Running Head: Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Jim Nelson

April 22, 2010

some of which is believed to have changed over the years. Hofstede¶s collectivist culture analysis. and Csikzentmihalyi¶s Flow theory. Branson. Howard Gardner¶s 7 R¶s. sustainable fuels 1 development. record companies. a self-made entrepreneur. John Baptist de La Salle. a self. Branson¶s upbringing taught him the importance of independence. According to the precepts of LaSalle¶s 12 Virtues. restless. it is possible to create a framework to develop a comprehensive understanding of Branson¶s communication style and ascertain as to whether the CEO of Virgin Group has successfully maintained a work-life balance. LaSallian Virtues Effective communication is one of the most critical roles a leader should possess. courage and . wisdom. is a multi-billionaire and founder of a conglomeration of entities that include airlines. Richard Branson.made man had a difficult childhood. As described by St. Richard Branson. and space flight.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson Introduction Richard Branson¶s communication style is diverse and dynamic. the Chairman and Founder of Virgin Groups is one such charismatic leader who is often described as interesting. impartiality and resilience. confident. effective communication leader is the one who possesses some important virtues such as patience. Follows is Richard Branson¶s style of communication in the context of the LaSallian Virtues. as exemplified by his outgoing personality and easy going management principles. Some of the characteristics of Richard Branson¶s communication style from the perspective of the LaSallian virtues will be discussed in the following section. assertive. vigilance. His dynamic and charismatic stature combined with his ability to empower others enables him to communicate effectively in a nontraditional corporate culture. prudence. persuasive. Bales¶ interaction process analysis. railways. polished and occasionally aggressive. order. constancy. exactness. Although he was brought up in an average family.

care for his kids. 2005). Therefore. In addition to being a charismatic communicator. London. Branson is known to take on implacable industries that treat customers badly by providing an entertaining experience and offering better deals to the customers (Deutschman. As a result Virgin is one of the top companies for . constant motivation to employees and enthusiasm for his business makes him a vigilant person. Branson who thinks his kids are his biggest achievement in life also believes in happy well. As a result he dropped out of school at the age of 17 while working on the ³Student´ magazine business. The young entrepreneur of Britain is a very down to earth guy who knows exactly what he wants. Therefore. Richard Branson. Branson possess a business acumen combined with excellent public reputation which helps in generating a good brand image amongst the customers. he once set off on a 50-mile adventure on his bike with only some sandwiches and a bag of apples just to teach himself the importance of self endurance. Additionally. Although his business ideas are out of ordinary the fact that he currently owns more than 270 branded companies is a great achievement.motivated employees. Soon he started the mail order business calling it Virgin Records and opened a shop in Oxford. 2006). it is evident that Branson possess prudence. who was brought up to be an adventurous and self. As his empire has expanded. Branson wasn¶t able to perform well in school but was more interested in athletics. Instances such as arriving nearly naked in Times Square to kick off the joint venture of Virgin Mobile USA with Sprint PCS Group have also gained him the name maverick (Khermouch & Yang. Exactness is another LaSallian virtue that Branson possesses. 2003). Branson who has two kids possesses vigilance.reliant person was a man of great wisdom (Witherbee.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson endurance. For example. Having 2 suffered from dyslexia and poor eyesight. Branson in the past with his actions has gained himself the name publicity hound. He also taught himself to swim while his family looked on approvingly from the bank of a river.

2003). unachievable challenges while trying to rise above them also possess resilience (Broad. and resistances. Additionally. he is an effective leader with great charismatic personality. Most people have thought that his vision for Virgin breaks all the rules and is too wildly kaleidoscopic. We can analyze how Branson is successful in doing this by using Howard Gardner¶s Seven Levers that Impact the Process of Mind Change. lately he has seen to be more patient. . otherwise known as the 7 R¶s. In addition. Although Branson is a maverick. Branson who likes to challenge an established order and rather creates businesses of his choice clearly doesn¶t possess order. These 7 R¶s include reason. Amongst the LaSallian virtues. Gardner¶s 7 R¶s Richard Branson has a knack for influencing people and changing their minds to accommodate his way of thinking. Although Branson 3 was known to be restless and lacking patience in the past. redescriptions. resources and rewards. enthusiasm and determination. exactness. Due to all the characteristics he possesses. Branson is a great effective communication leader who has been able to reach the pinnacle of success with his hard work. real world events. people who work with him say that he has become less impulsive and much more thoughtful. Branson has also been very cautious to preserve what has already been gained and not blow it away (Davidson. prudence. Furthermore. the chairman and founder of Virgin Group possesses are wisdom. research. Branson whose interest in life is setting huge.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson graduates¶ employer wish lists. resonance. vigilance and resilience. Branson who makes decisions based on his own experience and biases lacks impartiality. 2002). huge enthusiasm and passion for his work. Currently. The LaSallian virtues or characteristics Sir Richard Branson.

