Folklore has it that Sir Richard Branson wanted to fly a large commercial plane up the London Thames as part of a stunt and everyone around the table kept saying it couldn’t be done. Noise restrictions, flight path restrictions, the fact that any pilot who did it would lose his or her license for life. His response? “Don’t tell me no, show me how.” And indeed his team did: the solution was a close-to-retirement pilot who would accept a healthy fee to do the job. I don’t know if Virgin ever went ahead with the stunt, but the point is they worked out how it could be done.
How empowering is that quote? No matter how wild the scenario, there’s always a way. In Branson’s eyes, naysayers are simply challenges to overcome.
I like to use it when I reflect on how many people told me that ESG wouldn’t work as a premium offering in a limited distribution channel that traditionally expected only commodity pricing. Here are some of the reasons I was told it wouldn’t work: