3 leadership lessons I’ve learned from when things don’t go to plan

Every time something doesn’t go to plan, I like to use it as a learning experience, and share my feelings and findings with other entrepreneurs and business leaders.

We have had to say goodbye for a few Virgin companies over the years, but in doing so I’ve learned some vital leadership lessons. Here are three that I feel are important:

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It’s all about the journey not the destination

I’ve always loved this quote from Ann Brashares: “Being happy isn't having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it's about stringing together all the little things.” I couldn’t agree more.

When I think back over the moments that made me smile in business, it’s not the IPOs, the end of year profit, or the awards. It’s celebrating the launches, milestones and special moments with staff along the way. I’ve always been one to live for the journey not the destination.

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The glass is always half full

All entrepreneurs and business leaders have an emotional attachment to their businesses – if they don’t then they shouldn’t be in business. But despite the hardship felt when things don’t go to plan, it’s important to keep a positive attitude.

I’m an incurable optimist, and I like it that way. It’s enabled me to remain hopeful and future-focused. Attitude is everything in life and in business. Those swimming in a glass half empty are more likely to drown then those swimming in a glass half full.

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The end doesn’t always mean the end

We have had hundreds of businesses as part of the Virgin Group, but that doesn’t make things any easier when one closes down. But closing one business can be necessary to keep the rest of your organisation healthy. As an entrepreneur's brand, Virgin is always starting new businesses – and we will not stop.

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