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Project Management Lessons Learned from Richard Branson

Original photo by Richard Burdett.High risk means high reward, and few people know that better than Virgin Group founder and chairman Richard Branson. Thanks to Branson’s project management skills, Virgin has become a household name. The key to Branson’s success, according to an article by Sean Crafts, is his skill in the art of delegation: 

According to Branson, having a “terrific” group of managers is the key to achieving a solid company despite its diversity. His trick, it appears, is in the art of letting go. Delegate some of the work to your staff and let them take full responsibility with their jobs right at the beginning of the business or project. Branson added that this may seem counter intuitive for the majority of other entrepreneurs who are in the middle of launching a business. As a leader, you should be able to give employees enough space to lead and grow in their current jobs and encourage them to be flexible within their responsibilities. 

The theory is that leaders and managers will become more confident and will be more willing to contribute ideas to the company. Giving someone with an idea the power to carry it out will help to separate the good ideas from the ones that simply sound good. If a leader is able to manage a project successfully, he or she will be more willing to be innovative down the line. Craft also notes that Branson realizes the importance of having go-to people around you. Branson believes that having people you can depend on to manage a project without the need for constant supervision is crucial. The less time you have to spend supervising, the more time you have to direct to other areas of your organization. However, even if someone requires minimal supervision, that does not mean they do not need to participate in companywide communication. Branson, who receives hundreds of emails a day, believes it is rude as an entrepreneur to ignore emails simply because he or she may not know the sender personally. Keeping in touch with employees should be dealt with in a similar manner. If Richard Branson has time to keep in contact with his project managers while he is bungee jumping, you have time to communicate with your own project managers.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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