James Timpson is the Chief Executive of Timpson Group, a business which was founded 150 years ago making, selling and repairing shoes. Today Timpson has a network of shops across the UK and is much more than a cobbler. Their services also include cutting keys, phone repairs, engravings and repairing watches.
Timpson are committed to being a responsible organisation that acts with integrity in everything which they do. They are accredited by the Fair Tax Mark who recognise that Timpson strive to pay their fair share of taxes at the right time and in the right place. Their team at The Timpson Foundation support the recruitment of those marginalised groups of society who are often passed by when companies seek new colleagues, for example ex-armed forces personel and those who have been in prison but who now wish to find secture employment.
The business is still fully owned by Chairman and Chief Executive John Timpson, who is well known for his unique business style which he calls ‘Upside-down Management’. In 2004 he was awarded the CBE in the Birthday Honours List for Services to the Retail Sector and in 2017 was knighted for his services to business and fostering.
Maria and I were honoured to be able to include an interview from John Timpson about upside-down management, his commonsense management philosophy which is based on ensuring that those who have the power to really make a difference to customers actually have the power to get on with their work and do that is which is necessary. Timpson are a company which truly trusts everyone who works for them and which gives them the freedom to do that which they think best for their customers.
As I mentioned in my previous article, on the 26th of March this week, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak cited Timpson as an example of a business which is doing everything possible to avoid redundancies. Last month James Timpson shared this message for their customers:
Our online store and locksmiths business remain open. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, our shops are sadly going into hibernation. All of our shops will be temporarily closed from 5pm on Monday, 23 March 2020.
Our family business has been trading without shutting its doors since 1865, this includes two World Wars. We will be reopening as soon as it is safe and prudent to do so, and you will still be greeted by my amazing colleagues and a warm smile.
All of our colleagues are being paid in full while we are in hibernation, and I would like to put on record how brilliant they have been during this crisis. There are 5,500 colleagues in our family and everyone has stood up to the mark.
CEO, Timpson Group
Having done everything in the company’s power to avoid redundancies, last James shared this video which I encourage you all to watch. It shows the reactions of both employees as well as their families to this news, and shows just what an impact this action has made to thousands of families in one of the most distressing moments in their lives.
In this video you can really gain a sense of Timpson Group as a coherent whole, the solidity and solidary of all who are part of the organisation. It shows the great impact that leaders have on the well-being not only of employees, but of all of their families, and the level of appreciation of those who understand the genuine care that those running the business have for their employees.
As James says at the start of the video, they do not believe that this is cobblers. It is the essence of Timpson really becoming visible through a crsis not of their making, but one in which they can make more bearable as the weather the storm and return to their work conhesive, united and reassured that everyone will always be looked after no matter what life may throw at us.
This is truly people-centric leadership, following the principle that internal = external, and that it is not possible to externally articulate your soul of your brand if you do not have a clear articulation, conherence and authenticity inside.
Congratulations to the team Timpson for providing such a positive and uplifting example of a customer experience with soul.