The place is damned?

    Have you probably heard a joke about AvtoVAZ and the damned place? I will not retell, there is on the Internet. Its meaning is that if the place, i.e. a company like AvtoVAZ, then no management, whatever its nationality and education, will fix anything.

    They told me about the enterprise, which, on the one hand, confirms this joke with its existence, and on the other, refutes it. No joke - 4 directors have been replaced in 6 years. There were still intervals when the owner himself led, but I will not take them into account. And it ended almost always the same way - the directors were kicked out for not being able to significantly affect performance, achieve goals, change the corporate culture, move the company off the ground. Stir up the swamp, in general.

    Let's try to figure out whether everything is so simple and unambiguous.

    Where is better to take the director

    First, a small digression. In two different sources I met the same idea about the rules for choosing a director for an enterprise.

    I will not name one source, because he belongs to, so to speak, not very revered in our midst, but I will bring his thought. Those who read will understand. The author said: one should not appoint the best, but the right one for a managerial position. With the best it’s clear - these are the most effective managers, hung with degrees and diplomas, like a dog fleas. And the correct ones, in the understanding of the author, are those who will be able to join the organization, understand its hidden motives, culture, leaders, etc. The author, however, still offers to hear the metaphysical essence of the company, but we will leave this aside.

    The second source is not at all shameful to mention - this is Jim Collins and his book "From Good to Great." He doesn’t particularly fantasize, but claims to have conducted a very serious study of the success of several world-famous companies over the 15 years of their development in order to understand how they succeeded. He deduced several patterns, but we are only interested in this material: where did the director come from. So, the director there was almost always taken from the inside. It was a man who left the company. Not always from the bottom, but always from the inside. No new managers, according to Collins, are capable of ensuring precisely long-term success, measured in years and decades, only a temporary leap that will inevitably turn into failure.

    These authors are right or not - I will not judge. You, if you want, judge. And the story that I will tell you, perhaps, will serve as one example.


    He promised to leave him aside, but probably the picture will be incomplete, so I’ll write a few words about him.

    The owner created this enterprise from scratch, and developed it for several years. Developed quickly and efficiently - the company grew every year at times.

    The first years, of course, led himself, like almost any owner. There are few employees, all processes - at arm's length, personally did a huge amount of work, especially in terms of sales.

    By the time control was transferred to the hired director, the company was already quite large, interesting, united, dynamic, with an established culture. The whole company felt a strong influence of the spirit, values, energy of the owner. This was very felt, especially by new employees.

    Then he decided that it was time to give control.


    The first director was a man whom I described with the word "man." Such a brutal, loud-voiced, with all his appearance showing that he came out of the dashing 90s.

    In general, by core competence, he was a seller. At the time of his appointment, he was either the head of the sales department or the commercial director. Of course, I sincerely believed that the main thing in any company is sales.

    Management, of course, built through the prism of sales. He did not study management, either before or during the appointment. Supervised as they say, peasant. Somewhere yelling, somewhere sip. But more often, of course, it’s yelling.

    I even remember that once on his birthday everyone came to congratulate, he came out with a speech, the main message of which was the thought: you are, sorry, if Che. Such a character, I can yell.

    Not to say that the owner built some processes before him, but if that was the case, then the man ruined everything. In addition to sales, of course.

    Need to first capitalize, and then ship? Garbage, the main thing is to quickly ship.
    Do depreciation be taken into account when calculating cost? Garbage, the main thing is the shaft and margin.
    Need to work to improve product quality? Garbage, the main thing is to sell, and then we'll figure it out. We’ll convince you, we will give gifts, we’ll chat so that they don’t make a claim.

    Well and so on. This man did not last long.

    It so happened that the owner was physically absent from the company for a long time. Whether I went to study, or just traveled - I don’t know. When he returned, he said, shocked by what the company had turned into.

    For some time, anarchy continued, almost unrest. Formally, the owner played the role of leader, but at the same time, several personalities began to be active in trying to get closer to the throne. There were three of these personalities, and management in the company, as the chief accountant aptly put it, was a three-headed hydra.

    This period, as I recall, lasted a little over a year. Finally, Cinderella was appointed director.

    Cinderella I

    Cinderella, in part, was similar to the previous director, whom I christened a "man." Firstly, she was also from sellers. I came to the company as a sales manager, with the previous director I got to the position of commercial director. Secondly, she was also a fairly simple person, especially in communication. Without kookies, show-offs and bells and whistles.

    But there was one feature that sharply distinguished her from the "man" - desire, ability and ability to learn new things.

    It should be noted that between the post of commercial director and just director, in the era of anarchy, she managed to manage the supply, and production, and warehouse. Very successful, by the way. For example, it was she who brought, or rather, brought the theory of restrictions to the company, as a key tool in solving supply problems.

    She studied a lot - and the little things, like books, seminars, trainings, etc., and big, like the MBA and the second (or third?) Higher in our village university.

    But the main thing - she was completely, from beginning to end, devoted to the company. Fully shared all the values ​​and goals of the owner, was the locomotive and the main bearer of corporate culture, delved into all issues to the level with the greatest possible detail, was ready to talk with everyone on any topic.

    In general, it was a reflection of the company, and its projection, and part, and whole, and soul, and parent. But education and energy made themselves felt.

    It would seem - sit and conquer, since everything is on the ointment. Just maintain everything as it is, portray development a little, and the golden stagnant era will come.

    But no - she began to develop the company in all areas. Not everywhere is successful, of course - for example, certification according to ISO did not make much sense. But, overall, positively. Reality responded with interest - the company again began to grow at times every year.

