This is part 2 of the 2-part series on great ideas from Richard Branson. You can read part 1 here.
If you would like to just see and go through the visual SlideShare presentation, please scroll to the end of the post!
“My family brought me up to always look for the best in other people. I love people, I love spending time with people, I love learning from people.”- Richard Branson
7. Connecting With and Inspiring Other People
“I learnt early on that if you can run one company. You can really run any company. A company is all about finding the right people and inspiring those people, drawing out the best in people.” – Richard Branson
I love this advise from Branson because many times we get caught up in achieving and completing our daily tasks and forget that a great team, organization and home are all made up of people. Take a moment to slow down and assess how you are interacting with your family and your team members at work.
Do you treat them like they are important and do you continue to inspire then and celebrate their presence in your life and your organization? In my opinion, this is a very small but often overlooked detail.
“ If you treat people well, people will come back for more. All you have in life is your reputation and it is a very small world. I actually think that the best way of becoming a successful business leader is dealing with people with fairly and well and like to think that is how we run Virgin.”- Richard Branson
It is a genuinely important idea that every individual can contribute to the quality life in some unique way. We might overlook that aspect and get caught up in the stories and the drama that is ensuing. When we approach life from the perspective that others matter and have something valuable to contribute and teach you, we naturally make connections.
There is nothing more inspiring and uplifting than inspiring others achieve their goals and attempting to bring some relief to the lives of others. Are you making an effort to truly connect with the people in your life, whether they are customers or family members?
“There’s a reason why I avoid boardrooms. I’d rather spend time with people ‘in the field,’ where eye contact, genuine conviction and trustworthiness are in full evidence.” Branson in an interview to the Forbes magazine
If you look at a day in the life of Richard Branson, you will immediately see that he is a people person and loves making connections and listening and talking to people. He is very approachable and amicable and puts people instantly at ease.
Connect, uplift and inspire the people in your work and at home.
Interact with others like they really matter and attempt to learn from others.
8. Keeping it Simple And in Focus
“When you’re first thinking through an idea, it is important not to get bogged down in complexity. Thinking simply and clearly, is hard to do.”- Richard Branson
In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Branson said:
“If something can’t be explained off the back of an envelope, it’s rubbish.”
Branson does not care for long and uninteresting presentations. Instead, he prefers short and simple pitches, the outdoors and unconventional settings.
For example, Branson once sat in a bath while Al Gore was giving a presentation on global warming. Branson says that he was enjoying a warm bath at home complete with soft lighting and was delighted when Al Gore ran him through his An Inconvenient Truth slideshow. In the relaxing setting, he was able to discuss with Gore about how a businessperson can lead the way to cleaner technology fuels and markets and begin doing business in a novel and better way.
Make your list simple and doable. Branson says that if your idea does not fit on the back of an envelope, it is rubbish. If your list or plan is so long that you need several sheets of paper, it may be time to simplify and focus on what’s really important.
I have experienced first hand in my life when I have made lists and plans. Often, when the system I am using to organize my life or the lists that I am generating are long and complex, I lose focus and begin getting bogged down by little details that do not matter as much.
This is also the philosophy behind the 20-second elevator pitch. If you cannot explain what you are doing in a few sentences and explain it in a way that others cannot understand, it is time to evaluate your message and make it simpler. Remember that excessively complex and long messages overwhelm and confuse yourself and others and are best avoided.
The most effective advertisement campaigns and ideas are also the simplest and do not lose focus of the big picture.
Keep your plans and goals simple and in ready focus.
Follow a short to-do and a 5-item list. Make a short list of 5 things to do today and complete them starting with #1. Work in chunks of time with adequate breaks in between. Keep it super simple!
9. The small details Do Matter and make up the big Picture
“Sometimes a small detail, such as more transparent pricing or a friendlier staff, gave us our edge.” – Richard Branson
In an interview with entrepreneur magazine, Richard Branson mentioned that little details do matter and can also give you an edge in your small business. The big picture is made up of many tiny details that need to be attended to.
Branson provides the example of Innocent, the British smoothie company as an example of the integration of the big picture with the small details.
