How to ride a giraffe: extract number 1

It’s written in the distinctive Timpson style. And there are loads of details and asides that make John’s new book such an informative and relaxed read.

Here’s one. A few more will follow over the next few days.

Our management style has made a big difference.  Each year people tell me how much they like upside-down management. “It’s more relaxed,” some say some. “I can be my own boss,” say others, “but there is always someone there to help me and it gives me a chance to prove what I can do.”

We first introduced upside down management in Scotland when we realised that Scottish shops want to be run by Scots.  Scotland is different. Its schools start on a different date. It has its own bank holidays. Scots buy loads of  nameplates, as many Scots live in tenement blocks and put their surname on the door to help the postman.  We have always had a Scottish area manager to run Scotland and we also now have a Scottish regional manager. I do not, however, expect this policy to extend to the role of the chairman… 

Upside down management relies on good people.  One of the best decisions we made was to stop employing shoe repairers.  For ten years we have recruited personalities and then taught them the skills.  Our increased turnover and profit reflects the better calibre of our people.

You can order the book here.

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