Finding a new place to live is a lot like a good strategy project; it requires healthy dollops of…
Finding a new place to live is a lot like a good strategy project; it requires healthy dollops of IQ, EQ and FQ
Undoubtedly one of the biggest events to happen to me, my life and my business in the last 2 months has been my upcoming eviction from my Central London apartment. As such, I felt it deserved a special series of short blogs exploring this event. This is the second in that series where I explore why this happened, what it means for me and my business and how I am trying to overcome the challenge
If you read my last blog, you will know that I have recently been served eviction notice on my Central London flat.
Wahoo! My life as a start-up founder certainly is full of twists and turns.
I definitely place this experience though in the “not-so-great” column, a lot of that is due to trying to overcome the change curve, but equally I do love a random element so I have thrown myself into coming out of this not just with a new flat but also a new adventure to look forward to.
Why is this like a Strategy Project?
Strategy is simple: Identify what the problem you are trying to solve is, be clear on any constraints/criteria, assess all the options you have available to solve the problem, pick one or two and voila. Ok, it’s a bit more complicated than that but then again it shouldn’t be.
When it comes to my housing situation; the problem is layered.
On the one hand it is simply about finding somewhere new to live but alongside this, the constraints/criteria that I apply are varied. They include:
- how much am I willing to spend? [not just on the flat but also things like utilities, council tax, parking fees, etc — they all add up and vary]
- what requirements do I have for the flat itself? [things that go through my mind include: floor space, layout, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, furnished or not, with parking or not, additional building amenities, in a high rise or low rise, how bright it is, how energy-efficient, and more — I know right, what a luxury to be able to consider all these elements]
- what requirements do I have for the area? [things that go through my mind include: who do I know in the neighbourhood, have I lived there before, how easy will it be to meet clients/friends, how easy will be to get to airports for work, what shops, cafes and restaurants are nearby, how safe the neighbourhood is, how far away is it from my parents, etc.]
Obviously, the clock is ticking so I may have to be flexible when it comes to the above but this is how my brain approaches the challenge. It identifies the criteria that are important, the priority within these and then goes about stress-testing these — large amounts of IQ there.
Finding a new place to live isn’t purely rational
Despite what I have outlined above, finding a new place to live is just as much an emotional decision as a logical one; effectively you are trying to imagine the life you would like to lead (although sometimes it’s important to remember the actual life you have but that’s a different blog) — this is where EQ comes in.
As part of this, I like to get input from others about what they would do; where would they live?
It’s an amazing question as many people don’t have an answer (they haven’t ever had the luxury to have a 100% free choice), or their answer invariably is linked to where they currently live or they begin imagining a different life unbounded by their current constraints.
This asking others is a great EQ part for me; by sharing my challenge it allows for us to be better connected, it also allows me to sense-check my thinking on them and see their reaction (in the case of some people it’s disappointment that you are thinking of Moving further away, for others it’s relief).
Everyone really does have an opinion and in the last few weeks alone I’ve been encouraged to move more centrally, move to the countryside, move to another country, move in with flatmates, buy instead of rent, take the biggest property in the worst area and take the smallest property in the best area.
Phew! I can’t do all that but I am grateful for the support and suggestions. Really the more I talk about it with people, the more it sharpens my IQ on the matter, it also helps me feel more connected with people and navigate my own emotions a little more.
Where does FQ come in?
With all the thinking and sharing on the topic, I still need to find an actual flat (even if thankfully I got an unexpected one month reprieve on my eviction date) and that is where focus comes in.
Once I have clarity on what my specific criteria are, the key is to focus in 2 ways:
- Don’t get distracted by flats that don’t meet this criteria
- Make myself as ready to execute on the flats that do meet the criteria — this means making myself available to view and being quick to land any flat that I like (make a quick offer and finalise the paperwork)
There is a wider FQ question of where this problem fits in my wider hierarchy of work and personal objectives. Obviously I have a business to run and an (admittedly slow) social life to maintain. I aspire to stay healthy, financially stable, happy, well connected with friends and family and maybe even sort out my romantic life.
Ever a fan of working smart, I am able to combine certain of these objectives whilst undertaking my flat-hunt (e.g. by getting plenty of exercise cycling between flat viewings) but there are certainly trade-offs involved.
The quest continues
Despite being a strategist and having a clear strategy, I still haven’t found a new place to live. For now, I make this one of my priorities and remain optimistic that the right place will come up soon enough.
Join me in the next blog where I elaborate on how exactly the search is going…
Faris is the CEO and Founder of Shiageto Consulting, an innovative consultancy that helps firms and individuals sharpen their effectiveness.
Success = IQ x EQ x FQ