There was a nice interview in the Weekend Australian with Virgin’s CEO, Stephen Murphy. Quite honestly, I hadn’t heard of him and like everyone else I had assumed that Richard Branson was in total control of Virgin. Murhpy is a fairly conventional management accountant, so what is he doing at the helm of an entrepreneurial company like Virgin.
I turns out that Branson is known as “Dr Yes” inside Virgin and is known for his creativity and enthusism for big ideas. Branson hired Murphy because he was prepared to say no to some of Branson’s ideas. Also, having an operations specialist means that Branson is freed up to do what he is good at. As Branson says:
He leaves me to be entrepreneurial and come up with entrepreneurial ideas for the business…We are good personal friends, but one of his skills is knowing when to say ‘no’ to me
Great and innovative businesses like Virgin seem to have a tolerance for opposites. They have enthusiasts, naysayers, dreamers and doers under the same roof. But to get the most out of the diversity means an understanding and respect for the differences, like the relationship between Branson and Murphy.