Tame the Raging Rhinoceros

“Screw it. Let’s just do it.”

What if I told you that these simple words were the way to avoid getting fired upon by intergalactic warships or being smooshed by a raging rhinoceros? (see last missive)

Well, a raging rhinoceros was recently let loose on Necker Island in the form of Hurricane Maria. The response to it was just that, and it came from Richard Branson, who lives on the island. “Screw it, let’s do it” is the motto that drives him through all the vagaries and unknowns of business as well.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a week with Branson on Necker and marveled at its beauty. The meticulously crafted buildings fit right in as though grown in place. As I wandered the paths through the lush vegetation, each turn uncovered one surprise after another. Over there a flock of raucous pink flamingoes. Around the next curve, a suddenly exposed view across the water to a neighboring island, and everywhere various lizards and other small critters popping out here and there to see who was passing by.

And now, it’s all devastated.

But Branson overcomes the warship. He tames the rhinoceros.

Upon emerging from shelter he immediately began working on relief efforts not only for the British Virgin Islands but for the entire Caribbean area that was heavily damaged or destroyed. While others were still thinking about what to do, he had marshaled a collection of people and organizations from around the world to join together and immediately begin the efforts to recover from the disaster.

Without pausing, he announced that Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, and Virgin Limited Edition would work with local organizations to aid those in desperate need of help.

Successful leaders like Branson are always ready to deal with the unknown. Their “just do it” attitude springs from confidence in themselves and in their teams. They lead organizations peopled with those who are able to deal with whatever drops in on them. People with skill and knowledge always thinking about the unthinkable. People who react quickly. People who are ready to race forward rather than complacently lag behind, oblivious to what the future may bring and unprepared for unthinkable disasters.

At the recent Synergy Global Forum, Branson laid out his thoughts on what makes a great leader: “If they are great motivators of people; if they’re always looking for the best in their staff; if they’re praising not criticizing; and if they create products that people who work for them feel really proud of. If the leaders are people who listen and don’t always want to hear their own voice; if they get ideas from their employees and write them down. It sounds simple but make sure your people are really happy.”

A fearless leader, a knowledgeable, equally fearless and happy team? Screw it, just do it.




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