The road less travelled

Forward-thinking leaders are often looked at with confusion by others. As one famous campaign I was fortunate to be included in put it, they are labelled as the “crazy ones” or the square pegs in the round holes. 

Richard Branson smiling

I’ve always done things differently to most – whether it be leaving school at 16 or deciding to start an airline with no experience of the aviation industry.

I’ve never really had the desire to fit in and that’s served me well in business. Innovation doesn’t come from being comfortable and doing what everyone else is doing. We all have different qualities and strengths and we should use these to our advantage rather than just try to be like everybody else. Don’t waste your time trying to be normal. 

Richard Branson and Virgin Australia team

The mark of a good leader is being able to harness these different talents and empower people to be the best that they can be. As a leader it’s your job to build people up, not knock them down. If you’ve emboldened your staff they will be more productive and creative. They will feel motivated to take on the challenges of your business.

I’m really fortunate that I’ve always had my family to support my outlandish ideas. My parents nurtured my entrepreneurial spirit - even allowing me to grow Christmas trees and breed budgerigars to try and turn a profit when I was young. They always had a positive attitude to my crazy ideas and I’m so glad they didn’t try and force me to conform. 

Choosing the path less travelled usually involves taking a risk but it’s one that usually pays off if you pick yourself up time and time again and if you’ve done your homework. I have taken a very different route to success than many other people but I just did what suited me best and played to my strengths.

We all choose what direction to take in life – where do you want to end up? 

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