Self-made billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson looks for three key skills in all of his CEOs: They are disruptive, they know how to have fun and they are not afraid to take risks.
In a recent blog post, Branson explains that none of these crucial traits are taught in schools.
"Children are taught to pass exams rather than understand concepts and expand their minds," writes the billionaire. This push to cram rather than understand is hugely problematic, he says. To prepare students to become the next business leaders they must be fully equipped with the "power of knowledge," which Branson says isn't happening currently.
The billionaire uses his educational background as an example. Growing up, he writes, school was not his strong suit because he suffered from dyslexia. Thankfully, his parents supported his "outlandish" ideas from a young age and even backed his decision to drop out of high school and start a magazine.
Branson goes on to say that schools are failing to teach the necessary skills that are needed in the business world because they have such rigid guidelines.
"Many children are set up to fail by a system that only cares about exam results," he writes. This poses problems for children who are dyslexic or who think outside the norm.
What the educational system fails to see, says Branson, is that those who think differently have a talent, which should be nurtured.
"I want to see education reimagined to support creative minds and alternative thinkers," he writes. "I want to see possibilities explored and children having adventures."
The serial entrepreneur has previously noted the minor role education has played in his business trajectory. In a 2017 post, the billionaire wrote that a university degree will not necessarily lead to success.
Instead, what helped him achieve success was dropping out of school and following his passion, a path that many other business leaders have followed, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.
However, Branson emphasized that he isn't saying you shouldn't pursue an education. Rather, he is "calling attention to the benefits of learning from the school of life."
In his more recent post, the billionaire doubles down on the skills that young people must learn in order to be effective leaders. "The mark of a great CEO is someone who leads by example and embodies their company's character," Branson writes.
To better prepare students for these senior level roles, we must nurture and appreciate their different strengths, he writes, and give them the confidence to positively impact the world.
"If we give children the freedom to learn by failing we will encourage a generation of entrepreneurs who can change the world and drive innovation," he writes.
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