Blogging · Digital · Google · housing · innovation

Why all orgs should ‘Default to Open’

We’ve all heard of the term Open by Default, right? Its the principle by which governments and increasingly organisations make its data and information accessible to the public by default, unless there is a sufficient justification to explain that greater public interest may be at stake, as a result of disclosure.

For most organisations I would argue that a default to open stance is vital. It helps to build stakeholder relationships both internally and externally, instills a ‘nothing to hide here’ mantra and genuinely promotes open network building.

This is no different in the world of Housing where there has been an every increasing drive towards transparency, with the most recent example being the publishing of organisational gender pay gap information to the public. This is combined with the ever changing world of work meaning that current and future employees more than ever value open and flexible organisations, where they can feel part of a ‘high trust’ culture.

Social Media:

Consider the use of social media. Turn back the clock to before Twitter and Facebook and how many people would have considered telling anyone (and everyone) in the world almost anything. Now its commonly accepted that people and organisations use multiple social media platforms. I for one use quite a few platforms, with the vast majority of my use for professional purposes.

But the key point here is that I use Twitter in particular as my form of ‘default to open’ approach, in that I will share what I am working on at work. This inevitably runs the chance of some negative (and positive) comments, which at times can be quite difficult to accept, but I can hand on heart say that I am a better professional for having these conversations and debating the points.

Open Source:


Another example of default to open is the rise of the term ‘open source’. Open source is often used to describe projects or software where. Google’s Android is one such Open Source Project. Some would argue that one of the main reasons for its success has been the fact that Google opened up Android to developers for free and as a result, it has become one of the most used operating systems for mobiles and tablets ever. Chances are you own at least one device that runs on Android.

Closer to the world of housing, but similarly open in nature, there is an ever increasing range of open source 3D print floor plans available on the net.

Think of almost anything and you can find an open source version on the internet.

New Digital Age:


Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen cover much of this and more in their book titled ‘The New Digital Age’. The book is a fascinating and challenging read, and for anyone truly interested in digital, I would recommend reading it. At times it is downright scary, but much of what they write about is an important view into our likely digital future. If you think default to open is a challenging concept, this is the just the beginning of where digital things are heading.

What about you?:

So how about you?

  • Do you work in an open organisation?
  • What about your personal approach to work?

I would love to hear your thoughts – please leave a comment below!

Blogging · change

2018 will be THE year


2017 was a tough year for me professionally and personally, but I have decided to start the new year off positively by saying that 2018 is going to be a much better year for me.

Why I hear you say?

Well, here are three of the professional reasons:

  1. I am determined to finish my MBA – this will be the end of three years of hard graft and quite simply I am looking forward to having some spare time again…….as well as the huge sense of satisfaction of completing the masters;
  2. I have two new areas at work to get stuck into – improving customer services and tenant participation, both have lots of scope for positive change and the chance to make a real difference for our tenants;
  3. I have a new professional mentor – after five years with my previous mentor, it felt like time for a change. Hats off to the Chartered Institute of Housing for offering this free service to members.

So, nothing scientific and nothing factual, but spending some time pulling these together has shown me that I do indeed have a plan and I know I work best with a plan.

So here’s to 2018 being the most successful yet.

Here’s hoping yours is really successful to.



My blog posts – a success or failure?

wordpress like

OK, so I’ve been a bit slack of late with blog posts. I’ve been busy both inside and outside of work, but I thought I would write this one about my experience of writing my blog!

So firstly, I’ve got the grand total of 78 followers for my blog. Considering I started writing it some years ago, this seems pretty poor, right? Well actually, I’ve been constantly surprised by how people mention that they have read some of my blog posts.

I’ll give you a recent example.

My last blog post was titled ‘working out loud’. It has been viewed 28 times, with 1 like. Hardly massive numbers. But I’ve had more than one person share with me that they have read my blog post and more than one positive conversation about its content.

It never ceases to amaze me that I can publish a blog post and feel utterly demoralised that its had so few views, only to find that it has actually made an impact on the very few people who have viewed it. It all depends on how you measure success.

The other consideration is that, although I only have 78 blog followers, I have over 1850 Twitter followers and over 750 LinkedIn links, so actually my potential audience for blog posts is a lot more than I give myself credit for!

So, would you call this a success, failure or at best indifferent? I would love to hear you thoughts…….


