Keys to success: 50 secrets from a business maverick

Author – John Timpson

Book discussed – 27 November 2018

Review by – Mae Keary

A very practical book, which describes the way that Timpson’s run their business.  It is based on 50 management secrets that form the management style of this organisation.

John claims that in writing up the detail for each of these 50 secrets, he learned more about the way the business is run so you can say the management style evolved from writing this book.  He considers it a maverick approach to management, which is called ‘Upside Down Management’.  The basis of this style of management is to delegate and to trust your workforce with the freedom to use their initiative.  He believes that management is an art and not a science, and about people not processes.  John feels that the current emphasis on best practice and governance runs the danger of stifling initiative and failing to recognise that wealth is created by entrepreneurs not administrators.  

The 50 secrets described in this book are part of a co-ordinated approach, which fits the Timpson culture and contributes to their way of working.  Thus, the emphasis is on giving business the support it needs rather than producing regulations.  His belief is that it is the people in their business who creates the success, management’s role is to give them all the support they need. 

This is a very readable book that managers of all levels can dip into for useful tips on running a business, although it is highly personalised to the way the Timpson Group is run.

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