April 11, 2023

Five Leadership Lessons I Learnt When Moving House


We recently moved house (which I mentioned in a previous post about Emotion versus Logic). During the move, I learnt five leadership lessons that I’d like to share with you.

Five Leadership Lessons

  1. Know the purpose and be clear on the outcome

To sell our old house, we hired a stylist called Deb. She walked through our house pointing out everything that needed to go and what furniture should be added. All personal and practical items such as family photos and dish racks were removed and replaced with objects that were aesthetically pleasing. I have never seen so many scatter cushions and throw rugs in my life!

It looked brilliant but we soon discovered it wasn’t practical for everyday life. Perhaps after seeing the look on our faces, especially my husband Steve’s, she said to us, ‘No one lives this way, but the purpose is to sell your house. To minimise furniture and remove the traces of your life so when people walk through the house, they can imagine themselves living here.’

  1. Hire good people and then get out of their way and let them do their job

Deb did such a great job that we hired her to help us purchase furniture for the new house. It has been such a relief, especially when purchasing big ticket items. It’s great having someone to bounce ideas off and get guidance on what will work and what we want to achieve.

We also hired expert removalists to pack everything and move it. This made the whole moving process almost enjoyable.

  1. Making one big decision can remove a lot of smaller decisions

As we were moving from an old Edwardian house into a modern build, we had a lot of furniture that wouldn’t work in the new house. One big decision we made was that no dark brown furniture would move with us. This removed lots of smaller decisions. e.g. Chesterfield lounge – not coming, Bed suite – not coming, Chest of drawers – not coming.

  1. Delegate with direction

In our old house we had an attic for storage. It was such a great idea at the time, but it also means you end up hoarding stuff. It was a massive effort sorting through the collection we had made over the years and the girls had so much stuff they had kept. The direction I gave them was you need to go through all your items and only keep enough to fit in one big box. Everything else will be either donated or thrown out. And they also had a deadline which meant job done!

  1. Start as you plan to be

As we were getting closer to the move, I found myself saying to the family, ‘This won’t be happening in the new house’. For example, never putting the bread board away so it becomes a permanent fixture on the kitchen bench. I started a list called New House: New Habits.

My mantra became “start as you plan to be”. Just because we have always done it a certain way, is not a good reason to keep the same process. Good habits can be established by asking, ‘If we were starting from scratch, would we do it this way?’