Barefoot

I would say you can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business.

At the end of 2010, I subscribed to Chris Brogan’s 2011 Book Club. The first book that I was really excited to see and read was this one: [amazon_link id="1905264429" target="_blank" ]Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur[/amazon_link] (amazon affiliate link).

So I spent some time really diving into Richard Branson’s mind during the month of February. I asked a lot of questions, found a lot of answers, heard some great stories, and was encouraged in my business endeavors.

This book stretched my thinking a bit. When you read stories of Branson talking billions (when I often think in hundreds), starting his own airline because he grew irritated at the airline industry, and forged his own way in state-of-the-art railway construction, as well as now commercial space travel – your mind can’t help but be stretched.

Richard Branson made it very clear that “business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives, or it’s simply not worth doing.”

A CEO’S MINDSET

To sit and soak in a mega-CEO’s mentalities and mindset is priceless (technorati: KAGJRNDJZWZM). A mind shaking lesson I was able to learn during this immersion into Branson’s world was how he deals with employees. Rather than the typical business world mentality of hire and fire, Branson exudes a calming, fatherly and family approach:

A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

In other words, “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” Rather than firing someone over a mistake, communicate the expectations, admonish, then encourage and set the employee back on the right track. This approach increases company loyalty, decreases staff turnover, and it creates a culture of love, respect, and looking out for everyone’s best interests.

Don’t treat people like naughty school children. It is important not to hammer people who make mistakes, provided they were made with honest intent.

 

Richard Branson’s book Business Stripped Bare is a really uplifting and motivating read. With my ventures in Africa, it is really inspiring for me to see someone go before me in some regards. In fact, Branson summed up what I was feeling while reading his book. He said, “Sometimes it’s better to follow a pioneer than to be a pioneer.”

Even though Branson deals in billions with global business, the challenges are still real and there every day. But to quote the words of Sir Robert Frost, when in hard times – struggling to breakthrough in your business:

“The best way out is always through.”

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