The completer finisher


I have always considered myself as a completer finisher, someone who can be relied on to get things done. But in terms of blog posts, the description just doesn’t fit.

I have recently realised that I now have 15 unfinished blog posts, ranging back over a number of years. Some of these are just blog titles and a few lines, whereas others are 95% completed. Often I get inspiration to write something but just fail to get the right tone, or the right ending or after I’ve written something, I think it just isn’t interesting enough to publish!

I find that generally I write a blog post in just a few sittings. I draft a post, then revisit it a day or so later to make some final amendments and additions, and then publish it. Maybe I should take longer writing my blog posts, but in honesty, this just slows down the process for me. I am much better just writing what I think, tidying it up and then releasing it to the world.

So this blog post is a confession of sorts. I am not the completer finisher I thought I was.

Blogging · housing

The Virtues of the Housing Sector Blog

BlogI’ve been blogging now for nearly three years on a variety of Housing related subjects and with quite a good degree of success, gaining over 4000 views of my blog posts in 2014 alone.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of blogging for Housing folks – for one thing it helps to make sure that as a sector we are open to learning and sharing. Here are just a few more good reasons that spring to mind:

  1. Housing is often called a forgotten sector in the wider UK world – why not publish some of the great work we do in Housing via a blog – you’ll be amazed at what a positive response you can get;
  2. Housing has an amazing amount of sector variety – blogging is a great way to showcase this and the wide variety of job opportunities is still one of the main reasons I chose a career in Housing;
  3. There are still a relatively small number of Housing folks blogging – there is a good chance a decent blog will be picked up, retweeted and listed under 60 second news;
  4. It is still a relatively easy way to get your thoughts on the subject out to a wide ranging audience – yes there are the recognised sector industry media points, but never underestimate how widely a blog post will be distributed and read.

wordpress like

I also wrote a blog titled ‘the Bloggers Guide to Blogging’ last year, which you can read here, but on reflection I would also add two more top tips:

  1. Blogging is a skill to learn and nurture – although obviously the content is important, writing a blog is a skill that needs to be learnt and nurtured – if you think you’re first blog post will be a world beater, you might well be disappointed;
  2. Blog about something interesting – something that is either a current issue facing #ukhousing or on a subject that lots of housing people will find interesting an insightful.

I am always expressing the virtues of blogging to Housing people and I can truly say that I am now able to write a half decent blog in a short amount of time. This is a skill that I have learnt by reading other peoples blogs and experimenting with the content and titles. I’ve still got a long way to improve, but I am pleased with what I have learnt so far and the response I’ve had.

If I had to give one main learning point to anyone writing a blog for the first time, it is just to have a go at it. I can’t tell you the amount of times people have mentioned to me that they have read a blog post of mine and not only read it, but understood what I was trying to say! I may not have gained a 100 ‘likes’ on each blog post, but never underestimate that visitors to your blog will remember what you have said.

So, hopefully this blog post will have helped to sell the virtues of blogging to all you amazing people working in Housing. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, whether you are a regular blogger, a part time blogger or a ‘maybe I will one day blog’ blogger. Leave your thoughts below!!


The bloggers guide to blogging

I have been asked a few times recently why I write a blog. The simple answer is that I love a challenge.

It is easy to think about doing something, but another thing to actually do it.

In the case of blog writing, I’d often come up with things I had some views about, often different to the ones I read about, so one day I decided I may as well try and write them down.

Not that this has always been easy. After successfully writing my first blog post, I then hit a substantial block wall which I couldn’t get past. I would either come up with a blog post title but no content, or a few lines of interest that I could never gel together into a decent post.

In the end I just kept at it. It’s got easier over time. Sometimes I can even write a few blog posts within days of each other, meaning I’ve got one in the bag. I have got lots of half written blog posts as well, where I have got the semblance of a blog post, but not been able to flesh it out enough. Often these have been missing that killer post title, the killer stat or the tag line that would actually make people want to bother reading it.

