Setting goals with Virgin Media at Southampton FC

Richard Branson wearing a Southampton FC football shirt with the Virgin Media logo on
Image from Virgin Media
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Published on 19 May 2019

It was great to drop in on a Virgin Media leadership event at Southampton FC to talk about putting people at the heart of business and setting goals. 

I have often said that the most important thing about a business is its people. When you boil it right down, a business is simply the people who work for it – nothing more, nothing less. You have to put people first every step of the way, both your employees and your customers.

It was lovely to share this message with more than 450 people from across the whole of Virgin Media. It was Lutz Schüler’s first event since he joined us as the incoming CEO (but he already looked very much at home – welcome to the team). 

Richard Branson speaking on a Virgin Media panel with the Southampton football team
Image from Virgin Media

We were interviewed on stage by Lutz’s life coach Brian Bacon. All of the Virgin Media leaders in the audience will be starting a course designed by him from July – so I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. He talked about how I was an alchemist leader, which was a term I wasn’t familiar with, but he explained how it meant I focused on my vision and made things happen.

I was asked about what my purpose mission is and what drives me. I said I didn't start Virgin to make money; instead, I wanted to make a positive difference in people’s lives. We’ve always identified areas where we can positively disrupt an industry - shaking up entrenched industries can do the world of good. I thoroughly believe that we should do everything within our power to make the world a better place for generations to come.

Richard Branson looking out at Southampton Football Club field in 2019
Image from Tania Steere

This also applies to business. Purpose-driven companies make a positive difference in the lives of their employees, their communities, and the world. It was great to hear about the work Virgin Media are doing to support those with disabilities into work, and other exciting projects in the pipeline which will give back to communities and create an even more inclusive workplace.

Having a clear sense of purpose really can lead to having a success business – and we reminisced on some of Virgin’s less-than-successful ventures. Virgin Cola is a good example of a company that failed because it wasn’t sure of what its purpose was.

We all came together at the end for a rather large team selfie.

Richard Branson takes a selfie with people at Southampton FC
Image from Virgin Media

Thanks for having me Virgin Media!