Finding Great People

Richard Branson

Lesson time 10:58 min

Richard describes the care needed to find great leaders. He shares strategies to gauge character, break the ice with a submission video, and toss aside the résumé for good.

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Topics include: Richard describes the care needed to find and assess great leaders for your business - and how sometimes you need to put on a disguise to see who people really are. He shares some innovative strategies to gauge character, to breaking the ice with a submission video and tossing aside the resume.


[MUSIC PLAYING] RICHARD BRANSON: Finding great leaders is quite tough. So one day, I said, screw it. I'll make a reality TV program to help. Contestants were vying for the chance to run Virgin. But before the competition officially began, I had one big surprise in store. Now, the bad news. Some of you may not realize it, but you've already faced your first test. [MUSIC PLAYING] Say, if I'm looking for people to run-- to run companies, I'm looking for people who are good with people. And that is the biggest thing I'm looking for. If you're good with people, you can-- you can find great people. You can keep great people. You can motivate those people. If I'm interviewing somebody, I would not recommend sitting on a sofa, opposite them, doing a formal interview. If you've got time, take them out to lunch. See how they treat the waitress. See how they treat other people in the restaurant. How they're interacting with people is critical. And then maybe let them go and talk to one or two other people. And then when they've left, get feedback from the people they've talked to and just see, were they the same personality? I mean, they're going to be-- they're going to put their best on for you. But will they be putting their best on for the cleaning lady or for the waitress or for the window cleaner or whatever? And that's the real test. Sara Blakely I first met when I did a reality TV program called "The Rebel Billionaire." She was one of the young contestants who flew to the UK, and she was met at the airport by this-- a very old taxi driver, who was wrinkled, well into his 80's. And she was with one or two of the other contestants who were coming over. And, you know, she wanted to help the taxi driver carry some of the heavy bags, whereas some of the other contestants just made fun of this taxi driver. - Hey, man. How many more minutes? - Not too much further. - Everything's been first class so far. - - And the taxi driver then drove them to my house in Oxford. Anyway, they all came into the kitchen. And the old taxi driver came hobbling into the kitchen and then sort of ripped off a sort of-- a mask on his face. And it was me. And I told one or two of these cheeky lads that they were on the next plane back to America for not being kind to people and not having sort of basic decency to be warm and friendly to an old man who's trying to do a job. Sara obviously stayed. And on the back of that, she became I think maybe the first or second female billionaire in America. And she's done it with smiles all the way along and has become a good friend. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you're going to be interviewing someone for a job, one fun idea I would suggest is to ask them to send a short video about themselves. In a five-minute video, you're going to see a lot of their personality. You're going to see whether they're smiling, whether they've got s...

About the Instructor

Sometimes, making it big is all about following the fun. Ask Richard Branson. The founder of the Virgin Group built a business empire by solving the problems that fascinated him, disrupting every industry he touched, and pursuing dreams that seemed impossible. The adventure took him from humble beginnings to the stars. Learn how you, too, can find ideas so good they’re scary, lean into your fear, and achieve liftoff.

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Richard Branson

Entrepreneur Richard Branson teaches you how to turn your wildest dreams into successful businesses—and have fun doing it.

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