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Richard Branson: Listen to Everyone

Billionaire Richard Branson’s success may boil down to two things: listening to everyone, and taking notes.


Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

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You may have heard of Richard Branson. He’s the wild-haired English billionaire whose latest business venture, Virgin Galactic, offers people trips to space for $250,000.

His daughter, Holly Branson, was recently asked what the key to her father’s success was, and she said two things: 1) he listens to everyone, whether he’s talking to a CEO, the cleaner or the receptionist, and 2) he always takes notes.

The first key resonated with me because it sounded a little like the lean business model some collision repair facilities have put into place, one characteristic of which is empowering the people who actually do the day-to-day work on the production floor to suggest ways they can do their jobs more efficiently. Have you ever actually asked your technicians for ideas on how to make your production smoother? And not just asked, but listened? I think some top executives feel like they got to where they are because they know it all and made all the right decisions, so why would they trust anyone else to offer advice on how to make the business better?


Holly’s comments also got me thinking of Mark Clark’s column in the December 2018 issue of BodyShop Business titled, “Help from Your Employees.” His main point was that most employees in any business are willing to help their company succeed if they’re included in the process. Do you include your employees in the process? Are your financials a closely guarded secret or do you share a dashboard with your people and offer bonuses for hitting certain profit goals?

Take it from a space pioneer/billionaire: listen to all your people, and take notes!

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