Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group visited South Korea for the first time to give a special lecture at the 11th World Knowledge Forum on October 12th.
He began his lecture by sharing his knowledge about some of the Korean history with the audience.
“I believe that in the 13th century, Korean scholars succeeded in developing the first movable type that allowed books to get printed, 70 years before Gutenberg revolutionized printing in the West. King Sejong’s creation of Korean alphabets in the 15th century gave opportunities to ordinary people to share knowledge and ideas more easily. Koreans have constantly pursued knowledge throughout history. And now we are all aware of Korea’s rapid growth,” Branson said.
Branson didn’t want to be stuck to the conventional way of delivering lectures. Rather than explaining about theories from textbooks, he vividly enumerated and described his personal experiences. The keyword of his lecture was entrepreneurship.
“Virgin Group makes differences. We have never followed business models produced by marketing and financial gurus,” Branson underlined.
“We always rewrite our own rules in spite of criticism from business experts like ‘going nuts’ or ‘unimpressed’. This is the time that we need to be entrepreneurial,” he asserted.
Most business leaders curtail workforce, cut wages and give up investing in times of economic crises. Branson raised his voice against those cuts, calling for courage and more investments.
“We need life, adventure and courage when there are uncertainties. We have to look for investment opportunities wisely and discover new businesses. That will make you leaders,” Branson said.
Many would be eager to know about Branson’s secret to success.
“Getting the right people is absolutely critical. The most powerful competitive edge is to make your employees feel it is their company,” Branson said. He underscored that employees should be proud of finding new businesses.
He put an emphasis on the importance of people, because he believes that employees’ satisfaction will directly affect the quality of customer services. According to him, a source of competitiveness is employees having fun and working in a pleasant environment.