of living we have already established: we decided to go for a design and build!  It’s a new trend.

The transformation began.

So first there was the tendering process: the request for proposals (RFP) and quotes to design and build.

We went NOT FOR THE BIG BANG (everything at once) but for the START SMALL AND SCALE UP approach. Eating the metaphorical elephant in small digestible chunks.

Starting with our bedroom.

We spend a third of each day (and all the small hours of the night) there, after all.

Three providers quoted for business and we chose the one which offered a good balance of cost efficiency and a quality of product and service delivery. We built a trust with them, explained our needs, were open to their suggestions and design ideas, collaborated together to make it happen on time in full, and they did a really good job!




Here is a picture of what our bedroom looked like before.

I am sure you will agree it’s dark, a bit outdated, and certainly doesn’t get enough fresh air into it to give my wife a comfortable night’s sleep. To keep her cool on those warm, sticky summer nights.

So we changed it to this:

What a difference this change made. Light, airy, more modern, stylish. Comfortable. Fit for purpose. We are thrilled. More so than we had originally expected to be.

Quick Q & A:

Was it a tough decision to go for change?

Actually once we had agreed on what we wanted and really visualised what it would look like, and once we had done the maths around cost and return on investment, it wasn’t that difficult. Not so scary as it first may seem.

Was it expensive?

Yes, it cost us money. But when we benchmarked the “as it was” situation with the local estate agent for a valuation of our house they said the “to be” plans would certainly add value to the price of the house by x to make the changes in our blueprint, to carry out the design and build plan. When they came back and saw the end result they even increased their evaluation by another 5% to y. So yes it was a cost, but one with a definite return on investment.

Was it disruptive during the change process?

That whole process of changing the window and knocking down the wall and fitting the new French Doors and the glass balcony.

Yes, a bit, for a short while. But we worked with it, got on well with the builders, facilitated the whole process with regular updates and timely cups of coffee and tea. No damage was done. The fall-out, the debris and dust soon got neatly cleared away. Life went on. And got better in fact.

A quality job. Customer satisfied!

So here’s the point:

When we look at change it doesn’t always have to be bad news. The vision for the future can be brighter, lighter, that whole vista, the window on the world view wider. The new environment more comfortable. Cool. And cost effective.

And here’s a few of my change management tips:

(based on personal life experience, including running corporate change and transformation programmes & projects)

  1. Don’t start by just saying no to change. Don’t live with something which is uncomfortable for too long.
  2. Be open to the potential gains that change can bring you.
  3. Align on the options. As stakeholders engage to consider the cost and the return on investment and the outcome benefits of change. Emotional as well as logical.
  4. Have and agree a clear plan and know what it will look like: and how, who, when.
  5. Hire good experts with specialist skills just for that interim period to help build, deliver and implement the plan.
  6. Stay calm and be resilient during the disruption -it will pass.
  7. Enjoy the fruits of your change journey, which began with yourself. The moment when you decided to make that change. Starting with home base.


Simon Brown, June 2016