Written by Senior Tutor, Adam Brooks
In a recent CIH Housing Podcast former CIH President Alison Inman described professional housing work as an Art and a Science. She explained that the science is the various technical knowledge you need for effective asset management, housing law, information management and systems, and more. The Art side includes the people work and the community work, the relational, listening, and empathetic skills.
In other words, you need professionalism in its fullest and most meaningful sense to have the vision, skills, and knowledge to work across tenures and provide sustainable and affordable homes and communities in a rabidly dysfunctional housing market.
It really is necessary and compelling work. Let's all take into account the current operational context. I learned from of my learners (as I frequently do) that their housing organisation's operational strategy was based on the understanding that the operating environment was 'VUCA.' That is, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. This leadership theory and framework is about building a strategic understanding to thrive in turbulent times. So, what of the current turbulence?
To begin with, we have disruptions to the supply chain through the various national and geopolitical shocks and disasters of recent years. We weren't allowed to recover from the Pandemic before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Interest rates and market volatility cut into surpluses and force local authorities and organisations to bankruptcy. Residents struggle with energy costs and the cost of living.
Catastrophic failures pave the road to recent tragedies in the social housing sector, from Grenfell to the death of Awaab Ishak. From April 2024 the Regulator for Social Housing will start on the ground, proactive regulation of consumer affairs. The housing watchdog, the Housing Ombudsman, has new powers to dive into the systemic issue behind housing complaints and get involved who they will, to put it right.
The Social Housing Regulation Act 2023 also insisted that housing managers are professionally qualified.
It's quite the VUCA, with fresh VUCA ingredients injected almost daily. So, as Stephen Covey would have it, you need to 'Sharpen the Saw.' Build learning as a compelling and essential habit. As housing professionals, at all levels, you are going to face daily operational and strategic challenges that call for the best toolkit of professional behaviours, skills, and knowledge. Here's where we can help. We deliver housing courses from Levels 2 to 5. These are both 'standalone' CIH certificates in housing practice or housing apprenticeships. Our standalones give you an essential cross-section of housing law, regulation, and an understanding of markets and policy, partnership working and other key themes like resident involvement. And more besides. Our apprenticeships do all this PLUS a professional education in relevant skills and behaviour.
We'll help you build learning habits such as reflective practice and guide you with your next steps after your studies with us. And our support including on-request and scheduled tutorials will enhance your learning and ensure that if you hit a wall, you can climb over it.
What better time is there to study the art and science of housing? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Williamson, R.m et al.(2023) 16 days of activism, homes at the heart of domestic abuse policy. [Podcast]. Available at: Spotify Podcasts (Accessed, 12/01/2024).
What Vuca really means for you (2022) Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-vuca-really-means-for-you (Accessed: 12 January 2024).
Covey, S.R. (1989) The seven habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Simon and Schuster.