Yesterday I travelled on a Virgin Train from Birmingham to Newcastle return – a total of 7 hours on two Virgin Trains.
Having just read the book I thought to myself …here is a chance for me to do some live research.
I went along to the Virgin train shop to get a coffee and decided to have a chat with the young man (probably late 20’s) behind the counter.
I decided to be ‘devils advocate’ and therefore lied as I said:
"I’ve just finished reading Richard Branson latest book ‘Screw it Lets’ Do It’ …. And in the book he writes about how ‘in touch’ he likes to be with front line staff in the Virgin empire but I’m a bit cynical about all that crap"
I was lying because I believe Richard Branson is genuine …. I awaited with a keen interest this guy’s response.
This was his reply…
"Richard Branson is very approachable and yes we see him quite a lot. He always talks to us and he listens. I like him and in fact he is far more approachable than our middle mangers."
WOW!!! – AMEN AGAIN!!
This was wonderful for me to hear.
Middle managers in organisations are often the key people. In my experience those middle managers who like to ‘control’ are nowhere near as effective as those middle managers who trust the front line staff just to get on with it.
Really interesting to hear from a random front liner that world icon Richard Branson is more approachable than their immediate supervisor … what a powerful learning point for me yet again that underlines my thoughts about Branson having the right leadership style – GET ALONGSIDE FRONT LINERS AND TRUST THEM COMPLETELY.