There's been some buzz recently about an image released by Richard Branson showing his 'office'.
I say office, it is in fact a shot of him and his colleagues generating ideas whilst enjoying the sun, sea and sand of his luxury, privately-owned paradise Necker Island (yes, before you think it, it is alright for some).
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Known for his unconventional approach to business, Branson commented alongside the photo that "(he) never liked locking (himself) away in a separate office, or spending long periods alone to work out plans".
Now it's all well and good for Richard Branson, one of the most successful business magnates of a generation to say that. For regular managers of regular businesses to sit and sip margaritas on the beach while supposedly working would be seen as crazy/lazy/stupid/irresponsible/the quickest way to the exit, right?
Wrong(ish) - there is a lot that can be learnt from the way Branson thinks about work-spaces and practices that can be applied to 'normal' business. No, I'm not suggesting you come in tomorrow in your favourite Hawaiian shirt, surfboard under-arm and start barbecuing prawns during your board meeting.
What I am saying is that acting upon the concepts behind the photo can actually go some way toward helping you improve the way you think about and, most importantly, do business.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of those concepts:
(Prefer Apple to Virgin? Why not take a look at Steve Jobs' Management style).
Don't Go it Alone
You'd be forgiven for thinking that really successful people tend to be strong-willed, make judgement calls on their own and never ask for help.
The truth is, the most successful people actually ask for help all the time. Branson is smart enough to know that he doesn't know everything.
Having the right people around him (who from the photo, appear positive and fun) is half the battle when it comes to the tough decisions.
Choose your team, friends and anyone who will have a significant impact on your choices, wisely. It can make the tough decisions that little bit easier.
Richard says relax: "Work doesn't always have to mean timed meetings and official processes".
Processes can often motivate and make work simpler and more efficient. They can also stifle creativity.
There's a time and a place for 'hard' work, structure and methods but sometimes you just have to slow down and step back.
The best ideas will often appear when you aren't forcing things to happen.
Instead of 'powering through' with a cup of coffee, why not put on some of your favourite chilled-out music and close your eyes for 5 minutes (if you can).
Take a walk on your lunch break, lay back in your chair, meditate -whatever calms you down and doesn't distract others.
You'd be surprised at how quickly you can refresh your mind and how well new ideas will begin to flow.
Love What You Do
Look at Branson's face in that pic - he seems as happy as anything doesn't he? You might say 'I would be too if I had his life' or something similar.
Well, get his life then.
If that's really what you think would make you happy, rather than just 'making do', strive for it - do everything in your power to achieve it.
You should love what you do because you will spend most of your life doing it. It might sound like a horrible cliche, but so few people actually put it into action, preferring instead to moan about their current situation.
You may think work should be hard and you'd be right to some extent. It should be hard in that it should challenge you each day.
It shouldn't be so hard that you would literally rather do anything other than be at work.
Either find a way to love what you do, or change what you do to something you love.
And always ask yourself - WWRBD (what would Richard Branson do?)
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