Richard Branson, PCM & Leadership impact

I came across an interview with Richard Branson published in the American Express Open Forum. The interview is a great example of how a Promoter (PCM personality type) keeps himself motivated.

Richard Branson is a great example of a leader who fully embraces his promoter (and rebel – and more ;-)) energies and plays out their natural strengths to the fullest, which has an amazing impact on the success of his leadership.

Highlighting not labelling
I will highlight the Promoter personality type in this blog because it is so beautifully demonstrated and strong. Even if I highlight only one specific type, like everyone else, Richard Branson has the six PCM personality types in his own unique personality architecture. Highlighting one personality type is not meant to box or to label.

The details of how personality is structured and how people change throughout their lives and what determines their primary psychological need is taught in PCM seminars. In this blog, I want to keep it simple and look at the interview through a PCM lens.

Let’s focus and bottom-line the essence of the Promoter:
• Character Strengths: charming, adaptable, persuasive
• Perception: through action
• Trait: the ability to be firm and direct
• Words/language they use: Bottom line, best shot, move it forward, go for it, enough talk, go on, make it happen and a lot of action oriented verbs.
• Preferred Communication Channel: a direct channel (example: Tell me what you plan to do, Give me the report by tomorrow)
• Psychological Need: excitement, challenges, incidence

To my knowledge, Richard hasn’t been on a PCM-course, and I’m fascinated how he is in tune with himself, how he feels his primary psychological needs and satisfies these hungers. Furthermore he’s right on with calling it “the Art of Self-Motivation”.

His last sentence in the interview shows his PCM-Promoter-Phase which determines the psychological need. (excitement, incidence)
„You may wonder if such adventures are appropriate for a man my age, 60, which brings me to my last motivational rule: “Screw it, let’s do it!”

In PCM, self-management is one important leadership skill out of the whole model.
The Art of Self-Management works by taking responsibility to satisfy our own psychological needs. Our current phase determines our psychological need. (Our phase is revealed in our unique personality architecture through an online self-assessment questionnaire)

The promoter-personality type has a psychological need for excitement and challenge.
A promoter-phase person needs to cover a basic desire for a great deal of excitement in a short period of time. People with incidence hunger usually prefer structuring their own time for short periods of great intensity as opposed to a 9-to-5 schedule. It makes them feel alive! Feel the pace and the rythm as you read through the article! Feel the energy and the adrenaline when he talks about the challenges!

What are the three major impacts on his Leadership through mastering the Art of Self-Motivation?
1. A healthy relationship with Self
2. Productive relationships to others
3. Authentic leadership connected to purpose

1. A healthy Relationship with Self
As Richard “charges his battery” very well, in other words, masters the art of self-management to keep himself motivated, he has access to his full potential, to all six personality types he has in him.
He knows he needs challenges to stay motivated and pro-actively creates them.
„Come to think of it, my original inquisitiveness and desire to seek out new challenges can be seen in our Virgin Galactic space adventure. Following a busy year culminating in the inauguration of the Spaceport runway in New Mexico in October, my dream of space tourism is getting that much closer.“

Do you feel the adrenalin, the aliveness in the challenge he put himself?
This is what creates energy and aliveness. This is what psychological need satisfaction does. We are happier, have a lot of positive energy into ourselves and experience more joy in life.

Before we can be in a good relationship with others, a fundamental leadership skill is to be in good relationship with ourselves. The Art of Self-Management is key to that!

2. Productive relationship to others
Only when our own psychological needs are met in a positive way, we are able to deal effectively with others. Only when our battery is charged, we are able to be in relationship, connect with others and establish positive communication.

As our „batteries are charged“, we have access to our full potential, i.e. all six personality types in our unique personality architecture. In PCM Seminars we learn how to use „our elevator“ and use our full potential. In taking „our elevator“ to another personality type within ourselves, we are able to connect and relate more easy to our co-workers who will have their own unique personality architectures. Also…the „elevator“ only works if our batteries are charged…
“The U.K.’s recession of the late 1970s coincided with a slowdown in our record sales and a lack of hits. By that point we had created a close community at Virgin, and I wanted the people I worked with and cared about to enjoy their jobs; I was also deeply concerned about job security. Hoping to expand our way out of our financial problems, I bought two nightclubs and invested more money in our record business. Its managing director, Simon Draper, was a great talent, so I backed him to create the U.K.’s largest independent label.”

