Weak Business Background is Destructive for Market


Business - Olymp, January 29, 2008


Frank Pucelik is a business consultant and trainer with a worldwide reputation, professor of international business relations at the University of Oklahoma. He is one of the developers of the school, which is called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). A man-legend, a brilliant presenter of author programs on consulting and trainings. His name is on the list of the best USA coaches, working for the Institute for Organizational Management of the American Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Pucelik provides professional consulting and coaching to a great number of public and commercial companies. Among them are: the Bank of America, Chevron, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wickes International, GHKOil & Gas Production, Rockwell International, Oracle, Coca-cola Company and many others around the world.

For more than eight years, Frank has been working in Russia and CIS countries as a corporate consultant, training professionals in the field psycho-technologies and businessmen.


In the early February, Mr. Pucelik will visit Samara with a series of authors' training programs: February 5-6 - «Art of work with audience»;


February 7-10 - «Leadership. Effective management of personnel» and «Professional business procedures».


Author training programs by Frank Pucelik are the major consulting products of “Pucelik Consulting Group”. As a result of many years of experience and continuous search, a unique educational cycle has formed, and above-mentioned trainings are a part of this cycle.


Frank, you have been working in the CIS market more than 10 years. You have many regular customers here. You observed their evolution. What is the direction of these changes now? What is the vector of development?


According to my observations, I can say that evolution is directed toward quality, efficiency and professionalism in business. The times when people used the old habit of suppression and aggression are left behind. This does not mean that people are not ambitious, they simply behave more professionally, work better. People have realized that they do not know everything, conceded that they need help, and began to learn. Many Russian companies started sending their people to trainings, even to foreign companies; began to invite consultants, to do everything to become effective. In recent years, there is a real breakthrough in the field of professional development of Russian business, particularly with regard to large cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg,Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod. In other regions these changes also take place, but they are less obvious, there this process is slower.


What skills of Russian managers still need development? Is there ignorance of the foundations of marketing, weak financial training or archaic approach to managing people?


This may sound funny, but Russians possess excellent knowledge not only in the areas you listed. The only thing they lack - the knowledge of basic, fundamental procedures of business. Few people talk about it, but it's true. How to write a business plan, how to hold a meeting, how to control the behavior of subordinates, how to solve conflicts within the company? In western companies, no one considers it necessary to mention such trifles, because giving an application to any position, a person already knows all the requirements.


In the West, this is common truth, a due learned while growing up. They are not interested in the bases, they come to Russia and talk about things that are interesting for them - marketing, merchandising, ISO system, and so on. About new complex and advanced systems. People in the West do not learn basic skills when they are 50 years old. And here the situation is different, but unfortunately very few people understand it. In my point of view, the lack of strong foundations is the most devastating for the market. In Russia foundations of a closed market still operate. You cannot build a successful company if you follow the old principles.


What is the reason for ignorance of fundamentals?


Two worlds have collided here - open and closed markets, or competitive and controlled markets. These two worlds do not understand each other, they are working together, trying to help each other, but neither side has made efforts to explore another. Western open market has much to learn from Russia. To be honest, the Western world can learn much more from Russia than Russiafrom the West.


For example?


The first and most important - in Russia higher education is considered an incredible value, as well as being an expert in a certain area. This is a matter of respect from others, as well as experience. In America, this is unfortunately not the case. Secondly, you have a very rich culture. Perhaps this answer is banal, and yet it is true. I particularly admire the interpersonal relationships among family members and friends. You help without asking something instead. In America it is no longer usual. People have become so self-sufficient that everyone is by oneself. It is your problem – you solve it.


What Western approaches, in your point of view, are most suitable for Russia? Is it necessary to adapt them?


You know, I do not perceive theories as separate self-sustaining tools. I think about the practice of successful business in general, I try to analyze both western and eastern experience. In recent years, the principles of competitive market are spreading around the world incredibly fast; almost all traditionally closed markets are becoming open. Cuba, China, Vietnam ... China today is a fast growing market, where competition is just fantastic. Therefore, I see this question differently: What competitive practice exactly I consider more appropriate here.


In my opinion, we need to go back to basics. There is still no place for sophisticated, complex, luxurious systems in the Russian market, is still too early, they will not be effective here. It is worth starting from leadership fundamental principles and professional procedures and continue with motivation and communication skills. The third step is accounting systems, marketing strategies, information systems, quality control ... But without the foundations, everything else is a waste of time.


Frank Pucelik defines five components of success in managing any business; at his seminars, he gives specific tools and recommendations on the following areas of development of a manager or business owner: management skills, leadership, business procedures and business processes, motivation of subordinates, professional communication.


Boss is the head of business; he manages the entire system, just like head manages the entire body. Action taken by the head affects every cell of the human body. To build a system of efficient business, a manager must be able to successfully implement the following functions:


1. Setting tasks for his subordinates and monitoring results. Each second each subordinate must be occupied with a specific task. If the office-manager girl only polishes her nails and answers the phone, while the rest of the time she spends doing nothing - you throw your money to the wind. The way objectives are defined will influence on how much time your employees will have for doing nothing and whether they will have an opportunity to do so at all.


2. Top-managers must be able to handle incoming information strategically and direct it appropriately.


3. Boss is responsible for coordinating activity of the entire system; appropriate people should be in place, provided with information necessary and yielding concrete results. There are two more functions, which are often ignored by heads of small and medium business due to routine. The future of the company depends on these functions:


4. Acquiring resources means supplying the company with relevant information, practical knowledge, new projects, experts with future prospect, financial resources and everything necessary to move forward.


5. Long-term planning – everybody knows about it, but strategic development usually happens without applying any management tools, which then leads to management mistakes, and the price for any of these mistakes could be the price of the entire business.


Absolute excellence does not exist. The world of business is rapidly changing. Development never stops. There are two ways for those business owners, who have already built a business system - increasing its size several times, or obtaining a non-profitable system after a while. What we get within this non-profitable system is desperate and inefficient staff, and the system itself making money mechanically and gradually reducing the income of the owner. In fact solving a business problem is 5 times more expensive than preventing it. A minute success kills more companies than failures.


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Anton KHOKHRIN for Business63.ru