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Here at FPB we absolutely love Sir John Timpson. Not only does he come across as a true gentleman, his leadership style is something to behold. The family business, which his son James now runs, boasts an incredible 2,078 shops across the UK. Their most famous offering ‘Timpson’ is the shoe repair and key cutting business which you see on almost every high street.

Below we have picked out our six favourite quotes from a recent interview he conducted on BBC Radio 2 ‘What makes us human’. In turn these quotes reveal six key learnings:

1. Implicitly trust your colleagues

  • “The best way to run a business is to trust your colleagues with the freedom to do their job in the way they know best.”

2. Keep things simple

  • “We have two rules – look the part and put the money in the till.”

3. Treat people like human beings

  • “Our bosses don’t tell anyone what to do. They do their job by helping every team member become the very best they can possibly be. Not only through work-based training but by helping them to cope with personal problems, deaths, divorce, drugs, stress and bereavement, that prevent people being on top form.”

4. Work hard on your company culture

  • “As an independent family owned business, we can take a long-term view, not just on strategy and investment but also in creating our culture.”

5. Have the right mindset

  • “When you think something absolutely disastrous has happened it actually gives you the incentive to do something you never imagined you would do in life.”

6. Be brave

  • Talking about the people Timpson’s have recruited from prison, “We now know they are more loyal, actually higher achievers, and they are really more dedicated, hardworking and all the rest of it than people we employ in the ordinary sort of way. They have been amazing.”

And finally, here is a beautiful quote when he spoke about his late wife Alex, who for the record, was never directly involved in the business:

  • “She taught us the importance of kindness, claiming a business can be kind and also make lots of money. I now know she was right.”

Well said Sir John!

By Chris Tong

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