Blog · Apr 16, 2015

Richard Branson’s Guide to High Performing Teams

Richard Branson knows more than most people about how to establish, grow and maintain a successful business. Branson understands that one of the keys to business success is finding talented people and then providing them an environment in which they can work at their very best. His Virgin Group employs over 50,000 people around the world, so he has no shortage of experience when it comes to hiring people either.

That’s why I was intrigued to see an article in Business Insider. It outlines Branson’s thoughts on what circumstances are needed for people to perform at their very best and how to create high performing teams in a business. His thoughts are particularly relevant to those of us who work in businesses that are constantly changing.

When do you work at your best?

Branson believes that it’s crucial to understand what motivates people. At Virgin he hires people based on their mindset and attitude, instead of focusing entirely on their experience and qualifications. In our Performance Principles we discuss how important it is for individuals to understand ‘what floats their boat’. A team is far more likely to achieve its goals when everyone in it is motivated to achieve them. To make that a likely outcome, it’s vital that stakeholders are given time to identify and understand what their motivators are and how they are to be addressed, when you’re setting business goals.

What do you do worst?

It may seem unusual to focus on what you do badly. However, a key part of creating and sustaining high performing teams is identifying the strengths and weaknesses of every team member and using them to your advantage. Branson focuses on finding employees who are adaptable and innovative. This is a useful skill set but some projects do require individuals who are experts in particular fields. If the wrong people are doing the wrong tasks then you’ll work inefficiently and risk not achieving some of your goals. Being able to delegate and identify when another person is better suited to a task is highly important.

How do you work best?

When we help businesses to create high performing teams one of the first things we consider is the behaviours and ways of working that will help to get the best out of that team. Richard Branson works to keep teams small to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and rivalries from building up. It’s critical that you work to identify any potential personality clashes or problems that might arise when you establish the team, to avoid the problems that they may create at a later stage.

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