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Leadership and Change - Essay Example

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Sir Richard Branson Background Branson was born in 1950, and educated at Stowe school, where he started his entrepreneurial ideas, and was later to start Virgin as a mail order retailer in Oxford Street London (Bhide, 2000). Sir Richard Branson started his life as a middle class boy who was getting poor grades due to his dyslexia condition (Grant, 2005 & Nelson & Quick 2007)…
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Leadership and Change Essay
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Download file to see previous pages With the mail-order being a success, Branson used the money earned from this company to buy a record store and to leverage it into a chain (Branson, 2009). Over time, he has managed to add 360 acquisitions to Virgin Music Group including airlines, trains, books, healthcare, wines, comics, fitness clubs, financial services and space travel among others (Bowerman & Wart, 2011). One major reason behind the success of Virgin group of companies is Branson’s unique leadership, charisma and effective timing (Fox, 2004). These qualities have enabled him to anticipate, and manage change effectively in his business empire. Though he is remarkably reserved and shy in person (Fox, 2004), Branson has the ability to change failures to his advantage, which enables him to gain publicity (Fabrikant, 1997). This daring nature has being the motivation behind his successful empire. Implementation of change Branson’s effective implementation of change can be illustrated by Kotter’s eight steps change model. As the virgin empire started to expand in 1990s, Virgin megastores, and Virgin Records were doing well (Grant, 2005). However, Virgin Atlantic was not doing well, and it needed huge investments in order to break from being a small time operator to medium sized carrier (Branson, 2002); which is in accordance with Kotter’s model that requires establishment of a sense of contingence to affect change (Sabri, Gupta & Beitler, 2007). According to Grant (2005), Branson’s ingenious ideas to wade through these circumstances were to float the company, and raise the required expansion capital via the city and shareholders. However, immediately after this decision, it became apparent to Branson that this decision was at odds with the kinds of risks shareholders were prepared to stand (Grant, 2005). Surprisingly, in creating a guiding coalition in accordance with Kotter’s change model, Branson decided to sell Virgin records, and bought back Virgin Atlantic. It was through such strategic decisions that Virgin Atlantic has become a successful business empire today. Branson approach in his career is that of influence, and has the ability to create a common purpose among his followers; his approach is to make people achieve things that they did not know they had the ability to achieve (Daft, 2002). Therefore, Branson develops a vision and strategy to implement the specific changes, and communicates the same to his employees; these are among the steps in Kotter’s change model (Sabri, Gupta & Beitler, 2007). He establishes the change, creates the guiding principles, develops the vision and the strategies to lead to the required change, or to attain his goals. Usually, every organizational change has a range of consequences, and one of the consequences of floatation of Virgin Atlantic was change in internal environment, and an organizational culture in which employees have to thrive in (Cox, 2009). One of the remarkable cultural changes under Branson was making employees to have decentralized chains of commands, in ensuring that they are not answerable to one leader. Empowering employees for action is one of the steps in Kotter’s change model (Sabri, Gupta & Beitler, 2007). Branson in his organizational culture ensured employees were answerable to shareholders (Grant, 2005). Grant further noted that Richard Branson’s principles and approach to handling change enables transitions to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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