“Top 10 Best Entrepreneurial Leadership Practices”, Virgin’s Richard Branson

In Entrepreneurial Leadership on January 23, 2010 at 1:40 am

Our first assignment consisted on creating ten best practices of entrepreneurial leadership as a result of our review and reflection of Virgin’s Richard Branson, based on two key resources:  “Branson’s Virgin: A coming of Age of a Counter-Cultural Enterprise” article by R. Dick and M. Kets de Vries, and Richard Branson’s “My Life” video documentary.

Individual Behavior Traits

  1. Be clear of why are you in the business and follow your passion (i.e., to make a difference and have fun while making money).
  2. Project a leadership style that inspires people’s loyalty to you and it is truthful and genuine.
  3. Self promote and take risks to advertise your companies (i.e., speed boating, balloon crossing).

Structure of the Enterprise (how people are organized)

  1. Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and recruit and organize great talent in areas where you know you are not strong (i.e., artistic judgment of Simon Draper, administrative skills of Nik Powell and later Don Cruickshank and Trevor Abbott).

Strategy (organization goals and how to achieve them)

  1. Look for opportunities where change is needed and most people would not look at the time (signing Sex Pistols, buying gay Heaven, building an airline and tackling big BA in the process, adding the rail business).
  2. Know when to make tough choices and cash in on your investment and use the money to grow even more (i.e., sale of Virgin Records to ensure the airline’s future) to avoid debt and protect your majority ownership position as much as possible.
  3. Observe, take notes and act promptly on feedback so that your businesses become the best in service.
  4. Immerse yourself in every detail in businesses where you do not have an initial knowledge; then, once they are up and running,  delegate to trusting team members, let them run with it and share your wealth with limited share ownership with them.

Culture (values of the people in the organization and the way people work together)

  1. Allow opportunities for people to grow and develop in ways not seen elsewhere in the same industry; encourage their participation in business growth and reward their contributions; listen to them and keep a familial feeling.
  2. Remain sensitive to your people and what is going on in your business (i.e., approached them and listened during flights and visits, had staff meetings when facing tough times, reviewed salary scales for those left after closings, gave home phone number to staff at airline business to give him ideas on how to improve the business).
  1. Excellent observations! These should become the core values of any entrepreneur. Keep up the good work. 🙂

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