the reasoning that Branson uses is usually quite unique. An example of this is with Virgin Atlantic Airlines. and more space. Branson¶s resources are practically unlimited. The reasoning behind Branson¶s success is that he always wants to put customers first. reason involves a logical process and lengthy analysis. 1997). he will scribble the idea on his hand so he remembers it at a later time (Sheff. Normally. This helped make and keep Virgin Atlantic extremely successful (Deutschman. On the political/personal interest side. reason and resonance go hand in hand.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson 4 The first two R¶s to analyze are reason and resonance. The next R¶s are resources and rewards. but because the ³experiences [he] had personally with businesses were dire and [he] wanted to create an experience that [he] and [his] friends could enjoy´ (Branson. As a consumer Branson saw a need for the type of airline he offered which included luxuries such as massages. Branson is extremely educated and well versed in influencing policy. when Branson has an idea. He says he does this by being a consumer himself so he can resonate with what consumers may need or want. When discussing Branson and his influence over people. Examples of this are his efforts to save the condor from extinction and his campaign to help develop alternative fuels. 2008). However. Branson is rather unique in regards to research. He then has a designated advisory team whose job is to ³capture his entrepreneurial ideas and wrestle them into some kind of corporate structure that is both attractive to investors and palatable to him´ (Barney. 2006). He states that the reason he originally went into business was not because he could make a lot of money. With billions of dollars in working capital. which are usually . However. Branson usually can think of things on the fly and has a team of people that can help him turn his ideas into reality. However. Typically. 2010). stand up bars. His unique promotional tactics. Research is the next R. Branson does not follow the typical research pattern. in normal business ventures.

gain the attention of many and are extremely effective when combined with his charismatic personality. but being the CEO of a company as diverse as Virgin is even more difficult. it seems that no matter how many resistances that Branson may face. 2003). Finally. Also. Any CEO of a company will face resistances. he has the patience and charisma to take them head on. 2008). Branson constantly uses examples from Al Gore and other environmental experts and groups to help make the development of alternative fuels a priority in our society today (Barney. In recent endeavors. With Branson entering into so many complex ventures. 2008). An example of this is when Branson began Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984. One example of this is when Branson wore a wedding dress to promote his Virgin Brides company (Betsy. Branson is an expert at presenting his products and ideas in multiple and unique ways.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson quite expensive. Branson faces resistances on several of his political and environmental views such as the prevention of global warming. One event in particular is the world¶s reliance on oil. 2008). For example. However. Real World Events is the next R. 2006). The head of American Airlines stated. . 2008). Branson faces resistances. Branson and his Virgin Group have been working on projects that would shift the world away from oil and to use more alternative renewable energies (Barney. several Virgin planes have been converted to biodiesel fuel and new Airbuses are 27% more efficient (Barney. Branson has used real world 5 events to help change minds. there will be resistances from many different circles. or used a chainsaw to saw through a British Airways airplane seat when promoting Virgin Atlantic Airways (Deutschman. Next is representational re-description. ³What does Richard Branson know about the airline business? He comes from the entertainment business´ (Barney.

Individualist cultures also stress the importance of independence.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson By evaluating leaders like Branson & Virgin Group using Gardner¶s seven R¶s. possesses many similar cultural norms to the United States. This gives each of the businesses the empowerment necessary to operate on their own. Branson never pigeonholes himself. This exposure could launch the careers and products of every day citizens. The company doesn¶t have a large corporate headquarters and has a minimum layer of management. Virgin has a strong focus on entrepreneurship. Branson views the companies as ³part of the family´ rather than part of a hierarchy. In 1984. Branson also says that he doesn¶t listen to critics. Richard Branson values uniqueness. a critic once said that ³No brand on . talented. Keeping all options and industries available for growth ensure endless possibilities in new business ventures. Hofstede¶s Cultural Dimensions The United Kingdom. and creative employees to work for Virgin. Branson believes in the need to be free from annoyances and obligations. As native of the UK. when Virgin Atlantic was launched. Richard Branson an icon of individualism and this is demonstrated in his style of communication and leadership with Virgin. The organization is always looking for the ³next big idea´. The many companies of Virgin are each independent from the other. while still capitalizing on the Virgin brand built by Branson. Virgin is giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to share their great 6 idea with the public and possibly investors. a highly individualist culture. With the launch of Pitch TV. He looks for the most dedicated. This corporate structure of keeping each of the smaller entities separate from one another allows the organization to focus on small specific product categories and industries. one can see that Richard Branson is an expert at influencing people and making his ideas thrive.

