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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.”

    More by this author

    Tegan Jones

    Commercial editor for global publications Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker & Business Insider.

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    Published on January 16, 2019

    How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

    How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

    We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

    You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

    You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

    That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

    Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

    1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

    Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

    We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

    To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

    At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

    The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

    2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

    Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

    The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

    In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

    It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

    It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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    So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

    • Are you a great strategist?
    • Are you an effective planner?
    • Is Project Management your strength?
    • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
    • Are you the ideas person?
    • Is Implementation your strength?

    Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

    3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

    One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

    Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

    Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

    Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

    4. Take Time for Planning

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

    One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

    You can take the time to think about:

    • What’s the purpose of the project?
    • How Important is it?
    • When does it need to be delivered by?
    • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
    • What are the KPIs?
    • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
    • Who is working on this project?
    • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
    • What tolerances can I add in?
    • What are the review stages?
    • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

    Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

    5. Focus on Priorities

    Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

    Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

    One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

    1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
    2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
    3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
    4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

    James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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      The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

      If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

      If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

      6. Take Time Out

      To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

      If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

      Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

      In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

      Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

      7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

      Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

      I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

      Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

      If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

      8. Stop Multitasking

      Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

      So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

      When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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      If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

      9. Work in Blocks of Time

      To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

      I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

      Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

      Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

      Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

      Then take another 10-minute break.

      Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

      By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

      10. Get Rid of Distractions

      Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

      “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

      Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

      If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

      11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

      You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

      Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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      Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

      12. Take a Time Audit

      Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

      Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

      You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

      Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

      Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

      At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

      If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

      13. Protect Your Confidence

      It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

      When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

      Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

      When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

      Final Words

      A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

      The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

      If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

      Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

      Reference

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