Ben Francis is the founder of UK Gym/Clothing brand GymShark - an organisation that has been valued at over £1 billion in the past few years. Ben still holds a 70% stake, making his personal net worth over £700 million. My colleague Doug watched this video a few weeks ago and wrote about how Ben has built a strong culture in his organisation, we watched the video as a team last week and were all inspired by Ben's story.
Ben has built a great business, and obviously a massive part of that is the organisation that he has built. It’s evident he has a great team around him and has created a culture that consistently drives to achieve GymSharks vision - "To be one of the world’s greatest brands". But what really interested me is what separates him as an individual from the rest, what drives him to continuously evolve as his business does the same.
The thing that really stands out is his focus on his weaknesses and areas to improve. With all that he has achieved it would be very easy to feel invincible and focus on all of his strengths - yet his primary focus is personal learning, development and becoming the best version of himself. He talks at length about this in the video, having struggled to think of his biggest strength - he equally struggled to pick his biggest weakness "because there's so many of them".
This attitude is something that we also see in high potential talent, a constant thirst for progression and self-development. When coupled with an attitude of self-reflection and understanding of weakness, this personal development becomes more effective, relevant and results in well-rounded and high potential candidates.
It’s tough to explore this area of a candidate using traditional interview questions. Try asking open questions and giving the candidate control and a platform - its normally high on their agenda.
Ben Francis is the Founder and ambitious entrepreneur behind leading UK fitness brand, Gymshark. Ben founded Gymshark when he was 19, while still a student at Aston University. In addition to his full-time commitment to his studies, Ben juggled working as a pizza delivery man to fund his Gymshark venture. In August 2020, Gymshark became the first DTC brand in the UK to achieve Unicorn status (valuation over $1 billion) with no external capital funding. Ben recently announced he is returning to the helm of the company as CEO as the brand looks to expand in the US and Asia.