The company’s big picture or grand mission is to provide healthy smoothies to everyone in a fun way and while making the planet a little better. Additionally, the company makes sure that the big picture is addressed by having the right structure, and by choosing the right team and building relationships.
In the spirit of innovation and freshness, the company also prides itself for checking even the tiniest details like the lids on their bottles. The lids list the “enjoy by” date and not the “use by” date. This is a fresh and new approach to make the experience a little better by changing a few little details.
By choosing to keep the big picture and purpose clear and taking action on the small details, Innocent has developed quite a smoothie fan following. Attending to the small details that reconnect to the big purpose is a great strategy both at home and at work.
Some of you may love big picture thinking and some of you may like detail thinking. You may have no problem grasping the entire idea in your mind. Imagine that you run across a friend in an elevator and the friend asks you: “what are your dreams and where would you like to be in the long run?”
Branson carries a notebook with him always to jot down ideas and conversations with customers and with employees. I think that this is a great idea because you may lose the details or even the idea itself if you do not capture it on paper or elsewhere.
“If you’re running an airline, restaurant, or any other company, it’s attention to detail that defines great delivery.”
Attend to the small details because it is the details that make up the big picture.
Keep a small notebook or a digital application handy to jot down the details of new ideas that you may happen to come across. I love to use the cross platform application Evernote and it is even free for most of your note taking needs.
10. The Secret to Success is Managing and Learning from Failure
“I was dyslexic. I had no understanding of school work whatsoever. I certainly would have failed IQ tests. It is one of the reasons that I left school when I was 15. If I am not interested in something, I just don’t grasp it.”-Richard Branson
In a recent article to the entrepreneur magazine titled “Richard Branson on the Secret to Success: Failure.” Branson says that the three attributes that can make a real difference to someone’s career are keeping it simple, realizing that at first you may not succeed and having fun.
“Few first ventures work out. It is how a beginning entrepreneur deals with failure that sets that person apart. In fact, failure is one of the secrets to success, since some of the best ideas arise from the ashes of a shuttered business.”
Branson adds that resilience is one of the most important attributes and the hallmark of someone who stays for the long term and does not give up at the first knock.
Branson tells the story of Dylan Jonsson who is a chef and started his own restaurant that ended up failing due to poor planning. Jonsson has since launched “A Thyme to Dine” that incorporates cooking and catering and sells 4 types of chocolate balsamic reductions. Jonsson developed the reductions while he was running his restaurant that failed to be successful.
This quality of finding a winning idea within despair and failure and developing a skill and idea that can repurposed and launched as a successful business sets apart the truly successful from those who fail and give up.
Jonsson’s sauces and drink powders have been picked up by two chains in South Africa and he is looking to begin international sales.
“I will work day and night to avoid failure, but if I can’t, I’ll pick myself up the next day. The most important thing for entrepreneurs is not to be put off by failure.”
Develop the habit of managing and learning from failure.
Focus on learning new skills and even if a venture fails, you may be able to creatively apply what you have learnt and repurpose it to create value.
BONUS TIP: ON Dreaming BIG, Taking Risks and Being Bold
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”- Richard Branson
When Branson was four or five, while on a vacation to the county of Devon in England, his Aunt Joyce bet him 10 shillings that he would not be able to learn to swim by the time that they returned.
Most of the days, the seas were rough and despite all his attempts at splashing around, he was unable to learn.
On the way back home, when he spotted a river, he asked his dad to stop the car and jumped into the river. After a bit of a struggle, some kicking and splashing and swallowing water, he soon began to swim downwards. He had won the bet and received a 10-shilling note.
In an interview to Inc magazine, Branson said:
“Unless you dream, you’re not going to achieve anything.”
After the huge success of Virgin Atlantic, Branson then dreamed of offering flights into space and Virgin Galactic will do just that. Since space travel for everyone except a very small chosen few was impossible in the past, this will be a welcome change.
Branson’s dream of offering space travel will eventually materialize even though in the beginning it will cost a lot to catch one. However, it still opens up the horizons and the space for interested travelers.
Live life like it is a daring adventure.
You need to have big dreams and then take the actions towards it to make it possible.
Now over to you. Please let me know in the comments below if this post resonated with you! I would love to hear from you!
Photo Credit: Nick J Webb via Flickr CC