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SIR RICHARD BRANSON with
Arnold Encomendero in Lima - Peru
during the CEO SUMMIT 2013
 
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By: Dr. Arnold Encomendero Dávalos
www.arnoldencomendero.com

He did not introduce himself as a NON PLUS ULTRA of the Business leadership in the present world, or as an eternal blessed in the successful world of business; that is the way we met Richard Branson at Lima, with the simplicity of an entrepreneur who made – since he was 22 – BIG, healthy and transparent enterprise with steady job and good payment. Thanks to his greatness he organized and planned the sustainable and profitable development of more than 400 enterprises, under the direction of VIRGIN GROUP of which he was his President and CEO with honor, vision and audacity, and, at all costs, socially responsible, doing innovative business based and supported by coherent mental work that he enlightened with a remarkable experienced acquired with great faith and perseverance in the present and the future. Richard Branson is a Businessman in the full and absolute sense of the term, who, little by little made incredible businesses, doing simple things extraordinarily well. When he was asked about the advices he would give to the Youth that desire to begin their own business, or those entrepreneurs that desire to expand their businesses, despite the fact of living in a world that becomes more complex, UNCERTAIN and at the same time more connected, he is a so brilliant CEO that answered : “From our Magazine STUDENT and during the development of the enterprises of VIRGIN GROUP, we have created and applied FIVE BASIC RULES to do GOOD BUSINESS that are still valid and useful as they were in the late 60s and 70s. These are:

1. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. You have to love what you do.
2. Be innovative, create something different that stands out.
3. Your employees are valuable assets. The happy employees make Customers happy.
4. To lead while listening: To regularly obtain feedback from employees and customers.
5. To be transparent. Advertise the enterprise and its offers by using your own image, or using the image of a prominent person in front of the cameras.



But the great Business Leadership with high success level that has shown us Sir RICHARD BRANSON can not only be proved in the affordability of his innovative, viable and affordable businesses, he also thought and worried on the new generations, and has left us a range of Lessons, Rules and Advices through his books such as: HAGAMOSLO: Las claves del Éxito del fundador de VIRGIN. (LET´S DO IT: The keys to succeed of the VIRGIN Founder). He also has books in English that have not been translated yet such as: LOSING MY VIRGINITY. BUSINESS STRIPPED BARE: ADVENTURES OF GLOBAL ENTREPENEUR. SCREW IT, LET’S DO IT: LESSONS IN LIFE AND BUSINESS.
In fact, those who attended SUMMIT 2013, we have many reasons to agree and conclude that we have found in Richard Branson an inspirational source of accurate and timely decisions to define the best answers for the problems and risks that exist in the highly competitive internal and external markets, better still; answers for the implications that can derive from the global financial crisis (as time passes they are likely to happen with more probability). These simple, but significant phrases said with the sincerity of an extraordinary leader are still in our minds. To wit:

- “I have spent my life thinking and acting on HOW TO DO THINGS BETTER.”

- “Everything comes from the instinct. Every person knows that the public will choose their product.”

- “You have to use your own person to set up a business.”

- “An entrepreneur must get involved in his or her own business.”

- “It is important that the workers think and understand that they work for an enterprise that wants to make the difference.”

- “Business People should not be afraid of MAKING MISTAKES. It is important to be aware of any failure, to learn from them and correct them.

- “The Brand is the reputation. It is necessary to be sure that the public will like what we offer. We have to find out a way for not doing something that people may dislike.”

- “It is important to listen the employees. That’s what has led us to the Innovation at VIRGIN GROUP. We have succeeded at surviving because we take care of details.”

- “It is important to encourage our employees in order that they think and behave in search of greatness. The MOON is not enough. We have to go to MARS.”

- “We should not be ashamed of FAILURE. It is the best lesson a businessman or an executive has. It is something educational. We have to get rid of that and overcome the falls.”

- “The BEST ONES always survive. When the time passes, the surviving enterprises are those that offer best experiences to the Customers.”
 
These eleven master lessons that Richard Branson has left us at Lima and the world, have made focus our interest and value the priority that INNOVATION has as a strategic, technical and operative means to be competitive and awaken, in every sense; passion in the consumers. For this reason, Executives Presidents or General Managers, should not only conduct innovation processes, but provide them at all levels. In this sense, in the book of Clayton Christensen “THE DNA OF THE INNOVATOR”, it is explained that “The innovative capacity is not only a mental job; it also has to do with the acquired customs.” It means to achieve innovative businesses can be a training work to get appropriate customs.”
 
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Even more, as Clayton Christensen details “If we have in mind to create innovative business, we have to question a high amount of customs and products, myths and ways about consumption. The innovative spirit debates permanently what is already established, considering brand new solutions and choices. This process is obtained with some key questions: Why? Why not? What would happen? Answers can be simple or complex; however, here, experience plays an important role. The experimentation phase is not just to try an idea, but also to get knowledge as witness of the results. It is important to be aware of this challenge: To be original, it is necessary to practice. As Ken Robinson informs: "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with an original idea".

We have learnt and we are still learning all these concepts about efficient and effective undertaking from small business and large business thanks to SIR RICHARD BRANSON, who already has another BIG DREAM, that breaks schemes and extremes, as the distinctive characteristic of a LEADER OF LEADERS: “His enterprise VIRGIN GALACTIC, will charter a spacecraft to make commercial flights to the space. There are already many registered famous people to who want to be in this historical and amazing flight.” The price of the ticket for trips to the space is 200,000 dollars, but as Branson says, the prices will lower little by little in order to take Tourists to Mars. With Richard Branson there will be a day on which the Space will be available to everyone.Meanwhile, to face the human, social and necessary challenges that are necessary to achieve the economical and sustainable growth with social inclusion, we need that the State creates favorable conditions to create small, medium and big businesses that are viable, affordable and duly formalized in order that they create decent job positions with good payment, and act with high spirit of social responsibility. The Political, Economic and Social Agenda is complex, but it is viable to achieve the Shared Leadership. That is what we hope.