Market Insight

Our A-B-C of business management: What we’ve learned from the last three years

How we are evolving through Adaptation, Behaviour and capitalising on Change.
August 24, 2022
2022 saw another successful financial year end for Vail Williams,7% ahead of where we were in 2021 in turnover terms. It also saw the fulfilment of our last three-year plan and the launch of our next.

Our continued growth at what has been a challenging time, is down to the outstanding contribution of our people in achieving our business plan objectives. But it also says a lot about our approach to business management too.

As we embark on the next chapter in our development, I take a moment to reflect on how we have continued to move the business forward in what have been some of the most testing times in recent memory.

I also discuss some of the big themes for Vail Williams as we look ahead to the next three years. It all comes down to Adaptation, Behaviour and Change.

Adaptation and agility

The last three years have seen many businesses adapt to survive, whether that was by embracing flexible working, managing interrupted supply chains or navigating through the various lockdown restrictions.

Our main focus was on how we could continue to adapt and develop our business to support our clients during a time of significant change and uncertainty.

Initially, this was about picking up the phone and talking to them, understanding their challenges and working out how we could help – not just based on our own services, but making use of our professional networks too.

We developed a business support hub and populated it with information to support our clients throughout the pandemic, and were quick to introduce a hybrid workplace to ensure our people could continue to provide excellence of service from their homes.

Now, as we look towards the next three years, our own challenges will be around how we create the optimal environment for our team to prosper in and enjoy what they do.

We want to create the best environment in which our people can work, so we have been upgrading our offices to create a more fluid internal environment, as well as relocating three of our 11 offices to improved spaces and locations – an investment which is already paying significant dividends.

This is allowing us to attract and retain the best talent for our clients, whilst also delivering against our desire to be an employer of choice.


Our Purpose and Values have been in place for some time and cement the behaviours that our people live and breathe. But our behaviour in business management terms is equally as important.

For me, this is about how, as business leaders, we invest in our people and demonstrate to them that their health and wellbeing and career ambitions really do matter to us.

Building on what we already had in place such as our Health & Wellbeing Policy, we have invested heavily in the development of our new Learning & Development (L&D) strategy and appointed someone to lead on this for our business, outside of the traditional HR function.

This has enabled us to launch a new L&D philosophy which goes beyond equipping people with the right tools and skills for the job.

As a management team, we recognise the need to attract people who are at the leading edge of new ideas, so we are investing in our team both so that we can achieve that, as well as ensuring everyone at Vail Williams can also be the best that they can be.

Another significant contributing factor that is helping our teams to achieve their career ambitions, has been a return to the office for some or all of the week, enabling our people to benefit from vicarious learning, mentoring and collegiate support – vital elements for a knowledge-based business like ours.

Now, as we look towards the next three years, our own challenges will be around how we create the optimal environment for our team to prosper in and enjoy what they do.

Matthew Samuel-Camps, Managing Partner.
Capitalising on change

Whilst much of what we have done over the past three years has been about how we can capitalise on significant areas of change to support our clients, we have also ensured that we continue to evolve in established areas such as our diversity and inclusion (D&I) and sustainability, as well as looking at business resilience and succession planning.

We continue to work on improving our credentials in relation to D&I by challenging convention and opening up employment opportunities outside the usual norms in property and have focused on addressing sustainability in our business – from the development of our environmental policy to the benchmarking of our CO2 usage.

We now know that 67% of the CO2 emissions we create each year come from travel and we have committed to achieving a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions per person per annum within our business, and to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Again, this is about encouraging a change in behaviour – not just in travel terms, but also office location, sustainability credentials and personal choices – and we are using our own experiences to help our clients on their own carbon reduction journey too.

As we continue to grow, this will become increasingly integral to the success of our instructions across the UK and the satisfaction of our clients – be they occupiers, landlords / investors, developers or lenders.

The above represents just some of the ways in which we have found what works for us in the management of our business – not just for the benefit of our clients, but for our business and its people too.

Of course, running a business is a constant learning curve, especially when faced with such unprecedented times.

It’s a journey which never stops, and with cost of living pressures, increasing interest rates and escalating energy costs adding to the already heady mix of challenges that businesses face, we (like any other business) will remain attentive to the immediate changing economic and political landscape, whilst keeping our A-B-C of business management at the forefront of our longer term thinking.