Management Lessons of Richard Branson’s stewardess gig

We all read much talked about bet that British business magnate Richard Branson lost against AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes. As a result he had to act like a stewardess at one of the AirAsia flights. The story is like this: Branson lost a bet to Fernandes in Year 2010 after they wagered that their Formula One racing teams would finish ahead of each other. Now since Branson lost the bet, he had to work for a day as stewardess, serving to Tony Fernandes among others. Branson did it and with style. He cross dressed like a stewardess in red skirt and fishnet stockings on shaved legs, high heels and also wore red lip color, fake eye lashes and mascara.Richard Branson as stewardess The story didn’t end here, while serving; he made a deliberate accident and spilled the drinks over Fernandes, who later rated him as a very poor stewardess, but eventually gave him certificate of Graduation as well. Richard Branson later said:

“I am a great believer about throwing myself into life and having a bit of fun and making sure everyone has a laugh.”  A small story but with some important take away:

  • Be true to your word and honor your promise, in personal as well as in your professional life
  • Put yourself in your employees’ shoes and it will help you understand the efforts required doing it (value of each job) and appreciating every job, however small or less important it seems.
  • Humility is important for all and you should practice more of it as you keep on rising on ladder of success. (Be humble as you keep on rising on ladder of success.)
  • Don’t discard any seemingly stupid activity, think of the positive PR it can bring.

Photo courtesy: ©AFP Photo / Tony AshbyTopshots

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Kalpana Chauhan

I am social media marketer and consultant. Prior to this I have been into Management research, consulting and academics for over 10 years. I am a PhD scholar at University of Delhi. I have published research papers and management cases in the domain of social media, CRM and other Marketing topics. My research interests are in the area of social media marketing and CRM and I would be sharing my thoughts on the same here on this blog.

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