I am re-posting this from my blog on jux.com where I will not be writing anymore.
Recently I have been attending great workshops and networking events; reading blog posts, articles, books; checking out workshops on Youtube and – last but not least – talking to people about my startup idea. Oh, and yes, I would have forgotten: there is also Facebook! The most evil thing ever 😉 It has never occured to me that thinking and learning is such a time consuming process 😉 Oh well, better to realize it late than never!
A couple of weeks ago I attended a very interesting series of workshops dedicated to startups. First of all, I learned about the US market entry strategies (i.e. what works and what doesn’t), then I refreshed my memory about the art of the pitch and also got to know how difficult it is for a woman to become a senior level manager in the US. I had a pleasure to meet Natasha Kurtova French who works for an American non-profit which helps non-US companies expand globally with a focus on Silicon Valley, San Francisco.
Thanks to the International Women Day, I happened to attend a bunch of other amusing workshops… Not sure why but I accidently popped into a lecture about how diets are strongly connected to our psyche. I felt like giving some advice on the healthy style myself since I lost 7.5kg half a year ago and haven’t gained since then 😉 I did enjoy a lecture about the influence the colours have on our well-being or audience though (if you’re a trainer, for instance, you should know those rules!). I think I’m going to apply some of these ingenious techniques in the near future 😉 Believe me or not, these meetings are a great opportunity for networking. Not only have I met new interesting and truly inspiring people but I have also bumped into some former colleagues and people who went to the same camp in the mountains as I did two weeks ago. How awesome is that! 🙂 Yep, I do love catching up!
In the meantime I’m reading and adoring the book I got from one of my best friends. She brought it from London so I can fully enjoy it written in the original language! I’m a huge fan of Richard Branson (but hey, not necessarily agreeing with all his ideas), would love to meet him in person one day (heard he was in Warsaw some time back, where was I during that time??). Anyway, the guy is a genious, IMHO. He built such a powerful organization, without even finishing great school. He believes that work should be fun and your employees will treat the customers the same way you will treat them. Seems logic? Yep, now tell me how many CEOs you know who truly follow that rule… That’s what I thought 😉
Incredible, how people tend to be super serious in their businesses because they think it’s required to be perceived as a professional. I agree with Branson that you should bring some fun to everything you do. People – you should enjoy what you are doing! When there is no energy, humour nor passion, how would one expect the project to be truly successful?
Obviously, sir Richard describes numerous cases when he accomplished something or failed. What I value in his book is this honesty and openness. The pieces of advice he gives could be well taken by both young entrepreneur and experienced CEO. In fact, let me share with you some of his thoughts (without any specific order):
- I agree that a strong personality is a great asset when starting u por running a business, but ‘strong’ doesn’t have to be equate to ‘aggressive’. The key skills are confidence in your ability to follow your vision, the ability to listen to others and the art of delegation.
- One of my key lessons over the years has been to surround myself with great management teams who complement me and ensure that we have the all-round skills to make our businesses succeed.
- Remember that it is impossible to run a business without taking risks. Virgin would not bet he company it is today if we had not taken risks along the way. You really do have to believe in what you are doing. Devote yourself to it 100 per cent and be prepared to take a few hits along the way. If you go into something expecting it to fail, nine times out of ten it will.
- Looking back on Virgin’s history, our ability to adapt quickly to changes has helped mitigate reverses. You must be quick to accept that something is not going well and either change tack or close the business. We run our companies lean and small with very little red tape and certainly no bureaucracy. Using our mantra ‘Screw it, let’s do it‘ we invariably make and implement decisions quickly – usually before our competitors have held fifth meeting on the same issue.
- Sir Freddie Laker once told me, ‘Richard, never forget that only a fool never changes his mind.‘ Not wanting to be foolish, I took his good advice. At Virgin, when our customers or crew tol dus they didn’t like something, we’d drop it and quickly move on to the next idea.
Have a great rest of the day!!!