Richard Branson took a humble record store and grew it into a multinational empire that includes space travel. How? Former Branson employee Alexis Dormandy chatted with our friends at American Express OPEN Forum about what it was like working with Branson:
[Branson thought] setting totally unrealistic expectations is the way to go. You’ve got to set them ridiculously high, especially when it comes to deadlines. If you aim for 12 weeks you might pull off 20; if you aim for 30 weeks it might take you a year. And it makes people think very rationally about how long it’ll take to complete a big project, and plan.
There’s nothing more likely to get him interested in doing something than to be told it couldn’t be done. If you were to meet with someone who said, “Oh, that can’t be done,” you’d probably say, “Okay, I won’t do it then.” Richard would say that those people wouldn’t succeed in business. If your first nature is such that if somebody says it can’t be done, and you say, “Excellent. If I can find a way of doing that, then we’ll make lots of money,” then you will succeed in an entrepreneurial environment. Someone says it can’t be done, and you just walk away and do it anyway.
Read the entire interview at OPEN Forum, this month’s Workbook sponsor.