пятница, 5 августа 2011 г.

An article by Pierre Casse: "Logic or Intuition: What Works for Russia"

Here is the translation of the article by Pierre Casse, SKOLKOVO Leadership Professor, published on Slon.ru. The original text in Russian is available here.

Logic or Intuition: What Works for Russia
Why Russian managers should better rely on their instincts and sociability than on MBA degrees

It is said that those are lucky who have good intuition. They feel the storm approaching when others open their sun umbrellas. They can read between the lines and can see the whole picture when others perceive just the first sketch. They can find the best way out when the situation is just in its starting point.

It was for a long time that good intuition was the main success factor for Russia. It was not at once that market economy was built here; business environment was shaped by lobbyists’ groups, local “big wheels” and political landscape. For creating a strategy facts were meaningless, their analysis and any estimations – worthless – because what was right today could become wrong tomorrow. Many successful leaders got used to spontaneous decision making, relying on their god feeling and emotions rather than on rational reasoning. It can be often seen even now: a boss gathers his staff members, asks for advice and evidences and then – chooses the decision that is the closest one to their own thoughts. In other words, they are just seeking for confirmation of their own rightness.

 That is why Russian crisis managers are so powerful. These are the people who make decisions without getting into too many explanations. We must note that among them there are a lot of successful people who made their businesses prosperous. And it is possible to follow their example – intuition is easy to develop.

For example, let’s look at the situation that involves people. The KRAB system can serve us here – it helps in developing intuition. The first stage is “K” – Key players: Define several persons that you should turn your special attention to. These are usually people holding key posts and those who play the main part in the process. These can also be the ones who hinder the success of others by constant complaints and non-productive arguments. The second stage is “R” – References: Think about the motives and drivers of those people. Actually, this list is not too long: money, business results, relationships, power, new experience, strive for conflict, or strive for happiness and success.
In combination of the first two components the people’s assumptions are born – the “A” stage. For instance, those people may think that they are doing great, or, on the contrary, that they are deeply unhappy in their work, having no support from the boss or the colleagues, and no development for their career. The assumptions’ analysis may help you predict their deeds and words, and you don’t have any other means of reading these assumptions except for your intuition. People’s assumptions bring about their Behavior – the “B” stage.

Intuitive approach to problem solving is popular in Russia. Though recently we see the new ideology arising – drive for logic. More and more managers have MBA degrees of prestigious western business schools or have solid consulting experience. Their decisions are diagnoses based solely on logic. And they are absolutely right in theory; but in practice skipping the employees’ interests may bring them into damp. Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE, was a recent guest at SKOLKOVO campus, and in his talk to the students and clients of the school he said that he spends nearly a half of his working time for people – holding interviews and lectures. When people see that they are highly valued and cared about – they tend to reciprocate. Maybe that is why very sociable Russian managers are more competitive than their colleagues with MBA degrees and outstanding talents in logic – for today’s rapidly changing world.

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