Text Sarah Büchel Photo iStock
The weirdest bosses in the world.
A twelve-year-old bee rescuer, the originator of the four-day week, a castle owner and a man on the move who likes to say yes: four company bosses, four examples of how leadership isn’t always the same. Their unconventional ideas bring a breath of fresh air into the day-to-day lives of their customers and employees.
Chris Morling: generous castle owner
Who wouldn’t want to work somewhere with an in-house Star Wars cinema, a sports studio, and a meeting room that looks like an ice cave? This is exactly what Chris Morling, founder and CEO of the “Money” comparison portal, made possible when he spent three million pounds sterling on converting a castle in England into his company headquarters. This British company’s employees – almost 50 of them – receive a generous annual bonus, and free beer every Friday.
Andreas Ott: thinking outside the box
Staff at the “Büro A+O” creative agency in Aarau only work four days a week. Andreas Ott, their boss, introduced the four-day week with no loss of pay. The thinking behind this: the extra leisure time makes employees less stressed, so they don’t take sick leave as often. – and their work is more productive and more efficient as a result.
Mikaila Ulmer: young bee rescuer
Mikaila Ulmer was just nine years old when she launched her “BeeSweet Lemonade” company. Now aged twelve, this young American girl sells a home-made lemonade based on linseed and sweetened with bees’ honey, and she donates part of the proceeds to organizations dedicated to saving bees from extinction. Her lemonade is stocked by several dozen whole-food supermarkets. Every day this brings her one step closer to her ultimate objective: to save the bees, and to show people how important they are to the environment and the economy.
Richard Branson: thriving bundle of energy
Do you think of Richard Branson, billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, as a career-driven businessman in a suit and tie? Then you’re wrong. He calls himself “Dr Yes”, and with good reason: he says yes to unconventional ideas and new concepts, and he constantly expands his company with new business areas that have nothing to do with each other. You can only achieve real success, he says, if you enjoy what you do. It’s important to him to make customers and employees feel that they are listened to, which is why he visits them regularly. His attempts on various world records – some of them successful, such as when he became the oldest person to kitesurf across the English Channel – complete the picture of a supercharged businessman.