So, what have I learnt so far? Here are just a few of the things:

  1. Be clear what you are going to blog about. I was definitely guilty of blogging about anything and everything, but risked visitors not having a clue what my posts would be about.
  2. Come up with catchy blog post title. If I do nothing else, I spend a lot of time making sure this is as snappy (and clear) as possible to get people’s attention. I often ask a question in the title, hoping it will gain someone’s interest (I am pretty sure I got this trick from reading other peoples blogs).
  3. Blog regularly. This has been a challenge at times. I have made promises to myself that I’ll write something every week, or every two week, and I’ve often failed. The truth is I need to have something to write about or it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
  4. Use Social Media. Through my Twitter (@brettsadler77) and LinkedIn pages I’ve managed to gain much greater exposure of my blog posts.
  5. Don’t worry about the number of followers. My experience of using WordPress is that, even after a few years of blogging, I’m only just approaching 50 blog followers. This is no reflection on what I’ve written, more that people just don’t follow people’s blogs on WordPress.
  6. Don’t worry if no-one likes or comments. This depends a lot on what you are writing about. If you are asking lots of question and being quite challenging, then you may well get some comments, but if you are telling people something, then you may not. The same goes for likes. I’ve thought many times that a blog post hasn’t been listened to, only to find out during a random conversation that they liked something I had said in a previous post.
  7. Set a target. I set myself a target of 4000 views of my blog by the end of this year. I’ve nearly hit that already, with a few months to spare. Granted this might not work for everyone, but for me it helped to keep me focused.

If you are a blog writer reading this post, I hope these tips have been of help. The same goes to the aspiring blog writer (just give it a go). If you have given it some thought before now, maybe you should consider writing a blog of your very own? It can be amazingly rewarding.


6 Top Blog Writing Tips

ImageAbout 12 months ago I decided to have a go at writing a blog. I was under no illusions that it would be easy but figured there was only one way to find out what it was all about and that was just to have a go! So I registered on WordPress and started drafting some blog posts.

Now maybe I’m a little different to other bloggers, but it took me some time to be happy with my post content and then I quickly realised that picking a background theme for my WordPress blog was also going to take an inordinate amount of time as well!

After posting a few times over a few months I was lucky enough to attend a social enterprise training day on social media which included WordPress/blog writing and it gave me a few tips to improve my blog further. Things like linking my blog to my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and embedding video content opened up lots of possibilities.

Seeing as my blog is now taking off with some regular readers and enough content to be of interest, I figured I’d try and blog a few tips that I’d give to anyone new to blogging, so here goes…….

1) Write about your interests – it sounds simple, but it’s really hard to write about anything your not interested in or knowledgeable about. It’s not impossible, just difficult.

2) Come up with your ‘style’ – have a quick look at some existing blogs and you will soon see the vast variety of blog styles that are out there. For mine, I went with a slightly humorous, fairly concise style. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

3) Update it regularly – I struggled with this one at first. It’s hard to just start writing unless your creative juices are flowing, whereas now I find it pretty easy to write a new blog post every few weeks. In fact, I’ve got quite a few half written blog pieces that I’ll no doubt revisit again soon and finish off.

4) Use social media to promote your posts/blog – one of the lessons I learned from the training. This helps to get your blog out there, otherwise it might never be read by anyone (which with the best will in the world is hard to stay positive about!).

5) Just have a go! – for me this is key. I’ve learnt more from just posting some blog pieces than anything else.

6) Have some fun! – again this is really key. You’ve got to want to write on your blog regularly, otherwise it will be a real struggle and your readers will soon pick-up on this and remember, if your posts are not interesting enough in content, no-one will ever click on your blog posts.

So, the message is quite simple really. What are you waiting for – get blogging!!

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

Jodie Fear

22 year old based in South Wales. Working within the housing sector. Passionate about housing and communities.

Every day's a school day

Looking for that lightbulb moment

Charlotte's Sidekick Blog

Thoughts and views on the PR and Communication Industry


It's all about Housing


My thoughts.


Just a few words about housing, Excel and stuff

All about Marketing and Comms

Pearls of wisdom on various aspects of marketing

Evie Copland

Commercial head with a social heart: Part of #TeamDGHP, #RisingStarsCIH finalist 2016 - lover of social housing, the courteeners, sunshine and good times

Peter Hall

Thoughts on Leadership, Housing, Innovation and other stuff

Our Castle's Strength

A blog about housing, home, and the hearth.

4,000 bricks

A place for housing, communications and political debate

Roommy writes

"All that glitters is not digital"

Connected Housing

Digital business design for Housing

AdeCapon's Blog

All things digital, marketing, football and happenings

Neeley School MBA Voices

A candid look at MBA life at TCU

Leadership and Management / Turning Adversity to Advantage

Do the Right Things Right / Embrace Failure