Branson recounts excellent advice and experience on adventure, leadership, risk, and entrepreneurship…


Richard Branson’s Tech Essentials

The founder of the Virgin Group and author of the new book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,” on his training regimen for space travel and the enduring appeal of the BlackBerry Curve

Sept. 19, 2014 3:52 p.m. ET

SKY HIGH | Richard Branson on the 103rd floor of the Empire State Building Juliana Sohn for The Wall Street Journal

I’m still clinging to my trusty BlackBerry Curve, because of the keyboard. There aren’t many of us left. I use it for sending emails but also have an iPhone for posting Instagram pictures and browsing Twitter. The freedom that these machines give you is fantastic. I love going to Africa and watching game, but I can still be in touch…



I know I’ve discussed this subject before, and will discuss it again, but I’m a big believer in forward planning and in being thoroughly prepared. Good plans and being well prepared have brought me a number of successes, have often averted or mitigated unforeseen disasters I and my family (might) have suffered, have allowed me to save other people’s lives on a few occasions, and have saved my own life on numerous occasions.

As for your business and career, well, it goes without saying, “good planning and proper preparation is at all times essential to both productivity and prosperity.” I can say a great deal about planning, very little of it bad.

One personal weakness I have always suffered from in this regard, however, is over-planning. It took me years to come to really understand that with most things, a simple, streamlined, focused, uncomplicated plan of action is vastly superior to an exhausting, unwieldy, inflexible, overly complex plan trying to cover all contingencies. By all means plan for all reasonably foreseeable contingencies, but do not become paralyzed or enveloped by them.

Once I realized that, somewhere in my thirties, I began to change my Planning Habits. Efficiency and productivity became my Planning Watchwords. Slowly those better planning habits became ingrained in my mind and soul.

So in the past few years I’ve developed The 8 to 12 Point Plan.

Since that time almost every Plan I’ve developed has been in the 8 to 12 point format. I’ve even taken all of my older plans and revised them; whittling away the unnecessary or cumbersome steps and reducing almost all of them down to the 8 to 12 point format.

What exactly is an 8 to 12 Point Plan? Well, simply stated it is devising or reducing all of your plans down to a very basic formulation of 8 to 12 simple and easily executed steps.
I have found by experimentation that if most plans contain less than 8 steps then you are likely to leave out important information or necessary steps to fully achieve your objective. More than 12 primary steps and the plan is probably going to be so complicated and unwieldy that it will hamper success, rather than assure it.

Of course, there are exceptions. Really big projects may well require more than 12 steps; really small ones may require no more than 3 or 4 Essential Action Points. But overall, and generally speaking, the average project, objective, or serious enterprise usually requires 8 to 12 Solid Steps or Action Points to achieve rapid and successful completion.

In the near future, as part of my current Summer Offensive, I plan to write an eBook On Successful Planning which will precisely detail how to create and develop an effective and efficient Eight to Twelve Point Plan.

Until then I’ll simply say this, I highly recommend the strategy. Most problems in life are easy prey for an effective and efficient 8 to 12 Point Plan.

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