What can we learn from Richard Branson? Sarah Leembruggen shares what she has learned from an icon

25 Jan 2018

We all have some Richard Branson in us – these 5 of his business mantras really resonate with me.

1. Say yes!

OK, I nabbed this one off Richard. It’s a really good one though. There are plenty of times when it’s easy to say yes, but how about the times when saying yes will take you out of your comfort zone? I for one have definitely ‘bottled out’ on a number of occasions, purely because I felt too uncomfortable saying yes – only to be left wondering what would the outcome have been had I gone for it. Running a business doesn’t often leave me with a choice – there are many times when I have to bite the bullet, step way out of my comfort zone and paste a smile on my face that says, ‘It’s all fine – really, it is.’ I’ve come to understand that being in business is one long rollercoaster ride, so just scream hysterically (inside of course, smile firmly in place at all times) and enjoy the ride.

2. Look for a challenge

Even at our lowest point, I have never stopped seeking out the next challenge – whether it’s a training course, talking to mentors who will help me put things in perspective and give me that all-important push or simply giving something new a go. I have pursued more challenges than I can count, and not all of them have been successful, but the real value is simply in the striving.

3. Learn

Never, ever stop learning! After years of hard work that have culminated in a successful ascent of the career ladder, you may unwittingly fall into ‘cruise control’. However this is not the behaviour of the best entrepreneurs in the world. They all understand that they have to continuously learn to be successful. I know that there are always new skills for me to grasp and techniques to adopt. I try to regularly ask myself the question: How can I be better? Try it! You are the best tool you have got. When was the last time you went along to a seminar or event out of interest rather than being told to go? Are you reading a little every day from a variety of different books or is your head stuck in the FT, looking at the same columns? Knowledge isn’t power unless you put it into action. Get active and broaden your learning!

4. Be optimistic

Anyone who knows me will probably say that I am an optimist through and through. I stand by the belief that success is inevitable. Even when the market has been appalling and the company has been on its knees, I have always known things will turn out to be ok. There are no ups without the downs, no highs without the hard knocks. It may have taken me a while to realise it – 12 years of running a business to be precise – but I need to manage a process and not the people. I love building, shaping, tweaking and getting processes to be the best they can be. When things get tough, I just remind myself that we have most likely been through worse and carry on – I know it will pass, just as all blips, hiccups, and glitches do. I’m also acutely aware that my thoughts shape my reality and so I’m careful about what I think. Positive energy is one of our company values and to me, this translates as total optimism.

5. Stand out from the crowd

One of the reasons I bought The Works was because I wanted to get things right and be remembered for it. Executive search/recruitment doesn’t have the best reputation so I strove from the outset to build the business around our values, which I hope has set us apart from the businesses with the not-so-good reputations. Our focus has been and always will be on superior knowledge, taking care, quality delivery, positive energy and the utmost integrity. Now, having recently taken full ownership of the business, I have reassessed where we are at and I can still see there is room for improvement, so watch this space as there are exciting times ahead.

I’m chasing your tail, Richard!

Thank you as always for your amazing support.

The Works specialise in placing high flyers in PR and corporate communications. We have a strong track record of placing with professional services and offer career-making advice. Do get in touch if you would like our support building your team.

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