This is another indispensible leadership skill because if we don’t master the art of self-management and do not satisfy our psychological needs in a positive way, we will unconsiously look for them in a negative way. Our „elevator“ is stuck, and we drift off in the zone of miscommunication, masks and unproductive interaction. (predictable sabotaging mechanisms)

When our batteries are charged, our psychological needs are met, then we have „energy“, we are more productive and we have more joy in life. The impact on his leadership is an enormous capacity to create from others.
„What will keep me motivated in 2011? The thousands of people who work for Virgin, the many people around the world who rely on us, and the work of Virgin Unite.“

3. Authentic Leadership, connected to purpose
Once we live „on type“, embrace ourselves the way we are and have freed ourselves from social pressures and self-imposed limits to conform to what we might believe society expects from us, we live and lead from a place of authenticity. Authentic leaders follow their passion and start living a live on purpose. From this place, leadership goes beyond ego and serves a bigger purpose.
We can only experience this amazing amount of positive energy and flow if our psychological needs are met in a positive way and we practice the Art of Self-Management.
“Over the past decade, my motivation has broadened to encompass large-scale philanthropic endeavors, as the global scope of the Virgin Group’s businesses has put us in a position to help to address the great challenges humanity faces. This led to the creation of Virgin Unite, which was instrumental in establishing The Elders, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and the Carbon War Room — all exciting tools in the fight against poverty, illness and catastrophic climate change.”

What ticks for Richard Branson doesn’t necessarily tick for you….
What is important to realize is that this way of self-motivation, works for Richard. All personality types have different psychological needs. So what works for Richard, doesn’t necessarily work for you as you might have a different type of battery to charge!
You have your own unique personality architecture, your own strengths to build on and your unique psychological needs that motivate you.

Reading through a PCM-lens
I hope you will enjoy reading the interview through the PCM-lens and enjoy the power of the promoter energy.
For those of you who have already been on a PCM seminar, you will also discover the rebel energy: look for the rebel language. Feel the emotion through the language and watch for words like “fun, passionate, inspiring., love…” and the positive character traits of the rebel such as re-acting spontaneous, their creativity and playfulness.
„That sense of fun, enjoyment and purpose underpinned our expansion….“

Here is the link which leads to the article.

And I am curious, how are you charging your batteries and what is the impact on your leadership?

Nicole Heimann

In case you want to explore PCM further, and what it can do for you and your leadership, you might be interested in our open seminar in February, read more information here or you are very welcome to contact me at +41 43 888 55 01 for a personal conversation.

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4 Responses to Richard Branson, PCM & Leadership impact

  1. Nate Regier says:

    Thanks, Nicole! This analysis will be very helpful for those wanting to learn more about PCM and Promoters. I plan to link this on our website,, as a resource for Promoters. Here’s the link….

    • 5cblog says:

      Thanks, Nate! I think Sir Richard is really a great example showing how psychological need satisfaction is so vital and a fundament for continued success. And…success is the outcome, not the primary goal!

  2. Marco Fritz says:

    Hi Niki, I really enjoyed reading your article. I have always followed Richard’s career with interest and enjoyed following his ventures and activities. Now I understand my fascination. Being a promotor type myself it all becomes much clearer. Besides, it’s been a while since I was in your seminar so this refreshing did me good.
    Keep writing like this 🙂

  3. 5cblog says:

    Hi Marco!
    Thanks for your very pleasant feedback! And yes…the law of attraction rules 😉
    I just realized that it must be 7 years ago, since you had the first PCM seminar!
    If you are interested to flex your PCM-muscles again , we have a great virtual online-learning refresher tool with challenging experiential homework for PCMers!
    Just ask! Cheers, Niki

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