Culture is the most important thing for a company to be successful

For the Chief Executive of the Timpson group, culture is the reason that his business is a success, something he said comes from his own personal values of trust and kindness. Every colleague (Timpson staff are not referred to as employees) is treated as an equal – no one is more important than anyone else. Colleagues are trusted to run their shops in whatever way they think is right with only two rules: put the money in the till and look the part. He values Timpson people so much he has not cut any of the company perks since coronavirus hit.

Run your company how you want to, not how others do

“We never do any market research.” “We don’t have a marketing department.” “CVs are a complete waste of time” A few of the gems from James that might make you think differently about your operations, including recruitment.

Instead James spends three days a week visiting colleagues to ask them about problems he can fix, knows the publicity generated by hiring ex-offenders has brought in more customers than it has put off, and only needs a name and phone number for people wanting to join the organisation. “I could teach any of you to repair a watch or cut a key” he told people watching “but what I can’t do is change your personality. We’re looking for spark; we want fun, interesting, engaging, quirky, people who have energy and look you in the eye. You may be the world’s best shoe repairer but if you’re a miserable sod we don’t want you.”

Communication is really important during a crisis like coronavirus

“I try and be really honest. People aren’t stupid, they know when there are problems. I’m telling everybody how much money we have in the bank, all the things that are going right and going wrong. Get out from behind your Zoom call if you can and speak to people, talk to colleagues who you often wouldn’t engage with and ask them what they think. Their opinion is really important,” said Timpson.