He does not like to attend meetings to make a decision. Branson is a sponge for new ideas. With other 350 companies. He likes to make decisions by himself as quickly as possible. he will make the decision within thirty seconds. along with his telephone and home address. He does not like to spend money on research and does not believe in statistical data. He often times carries a notebook in his pocket to 7 write down promising ideas. The title of his most recent book. financial services. etc. He listens to all employees and enjoys talking to . shows Branson¶s enthusiasm for exploring new opportunities. Let¶s Do It´. He sends often monthly letters to his employees in whom he provides details of Virgin¶s future plans.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson earth´ can stand for music stores. Branson is well known for dropping in on employees and writing down any comments about any of his companies in a notebook. This critic refereed to such brand diversity as ³ego´. because he does not believe in group decision making. he can build a stronger infrastructure because everyone in the company would be devoted to the excellence of the company. He believes that with open communication. He often laughs at himself and enjoys an informal atmosphere in the work place. ³Screw It. The British culture has influenced Richard Branson and his communication and leadership styles. Branson¶s individualistic style and entrepreneurial spirit has led him to explore many business lines in diverse industries. his unique individualist leadership style is quite apparent. He has given full authority to all his managers to make decisions. Branson makes any major financial decisions by himself and through his own whimsical methods. Bale¶s Interaction Process Analysis Sir Richard Branson prefers informal communication at all levels. Branson proved that critic wrong. airlines. If he likes a business proposal.

they will love their customers. he still carries a notebook with him. Branson is not a task-oriented person. Ultimately. in which he writes notes on everything from employee¶s problems to new business ideas. It is about "creating something you're really proud of. Hence. group thinking is not given preference. the actual business aspect is simply there to be mopped up at the end. something the people who work for you can be really proud of. In this way. 2008). profits and loss. He has not embraced the current Hi-Fi technology and is not a fan of using digital assistants." he argued. Virgin Records ended up being 20 different companies. money. he says employees first. he is more of maintenance type. The people who lead each of these businesses are managing directors. Branson plays the role of biased leader by having a personal stake in all his decisions. customers next. He thinks that way the employees will talk to him with an open mind and will express their feeling easily. According to the book ³Losing My Virginity´. If they are bad. Though he likes to receive ideas from his employees. Branson subdivides his companies as soon as the number of staff reaches 100.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson 8 them. business is not about "balance sheets. if employees love their jobs. He does not like to call them into a meeting to find out their problems. Because of his closed-mindedness. he approaches them in an informal way. According to Branson. they will be wholly bad. it will be wholly good.." (London Business Form. He has created a fun-working atmosphere where all people enjoy being a part of rather than simply come to office for work to earn a paycheck. . that way Virgin has created 200 millionaires over the years.. if decision is good.

He appears to relish danger and challenge as evidenced by regular attempts to fly around the world in a balloon. for Branson is overcoming insurmountable challenges. and the setbacks he experiences while trying to lead fledgling companies. and challenging projects. 2008). and being left with tons of dying. as the young. mergers. is a testament to Virgin¶s business 9 practices that are founded in the theory of flow as described by Mihalyi Csikzentmihalyi. dedicated. At times like this. Flow. Let¶s Do It´ explain the major decisions he made in considering acquisitions. airlines. and how the challenge of competition influenced his decisions to go into music. whether in business ventures. new initiatives. . dynamic. rail. but enthusiastic innovator. He writes about many mishaps he has experienced. smelly flowers. He stays within flow by chasing opportunities and by finding talented. or by combating global warming. As the CEO of a worldwide organization with entities in many industries. yacht racing. creative individuals to develop ways to improve the services the Virgin subsidiaries offer to customers and investors. relatively inexperienced. although unorthodox. or banking. or in sports adventures. One example of his initiative to innovate backfiring is the decision to sell orchids instead of roses on Valentine¶s Day in Virgin¶s airports. Virgin Group¶s communication style encourages employees to innovate and express their own opinions within the organization in order to remain in flow.´ and his book ³Screw It.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson Csikzentmihalyi¶s Flow Theory Richard Branson¶s career path. opening health clubs in South Africa. Branson¶s autobiography ³Losing my Virginity. Branson is happiest and most fulfilled when working on diverse. Branson re-establishes flow by agreeing to restore conformity. and perhaps most daringly. Branson¶s leadership communication style and the fundamental principles of the entire corporation are based on his ³Have Fun´ philosophy (Branson. starting a commercial space flight company. rescuing hostages from Iraq. fishing trips during hurricanes.

