I’ve always admired Richard Branson, the fun CEO of Virgin, whose launched over 400 companies, employing 50K people, totaling $21B in revenues. His newest venture is Virgin Galactic, soon to be offering commercial space flights to anyone that’s fit enough and can afford the $200K airfare.

I recently read an article Branson wrote on tips to start a successful business. The bullet points of his piece had me smiling at the end. So, I took his framework and added my own ingredients with the goal of helping the Generation Y leader become better at leading.

1. Listen more than you talk 

The third practice of exemplary leadership in The Leadership Challenge workshop is Challenge the Process. Leaders continuously scan the environment for innovative ways to improve. As a Gen Y leader, don’t be ashamed if you don’t have all the answers.

To generate new ideas, look no further than your circle of influence; peers, vendors, competitors, and customers.

I like the formula: speak 20% and listen 80% of the time. It’s the reason why God gave you one mouth and two ears.

When you listen more than you speak, you’ll attract handsome golden nuggets that will add value to the vision.


2. Keep it simple

Has this ever happened to you? You’re at a brainstorming session, listening to everyone’s two cents on ways to put a problem to bed. “Why is this so difficult?” you say to yourself. You have what you think is a brilliant idea, though for some reason, you keep it to yourself. “This is too simple” you say. You want to speak up, though you’re afraid everyone will laugh. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Next time speak up, regardless how simple you think your solution might be. Simple and brilliant are not mutually exclusive.


3. Take pride in your work

Leaders, regardless of your age, you’re always being watched.

The first practice of exemplary leaders in The Leadership Challenge is Model the Way.

Are you passionate about what you do? Are you taking pride in your work and going above and beyond the call of duty? Are you setting an example, and demonstrating what’s expected?

Your teams performance is a direct reflection of your own behavior. If you want a prideful team, you’ve got to demonstrate you take pride in what you do.


4. Have fun, success will follow

You’ve got to love what you do. Gen Y leaders, if you’re not having a blast, everyone sees it. Maybe you’re in the right position, and the right biz, though you’re not being authentic.

If you’re faking it, everyone can see you’re wearing a costume that doesn’t fit.

There’s a reason Leonardo DiCaprio gets huge bank to portray another character. He’s a marvelous actor. You’re not.

A Gen Y CEO client of mine was trying to “act” like his vision of a so-called leader. He was struggling because it wasn’t real.

He was walking on egg shells.

“How do you want to show up?” I asked.

“Like a drummer in a rock band with my hair and sweat flying, playing my ass off” he replied.

At that moment, he started to walk, talk, and play like his authentic bad ass self.

Now he’s having fun, and his business is experiencing traction.


5. Rip it up and start again

Leaders make mistakes. Sometimes you win and other times you fall flat on your face. When you get knocked to the ground, analyze what happened and learn from your faux pas.

As with any good spice, take  what you’ve learned and add it to the recipe to enhance the overall flavor of the next dish.

Choose a direction; worry less about perfection.

Do any of these tips stand out for you? Tell me below in the comments section.




Share This