The lowdown: The Virgin Way Summary gives insight to the leadership strategy of one of the world’s best business minds.
Richard Branson is one of the biggest names in business worldwide. He is a business magnate, author and philanthropist; and most famously, Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group
In The Virgin Way, Branson explores the secrets of leadership that have made him the success he is. Drawing on his real-life anecdotes, the book is an insight into one of the business worlds great minds.
The three key takeaways from The Virgin Way are:
- The ability to listen is the unsung secret of business success
- A fun company is a successful company
- Conventional wisdom can be the enemy of innovation
Lesson One: The ability to listen is the unsung secret of business success
When people talk of great leaders, they often talk about their speaking skills.
For example, look at some of history’s great leaders like Churchill or JFK and their speaking is mentioned.
However, Branson believes that it is their ability to listen which made them great leaders, not their ability to talk.
Branson, himself, started a lifelong habit of intently listening to others as a teenager working on his magazine.
Armed with only a dodgy tape recorded that hardly ever worked, Branson had to listen intently and take notes on what his interviewees would say.
Branson’s habit stuck with him, and it is still something he does to this day.
Lesson Two: A fun company is a successful company
Company culture is often used in a businesses about page as a part of the jargon and buzzwords, but it should be much more.
To create a great culture, it has to come down to everyone, from senior management to the new hires.
Branson has created the culture in Virgin of employees who have fun and love their jobs.
Since the early days where it was just Richard Branson and a few employees sitting on beanbags in Virgin Records’ first store, Virgin has had a culture of fun.
Sure, there are times when you need to work hard and put in extra hours (especially in the early days), but playing as hard as you work has been a common theme throughout Virgin’s successes over the years.
Lesson Three: Conventional wisdom can be the enemy of innovation
As an innovator, you probably find that the hardest part is dealing with all the naysayers and people who think you’re doing it wrong.
Well, you’re not alone. It has been faced by many over the years, and Richard Branson faced dealt with it his entire career.
When the Virgin Megastore was opening in Times Square, many didn’t think a central location like that would work. In the mid-90s, Times Square wasn’t a place where many locals went as it was often seen as a bit rough.
However, Branson stuck with his vision and the Megastore was one of the catalysts that helped turn Times Square into what it is today.
My Personal Takeaway
I am a huge fan of Richard Branson and all he has been able to do with the Virgin Group. The Virgin Way is a great book on leadership and one that I can use in parts of my business. I especially love the culture that Branson pushed throughout Virgin.
Put it into action
Enjoy your business!
Seriously, do something every day that makes you and your employees have fun at work. Celebrate with your colleagues and enjoy the ride. You’ll be more creative and more comfortable with those around you.
You should consider buying this book if…
Any business leader (or any leader at all) will get a lot from reading The Virgin Way.
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