Video Transcript

00:12 Eric Schurenberg: There are some well-known Richard Bransonisms that entrepreneurs probably have sketched on their... Or embossed on their pillows. "Screw it, let's do it". What does that mean?

00:26 Richard Branson: Well, it's a phrase that I've just used maybe far too many times [chuckle] as some of my fellow directors would think, which is basically, we'll be having a discussion about whether we should go into a new venture or not. And people would be going for all the figures and my intuition just said to me, "Well, screw it, let's do it." [chuckle] And let's not just mess around. We'll go... We'll carry on talking, we'll carry on talking forever. In the end, someone has just got to make the decision and cut through and just get on with it. And sometimes we fell flat on our faces, sometimes we succeeded. But I think having that approach is a hell of a lot more fun than just never making decisions. And I think so often, you get people who will talk and talk and talk, and never make decisions. And in the meantime, somebody else would have launched the business and succeeded.

01:31 Schurenberg: You talk a lot about a management technique that you practice called the "Walkabout" or in the US, "Managing by Walking Around." Tell me how that works?

01:40 Branson: Look, I think that in this day and age, I like to think I practiced it all my life, but I think in this day and age, it is very easy and to be out and about and not stuck behind the desk, and you're going to learn so much more. I mean if I'm on one of our airlines, I will make a point of getting out and talking to all our staff, and talking to as many of the customers as possible, and having a notebook in my back pocket, listening. And I think one of the key attributes to a good leader is listening, making sure that you write down the feedback that you get. And, very importantly, make sure you act on that feedback when you get back to base. An exceptional company is the one that gets all the little details right. And the people out on the front line, they know when things are not going right and they know when things need to be improved. And if you listen to them, you can soon improve all those nickly things, which turns an average company into an exceptional company.