Philippe Araujo

6 Things I Keep in My Mind from the Virgin Way by Richard Branson

Philippe Araujo on

1. Culture of Leadership

The main subject of the book, for Richard Branson, and probably the most important for Virgin Companies.

His point is clear: whatever the position, the role or the title, everybody in the company can be a leader and as to act like one.

All the other things that you can remember from this book start with this one: The Culture of Leadership.

Richard Branson gave us different examples from his career and Virgin Companies life, employees got promoted due to their leadership, employees can take the lead in any action they feel necessary. Through his leadership, he inspired his colleague, employees, partner with his good and bad effect. Which brings to the second point, you can get from this book.

2. Good people Good team

The success of Virgin Companies is built on the people that made the company. There is a pattern which comes back again and again in this book: the exceptional people Richard Branson hired and made a huge difference.

You should really pay attention to it when you build your company. Are those people capable to be really brilliant? Are those people are going to put in place your vision and unleash the potential of your idea? Are they gonna go beyond expectation and step up the game?
In this book, he described key players in almost each ones of his companies that changes and break/bend the rules to succeed.

3. Generosity

I think you can feel the generosity of Richard Branson for his client.

Richard Branson relentlessly wants to break the status quo and offers more.tweet this

When you think about the story of this entrepreneur that misses his plane and needed to go to California to meet investors and Virgin’s employees made it happen. You really think
“Wow, this company is amazing”.

Maybe it’s a one time thing and it never happened again. But it seems that generosity is part of their DNA.

4. Fun no matter what

From April fool’s experience and opening parties for his companies, you understand that if you are not funny and if you don’t like unusual/insane experiences or tricks, you are not working for the good person…

The way they answer to provocation, the stunt they make against their biggest competitor, fun and provocation are 2 things to respect about Richard Branson.

5. Customer excellence and experience engagement

It comes back to generosity a bit but also to something new, something original.

If Virgin feels that an industry is lacking some real good innovation in terms of customer service, they come in and step up the game. tweet this

The problem is that even through all his enumeration, you can’t really see if it’s sustainable or not.
Richard Branson always explains what they did when they enter a market. Being disruptive when you enter a market is pretty easy, but what do you do when you have to keep up and be sustainable. It demonstrates that it is good to enter last in the game, see what your competitors are doing and improve the experience.

From his tell, those companies are in a constant pursuit of engagement from their employees and customers.

6. Empower and trust your employees

As an employee working at Virgin Companies, it seems you can do whatever you want in order to satisfy your customer experience. But can you?

I mean it seems strange that anyone in the company can do anything. I don’t have a particular experience with Virgin Companies, I am in London so I take the Virgin Train for work from time to time and I didn’t notice something exceptional. The service was good… And this is why some readers will not like this book, Richard Branson lacks of humility concerning his companies…


Evaluation of the book

Easy to read: Simple

Pretty accessible, even if some piece of the book are a bit long and sometimes, it feels that Richard Branson forgot the “Virgin way” in his writing style.

Length: Pretty long

Audible 12h — 400 pages. It’s a really long book which is a autobiography of me, myself, my companies, my people and how amazing my life is and my team and my companies are… The “ME” here is Richard Branson of course ;)

Subject Matter and expertise about it: For everyone

This book is not about how Richard Branson built his companies. It is really about some common values: Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Culture and Personal development that every companies should have. You don’t need any particular expertise on this subject or on Virgin companies. On the other hand, if you read other books like that, you will not learn anything new.

Target: Entrepreneur, Leaders, Managers & Customer hero

Not everyone will want to read a book or acknowledge the book of a figure like Richard Branson. Entrepreneur, leaders, managers and customer facing people should put it in their book wish list. Even if it will not be a priority.
Be warned though, if you don’t like someone that is a bit megalomaniac, don’t read this book. Sometimes it feels that you are reading a brochure about Virgin history polished and shiny…

Final comment

If you always wondered what is behind Virgin companies, you will not know a lot more because of this book. It will give you a glimpse of Richard Branson and the Virgin way but not how to put it in place. I would give it a go as a starter book not if you have read other books like Tribal Leadership or Delivering Happiness.

Virgin Companies history shows us as an entrepreneur that it’s an advantage to arrive last on a market and be able to offer something different to your customers.

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Philippe Araujo London
Phil is one of the co-founder of ReponseIO and works on building the best product ever. Living in London, he enjoys drinking whisky & coffee, discover new places, good food and hit the gym.