The paper "How Richard Branson, a Successful Leader, Has Implemented Effective Change" is an excellent example of an essay on business. Richard Branson is a legendary and iconic entrepreneur who founded the Virgin Group which has more than 400 companies all over the globe. His success is mainly the result of his leadership skills. Richard Branson is a great change agent and it is this ability of his to successfully implement changes that have resulted in the successful Virgin Brand. This paper critically evaluates how Richard Branson successfully implemented change, i.e. the introduction of entertainment onboard Virgin flights.
Before going on to analyze Richard Branson as a change agent, it is important to touch upon Kotter’s Eight Step Process of Successful Change (Kotter, 1996. Richard Branson’s change management style is very closely related to the eights step process explained by Kotter. Following are the eight steps for successful change: establish a sense of urgency, creating guiding teams, develop change vision and strategy, communicate the vision, empower employees, short term wins, consistently produce more change and create a new culture.
Now let’s evaluate Richard Branson’s change management style. Richard Branson has himself said many times that there needs “to be a sense of urgency” to accomplish anything (Jones, 2009). He believes every minute is important and tries to make the best use of it. He urges and inspires others to the same. In every project he has undertaken, there has been a sense of urgency. This explains how he has been able to build such a huge brand in such a short time. It was no different with the introduction of entertainment on Virgin Atlantic.
Richard Branson has been able to build great teams all along the way. He believes in building teams that are competent and passionate about the job on hand. When asked how he manages to get everything done in spite of owning nearly 400 companies, his reply was: “You can't be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them” (Schermerhorn, 2011).
Even though he is famous for his business instincts, he takes a lot of feedback before he finalizes a plan. His vision was simple: to entertain the customers on the airways. The main idea behind this was to make the passengers feel comfortable and relaxed. He developed his vision and a strategy on how it could be done. It was decided to have individual video screens for every seat, offer video and audio channels, etc.
It is not enough to create and develop a vision but it is even more important to communicate, more importantly, sell this vision to the employees who actually carry out the implementation. The need for the changes has to be communicated to the employees. Any change will be met with resistance if the employees do not believe the necessary for the changes. In this case, the changes were necessary to develop a niche in the market and beat the competition. Richard Branson was able to do it.
The most important leadership quality of Richard Branson that has been instrumental in his success and the many changes that he has implemented is his ability to trust and empower employees (Branson, 2010). Richard Branson believes that people are the foundation of any corporation. He is very good at igniting the ambition and passion of his employees at the same empowering their ideas to lead the way. He has developed the knack of giving responsibility to people and then stepping back to do their jobs. He has a lot of confidence in his employees and trusts them to do their job effectively.
Richard Branson has built a culture of entrepreneurship at Virgin wherein every employee is encouraged to think like an entrepreneur and own personal responsibility for their work (Branson, 2011). This has helped the implementation of many changes as the employees work as if it is their own business.