Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a 4-day Leadership Gathering to Richard Branson’s home on Necker Island. With 15 others and Richard himself, we listened to professors from the Oxford University presenting their findings on climate change, shared our ideas & stories over meals, and enjoyed what the island had to offer.
When I now reflect on that experience, there are several things that I have learnt about what makes a person not just successful but also likeable. Which is a much easier way of doing / running business or even just plainly living! J
It was an absolute pleasure to see Richard interacting with one of his CEO’s. The amount of respect that he had for that person, speaking highly of her and her team. She had 100% of his backing. Here is my first point – Richard hires the best people, is not afraid of diversity, and then fully supports them & trusts them. He does his best to set them up for success.
Secondly, Richard has mastered the art of promotion. He has this sense for when the stunt is a good idea for promotion and when not. He can walk the fine line. Which possibly comes from his deep conviction of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. He never shy’s away from standing up against something that he perceives as wrong. This was very much visible through every interaction we had with him over the four days.
One of his other qualities is not taking himself too seriously and he is always ready to crack a joke or tell a story to make everyone laugh. This helps people to remember the message and also to relax. The interactions between people are then much more personable and become even playful. The people feel more secure and are likely to give it their all. Rather than worry about what the others will think if they speak up.
Last but not least, being polite and respectful goes a long way. Richard showed enormous respect to every person he came into contact with. He even personally drove a boat to pick up a spouse of one of the attendees while we were heading for lunch. There is nothing and no one beneath him. This is how he has built a good name over the past nearly 50 years.