commercial property lambert smith hampton

Viewpoint - 09/04/2020

How we're embracing change as a business

Reorganised service lines, centralised supply functions and new P&L all introduced

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Waking up early has never bothered me. Increasingly, it’s so early I have a new found unfettered respect for farmers. It is hard to fathom how lives have changed so radically in just a few short weeks. 

We entered the New Year with a positive outlook, the commercial market was in a good place following on from an election result it craved. Public confidence grew, Brexit was ‘done’ and the economy showed signs of recovery.

Health is wealth

Fast forward to today and the UK and Ireland, alongside large sections of the world’s population, are in lock down with no end in sight. Where we once baulked at mask wearing, as a result of this ghastly virus it is now a staple of daily life. Sadly, so are the horrible statistics that we all now watch, trying to rationalise the situation, and rightly applauding our incredible NHS. 

The speed at which we have all been thrust into this unprecedented situation is startling. It goes without saying the front line workers are all heroes, paying tremendous acts of selflessness day-in and day-out to help protect as many people as possible from this horrendous disease. We all must continue to salute the NHS workforce who are working wonders around the clock to keep us as safe as they possibly can. It is never truer than today, that health really is wealth. 

Very few businesses, property or otherwise, will be shielded from the crisis. LSH is one of the largest commercial agents across the UK and Ireland with multiple offices spanning the length and breadth of the country. Our competitors often finger our scale and regional model as an achilles heel. 

In fact, we have adapted to the crisis at breakneck speed. In just a matter of days we have moved the entire business to smart working, closed all of our offices and introduced a new flexible and nimble operating model. 

A new three-pronged approach

Changes may have been made whilst wearing slippers but they are still dramatic

Rather than shying away from difficult operational decisions, we have embraced them. Organising the business into three distinctive service lines: Transact, Consult and Operate. Centralising ancillary supply functions and creating new bespoke P&Ls. To achieve this at such pace in normal times would be a tall order, but having achieved this from our kitchens, with slippers afoot, is truly remarkable. 

It shows leadership and strength in adversity. To now be on the front foot, seeking new work to win, rather than being paralysed by inertia or the continual worry about losing money.  

The picture is far from clear, this is true. No one knows when the crisis will curtail, or what the final outcome will be. But one thing is less opaque. As soon as the UK government eases its restrictions, as a result of speed of thought and action, we are in the best place possible to bounce-back, underpinned by the management interventions we have taken. 

We have all had to adapt quickly. To learn new skills and manage a business virtually has become the new norm in a flash. Clear and decisive leadership in such difficult times coupled with a new found collegiate spirit remains vital. 

The commercial market will bounce back. There will be new opportunities and advisers will need to adapt to the new conditions. Who knows, our new operating model may be a turning point for how services are sold across the property market in the future. What I do know is that providing clarity in trying times, alongside teams working ever more closely together to serve our clients, is providing us with the best platform to spring back as soon as the UK government eases its restrictions.

This article first featured on React News on 9 April 2020. Click here to view the article in full.

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