He regularly chats with patrons and passengers and is gratified to hear their opinions. an international non-governmental leadership group. or greeting the reservations calling center employees by name. Branson needs regular challenge both in business and in private adventures. By encouraging employees to be cheeky. humble. Having eschewed formal education. funding for the Elders. and approachable. Whether chatting with every 10 passenger on his flight. By remaining active. a Global Earth Challenge prize. Branson is aware that the seemingly reckless behavior of a wild. creative. Branson constantly does his own µmarket research¶ to find out whether his decisions are right rarely goes into negotiations unless he has quantified the risks and rewards. and he always is careful utilize media attention to explain the rationale of his decisions. and youthful when providing high quality services.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson In order to remain in Flow. a possible acquisition of the Royal Bank of Scotland. he inspires better performance and brand loyalty from staff and clients. However. Branson is currently pursuing Virgin Galactic commercial space flights. Branson uses regular interfacing with his employees and customers to continue searching for innovative ways to provide the ideal Virgin experience. and the continued health and profitability of Virgin Group. Branson says repeatedly that customers and employees are the most important facets of his business and that friendly and unconventional business practices are integral to the Virgin personality. the development of a comic book series based on archetypal characters in India. he is able to remain in flow by direct participation in the everyday decisions of his companies and by advocating for an . he discovered early that creating something new and innovative was rewarding and profitable. He is particularly good at finding capable leaders within his companies who stay in flow by being challenged and enjoy motivation and a fairly hands off management style. fun loving CEO is a poor public relations decision.

sports. 2003). or chatting with seat mates on transatlantic flights. often simultaneously Branson maintains a conglomeration of businesses and a healthy relationship with his family. prudence. By combining travel. Branson quotes Al Gore¶s statement about climate change being the µend of fun¶ (Branson. According to the article ³Richard Branson: What a Life´. and make the world a sustainable place to work and live. customers. He used to play cricket and soccer in his school days and still likes to watch matches. South Africa. He plays tennis every day before his day begins. and business. direct change by any means possible. He spends time with his daughter. ³I¶m always around my kids. I¶ve seen much. Branson advocates hands on. appearing on the Colbert Report. 21. stay in flow. family.´ (Morris. he says. he goes to Ulusaba. exactness. During winter holidays. Conclusion The LaSallian virtues or characteristics Sir Richard Branson. He spends two months in the summer with his family on Virgin Islands. The CEO of Virgin Group will do everything possible to ensure that he will be able to 11 continue having fun and staying in flow and wants to receive confirmation from global leaders. the chairman and founder of Virgin Group possesses are wisdom. The British culture has influenced Richard Branson and his communication and leadership styles. At the end of his book. Holly. whether by giving interviews. Branson¶s . who is a medical student. with his family and on spring break to Majorca at a hotel he used to own. much more of my family because I¶ve always worked at home. and employees alike that everyone has the right and the means to have fun. He is devoted to his family. and dream. vigilance and resilience. Work-Life Balance Branson is a CEO who achieves work life balance which is rare. 2008). As a leader by example.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson inclusive method of communication of new ideas on a global level.

travel extensively. Branson advocates hands on.Charismatic Entrepreneur Richard Branson individualistic style and entrepreneurial spirit has led him to explore many business lines in 12 diverse industries. As a leader by example. Richard Branson proves he is an effective. and engaging role model and leader for international business. By committing to a work life balance that allows him to be with his family. which exemplify British influence. and encourages everyone in his companies to actively seek out careers that will allow them to develop their own flow. profitable. . and pursue humanitarian resolutions as well as new adventures. direct change by any means possible. Branson prefers informal communication styles. and has bias a leader who chooses the direction of a new venture and then finds talented individuals to expand on that idea.

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