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10 Reasons Why Richard Branson Is So Successful

10 Reasons Why Richard Branson Is So Successful

It may come as a surprise, but Richard Branson wasn’t always the over-achieving entrepreneur that he is today. Sure, he was in business by the age of 20, but he was also a high school drop out who was under investigation for tax evasion and looked like an unwashed hippie. He did however manage to turn his life around and is now the head of a multi-billion dollar empire who has his sites set on space. So what makes Sir Richard so special, and how did he achieve so much success in a single lifetime?

Photo Credit: www.australianretail.com.au

    Photo Credit: www.australianretail.com.au

    1. He has fun

    Mr. Branson recognizes that you won’t be truly successful unless you enjoy what you’re doing and allow time for fun. He himself has stated that when he no longer enjoys a project, it’s time to move on from it.

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    2. He’s visible

    And no, I’m not just referring to the flight attendant uniform incident.

    What good is a leader who is stuck behind a desk? You can’t very well lead from an office can you? Sir Richard literally makes it his business to get out and about to visit his employees, as well as his customers. He has mentioned in interviews that when he is on one of his flights, he will go and meet his crew and passengers with a notebook in hand. He states that this way he can both hear and record their ideas. Despite being as busy and important as he is, he takes their names and email addresses and makes a point of responding to them by the next day.

    His philosophy is to run large businesses in the same way as a small one‒by being responsive and friendly. This is a successful philosophy to have, because both his staff and customers are left feeling appreciated he himself is humanized. Happy people equals loyalty, hard work and ultimately profit. This is impossible to achieve if your only contact with your employees is through the occasional company newsletter and a Christmas card that has obviously been signed by your secretary.

    3. He’s an amazing leader

    This follows on from the previous point. He’s a good leader because he’s present and takes the time to listen. How can you lead if you don’t have any real idea of what’s going on in your company. And by that I don’t mean the head office where people leave early on a Friday but then demand the retail stores cut staffing and work overtime for free. Branson gets off his ass and makes sure he knows exactly how his businesses are being run on each and every level. This is what makes him a good leader. He ensures that he has genuine knowledge and that his staff members are allowed input.

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    4. He creates things that stand out

    Sir Richard recognizes that in the modern world, it is notoriously difficult for a company to survive unless it stands out in some way. In fact, you have to be radically different. Take Virgin Atlantic for example. They’re known for their outstanding customer service. Branson made this a priority aboard his planes because he was sick of subpar service on other airlines. The fact that his flight attendants are also renowned for being particularly attractive is a subject for another article.

    In addition, Virgin Atlantic were also the first company to offer premium economy, in-seat entertainment, onboard beauty therapists and drive through check in.

    5. He has perseverance

    Despite being such a success today, things didn’t always look so rosie for Richard Branson. For starters, he suffers from dyslexia, which made both reading and learning certain things incredibly difficult. Although this still effects him today, he has never let it hold him back.

    Furthermore, he experienced a myriad of problems at the beginning of his career. Some of these included cash-flow problems, tax issues, law violation and even a night in jail. Instead of giving up, he chose to learn from his mistakes and use them to guide him later in life. It also inspired him to educate himself in certain areas of business so he could persevere and succeed.

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    6. He breaks the rules

    Richard Branson hasn’t been successful by following along with what everyone else does. He breaks the rules and takes risks, albeit calculated ones. After his early career troubles, he learned that innovation was the key to success, but that some confines were necessary. As such, he uses his past mistakes and intuition to guide him and engages in trial and error when it comes to new ventures. Perhaps the greatest lesson that he learned was that failures can lead to great ideas.

    7. He says “yes”

    Branson has never been afraid to say “yes” to new concepts, ideas and pursuits. This is why The Virgin Group is now an empire made of over 200 diverse companies. He hasn’t simply stuck to one area; he has branched out. He’s always ready to learn and try something new.

    8. He respects his staff

    As previously discussed, Branson shows his staff respect and takes the time to meet and listen to them. This in turn makes his employees both proud of and loyal to their company and boss. This is imperative, because the best ambassadors for a brand or company are those who work for it, and Sir Richard has recognized that this will ultimately help make them successful.

    9. He gives back

    Any successful person who is at all decent knows that it’s their social responsibility to help those in need and do some good for the world. For those who believe in karma, this makes a fair amount of sense. From a pragmatic viewpoint, it also shows that you’re caring and not a greedy, money grubbing pig. This kind of positive publicity is good for profits, as well as the people you’re aiding.

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    Despite his relatively humble beginnings, Branson began giving back to the community at the age of 17. He did this by starting his own charity and he has pledged money to countless others since. He is known particularly for his educational work in Africa, as well as pledging three billion dollars over the next decade to go towards reducing global warming.

    10. He dreams big

    Branson started with a local newspaper and has built eight separate billion dollar companies, but he’s not stopping there. Next on his agenda is conquering both the ocean and space. Move over, Kirk and Nemo.

    Virgin Galactic is being planned for suborbital space, whereas Virgin Oceanic will be used to explore the lowest trenches of the deep and probably discover R’lyeh. Tell Cthulhu I said “Ia ia.”

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    Tegan Jones

    Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on July 17, 2019

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    What happens in our heads when we set goals?

    Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

    Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

    According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

    Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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    Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

    Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

    The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

    Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

    So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

    Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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    One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

    Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

    Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

    The Neurology of Ownership

    Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

    In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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    But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

    This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

    Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

    The Upshot for Goal-Setters

    So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

    On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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    It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

    On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

    But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

    Reference

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