Most businessmen frown at Richard Branson’s transformational leadership. He’s the kind of leader who does not mind leaving his pedestal to show his rank and file employees how he wants the job done. In short, Richard leads by example. Employees look up to him not because he is the boss, but rather, because they respect the man for what he has achieved and is still achieving. By boosting his people’s morale, Richard turns mediocre employees into excellent ones.
Unpredictable—that pretty much sums up Richard Branson as a person. The same trait proved to be his best asset as a business tycoon, running not a single empire but a multitude. Companies under the Virgin Group are now roughly at 400 and counting. But what would probably top that is the amount of time and resources he still miraculously manages to give for humanitarian and philanthropic causes.
One of The Elders
He was a key figure in the organization founded by Nelson Mandela along with benevolent and esteemed personalities, such as Kofi Annan, Graca Machel, Gro Brundtland, and Jimmy Carter. The Elders is a non-governmental organization established by great world leaders to combat perennial issues of global scale.
Then there’s Virgin Unite which, as its name suggests, is a Virgin Group project that oversees humanitarian projects and campaigns Richard Branson’s mammoth of a business supports.
In 1999, the Royal family acknowledged the contributions Richard has been making not only to his country but to developing countries as well, like Africa and Nigeria. Prince Charles of Wales officially knighted him in 2000 at the Buckingham Palace.
An Easygoing Entrepreneur with Billions of Net Worth
He made running a vast company look like a piece of cake with his laidback demeanor and easy humor. But his net worth of 4.6 billion dollars leads us to re-asses if indeed Richard Branson is as lax a boss as he seems to be. He says his success all boils down to management and gut-feel. The “management” bit he can train others to have, but his gift of discernment is something that’s uniquely his. It probably was a result of tough-love upbringing. Richard was trained to be self-sufficient from the moment he could manage to be on his own. Trained to get by with little help from adults, Richard learned to trust his instincts.
His business acumen and unfaltering sense of direction made him rich. Education was not even in the equation. Dyslexia made studying a harrowing experience for him, so he did not waste his time getting a degree and instead fully dedicated his time to his businesses.
Starting a publication at the tender age of 16 afforded Richard more than enough time to learn everything he had to know about business through his countless failures. Age, education, knowledge—Richard once lacked in those department. He compensated his insufficiency with optimism and guts. If Richard set a limit for himself, he would not be able to get to where he is now.
Extreme Sports and Space Travel
Seeing how luck favors him, Richard began to do extreme sports. He holds records in crossing borders by flying and sailing. His adventures oftentimes endanger his life but surviving death makes it all worth the bother. Not that he gives life little value. Richard, in spite his daredevil reputation, is a softie. He understands suffering and does something to alleviate poverty, help people with drug addiction problems, and mediate between warring nations. Apparently, Richard has a penchant for the extreme—extremely dangerous undertakings, extremely noble projects, and extremely viable investments.
With his Virgin Galactic working on developing technology to enable space travel, we won’t be surprised to see “Virgin” somewhere in the moon. With Richard Branson at the helm of Virgin Group, we can’t expect anything less than extraordinary.