I attended a Q&A session with Richard Branson as the main attraction at the National Achievers Congress 8-9 May 2013 in Adelaide.
I came away with the conviction that I am on the right track because he confirmed my beliefs about how people tick and therefore how to get the best of people in organizations of any size.
The notes below are a summary of his personal and professional work ethos that I furiously scribbled down; get ready to pump your fist into the air and go Yes! as you read the points that you too agree with.
- Don’t go into business solely with the aim of making money-it probably will not survive the process.
- Go into business because you want to serve people or make a difference in peoples’ lives eg, you have identified a large gap in the market that’s crying out to be filled.
- Think British Airway’s monopoly and cheeky upstart Virgin Atlantic offering prisoners er I mean passengers a choice.
- Allow staff to work from home
- Encourage them to take time off
- Be flexible in working arrangements
- Job share
- In the case of Virgin Galactic it will be commercial space travel; now that’s a first in anyone’s book
- As a bonus it has opened up the potential of this business to launch satellites for other telecommunications companies (can you already hear the cash registers ringing?)
- This makes a lot of sense as your staff members are at the coalface, factory floor, frontline service desk…you know what I mean.
- Be big enough to take criticism from them. Acknowledge that you have heard them and then take the appropriate action.
- Keep your word. If you say you’ll get back to them DO so within a reasonable time frame
- An interesting aside was his comment that he did not think much of Managing Directors (he called them “weak”) who just flapped their gums. In his own words he wondered about the benefit of attending meetings where nobody took notes. The implication was that these people were not serious about the outcome of said business meeting (and the unsaid is why bother doing business with them).