At the Cumbria Business Awards tonight, James Timpson told us about the weird and wonderful concepts which make the Timpson family business succeed – ideas such as “upside down management” and a ban on the use of computers in their shops. One of their best ideas, which will have struck a chord with all the employers in the auditorium, is their war on “Drongos”. A drongo is a worker who would rather not be at work and who saps the morale of everyone around them. Timpsons recruit purely on the basis of an applicant’s personality, with no account taken of qualifications or experience. They are so confident of this philosophy that they don’t hesitate to take on people coming straight from prison. If a drongo slips through the net they are ruthless in setting them free.
Timpsons have 860 branches and thousands of employees. Their policy self evidently works because they are continuing to succeed whilst their rivals – those that use computers and normal management structures, fail.
I’ve only got 120 staff and I’m not brave enough to recruit from the prisons. On the other hand, I only want people with attractive personalities to be greeting my guests. It’s time to weed out the drongos.
Postscript. I was devastated when my PA Sally (definitely not a drongo) was the runner-up in the Employee of the Year category and it was scant consolation to win the “Website of the Year” award for South Lakes Hotels.