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Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School by Sir Richard Branson: 18 take-home messages

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“The Virgin Group is a constantly evolving aggregation of companies operating in over 30 countries, totaling more than 50,000 employees and serving millions of customers every month.”

There is a RICH in the name of Sir RICHard Branson, but being financially super rich apart, I view that he has other aspects of wealth that worth understanding & learning.


Seeing the video filmed by the London Business Forum in Westminster Central Hall reminds me on many useful talks that inspired me in UK.

Here are the take-home messages:
@~@ Branson focuses on high-quality services.
@~@ Branson praises his employees, creates a sense of fun + reward / appreciation + belongings in his company.
“A company where the staff overuse the word ‘they’ is a company with problems.”
@~@ Empower / treat your employees well and they will do the same to your customers.
@~@ Branson highlights that his employees “should never feel like hired hands but fellow entrepreneurs”

@~@ Fun is a serious business tool. I view that if your personality is not funny, do not try to be so funny; but you can get a fun-spreader as your team mate.
@~@ Focus on your strength, not limitations. Branson never lets his early dyslexia deter him.

@~@ Business is not only about $, but about creating things; this view sounds like inventors / engineers to me.
@~@ Branson carries a little notebook with him. I think carrying notebook alone is insufficient, what Branson infers is that one needs to record ideas / inspirations for action.

@~@ Branson is interested in people, spends a lot of time talking to people, listens to people (e.g. Virgin customers).
@~@ Simple & clear communication. “Try using a Twitter-like template to refine the essence of your concept into just 140 characters.”
@~@ Branson encourages discussion / debates / dialogues.
@~@ Branson & his team tests out new ideas.
@~@ Branson has a stunning personality, a reviewer wrote “charismatic irreverence”. My friend J shared with me that she admires Branson’s combination of bad & good guy personality, he seems to have a deep understanding of people.

@~@ luck; yet I view that luck favors the prepared.
@~@ “If death and taxes are the only sure-fire things in life, then the only certainty in business is that one day things will go wrong. One of your priorities has got to be emergency planning.” Plan & preparation are critical.

@~@ Branson views his entrepeneurship as a vocation, he has no plan to retire. I always encourage my team mates to pursue their passion, not only a job, a career, but a life-long pursuit of excellence.
@~@ Branson concludes that “My story is a very personal one; my strategy will not work for everyone.”
I would like to elaborate that different (sometimes opposite) strategies work for particular people, at particular timing and location. The spatiotemporal context matters.

@~@ Branson gives hope to my dream of space travel, which I believe is also the dream of many of yours. To quote Jules Verne from his Around the World in Eighty Days, “Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” I look forward to a book / movie / song entitled “Around the Space in [insert a stunning number here] Days.”

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