While the current thinking in business schools holds that all someone with an idea needs to succeed are focus, clarity and a good business plan, I have found that bringing together a great team that’s united by strong motivation, determination and bravery is much more important. Let’s look at how to get started.
1. Find good people.
The successes of Virgin businesses such as Active, Atlantic, Money and Mobile were all based on our assembling a great management team that had a vision, passion and a real sense of ownership.
Specifically, we look for leaders who have the ability to listen to feedback from employees and customers – this is crucial to keeping a service or product fresh and innovative. Often, when things start going wrong, you’ll notice that the staff members feel they are being ignored and good ideas are not bubbling to the top.
Leaders should have the character to make tough decisions and the passion and ability to inspire their staff and carry them through difficult times. Our best CEOs tend to be unconcerned about the size of their office or the thickness of the carpet.
2. Realize that the employees are the business.
A successful business isn’t the product or service it sells, its supply chain or its corporate culture: It is a group of people bound together by a common purpose and vision. In Virgin’s case, we fly the same planes as our competitors and our gyms offer much of the same equipment as other gyms. What separates our businesses from the competition? Our employees.