    Cinderella II

    And then something happened. Either the education has worked, or the awareness of himself as a really successful manager has come, but Cinderella has changed.

    Actively promoted, but meaningless changes have begun, some of which are described in Corporate Lamanch. There was little real sense from them, but a lot of energy, energy, and money was spent.

    The company began to stagnate. The indicators, of course, grew, but the farther, the slower. The growth of the company was explained by the growth of the market - just went import substitution, in which the company was actively involved.

    Previously, they looked at Cinderella as the hope and soul of the company, but now - as a tyrant (or, following the classics - a tyrant), with crazy ideas, obscure vocabulary and strange approaches.

    Then the damned place began. Whatever Cinderella did, there was no sense. The company, like a swamp, remained in place, produced the same result, and if surges did occur, it was due to the personal participation of the owner in sales.

    We tried to implement task management systems, new methods for managing top managers, a bunch of regulations and procedures, highly specialized international standards of the industry in which the company worked. All to no avail.

    The owner looked at it, looked, and decided to change everything radically. Then it seemed that the matter was in the leader. The owner called the excellent student.

    Excellent student

    The guy was a real excellent student. He successfully graduated from one of the leading Moscow universities, brilliantly defended his thesis, worked in the best companies in the country. Really the best, in your sector - you know all these companies.

    Naturally, he had an MBA, and even an EMBA. Of course, he knew English very well. Without a doubt, he studied wherever possible, including eminent foreign universities. It is clear that he had a lot of friends in the elite of Russian management. They say he was even shown on television somehow.

    The excellent student had everything except one - real experience in managing a manufacturing enterprise. He knew the whole theory, but the practice, flying hours - exactly zero. All his work experience related to the financial market, and not to the real sector of the economy.

    He began quite cheerfully. I dispersed those who blundered too loudly or questioned his competence. Established strict discipline rules for managers - like, such were adopted in his previous environment. Although, I don’t know - maybe the books say that you need to talk toughly with people.

    But, as he began, he finished. Set the rules, showed himself to everyone, and ... That's it. Has stopped. The enterprise somehow worked, by itself, as in the era of anarchy. It was growing slowly - again, due to the expansion of the market for Russian products due to sanctions. The excellent pupil began to quickly turn into a wedding general - he sits beautifully, smiles pleasantly, but to no avail.

    The excellence was not imbued with the spirit of the company at all, from the word in any way. Once, like, went to some corporate party, then threw it. Yes, no one else called. No one wanted to talk to him like Cinderella I, heart to heart.

    It would seem, well, okay - a person does not want to get wet with swamp water, this is his business. But he did not want to drain the swamp. The company’s culture was not absorbed, but it didn’t spread its culture, there was no diffusion. Existed in parallel.

    Naturally, the owner did not like all this. I came to an excellent student and said that we needed results. Set some goals.

    It was then, it would seem, to apply the knowledge that beautiful fives stand for in all diplomas. But, apparently, the five-point system does not reflect the true state of things. The main competence of the excellent student was not management, but networking.

    As I already mentioned, the excellent student had many friends among managers, consultants, and teachers. Now the whole company was familiar with them.

    Projects have begun on strategic planning, building a system of motivation, risk neutralization and the devil knows what else. They were led by people who can be seen on the central television channels. Including, sometimes - in the company of the first persons of the country. It was, of course, fun - now there is something to brag about in a friendly booze, but the sense for the company was exactly zero.

    It is zero, not some percentage. All projects, up to one, started by an excellent student, if they were completed, then did not bring any result. The participation of the excellent student was reduced to participation in meetings, nodding his head and phrases such as "do as this guy says."
    What are the budgets of such projects - you can imagine. Of course, this could not continue for a long time. They drove the excellent pupil, unfinished projects were frozen, the completed ones were thrown out.

    As a result of his reign, corporate culture has deteriorated somewhat. He drove out people who claimed to be the soul of the team - for example, HR directors. The people whom he brought far from all took root. An excellent student brought a feeling of apathy to the company.

    Yes, Cinderella II did a lot of crap. But be that as it may, she remained her own, intimate, at least in the memoirs of the old-timers. One could talk to her, albeit not as sincerely as before. But how, what to talk about with Muscovites in expensive suits, whose work day costs the company more than your year?

    Well, everyone openly didn’t give a damn about everything. New motivation system? Pf, sorry or something. A strategic session with one of the best moderators in the country? For God's sake, we’ll eat the buters. Risk workshop? In the best hotel of our village? How, I remember, such lunches are tasty there, and a smoking room with good ventilation - it is necessary, it is necessary to sign up.

    Then the king came.


    Oh, that was really the King of Management. According to his biography and achievements, you can write articles, and novice effective managers will swallow them in one gulp.

    He started from the bottom, in a huge corporation of all-Russian scale. Thanks to his outstanding leadership qualities, unbending will and systemic thinking, he quickly became a top manager. Note - all by myself, without patronage and shaggy paws.

    He studied a lot, had all possible diplomas, without which the entrance to the management elite is closed.

    Then he realized that he had outgrown his huge company, went to free bread. He taught at MBA courses, was engaged in private consulting practice, conducted seminars and trainings. Somewhere there, I came across the company that is discussed in this article.

    He came, and immediately began to vomit and throw. The tsar, unlike his predecessor, did not just read about management techniques - he knew them all, put them into practice, understood the effectiveness and efficiency, boundaries of application, features of implementation, etc. Well, he said that.

    He quickly drove out those who did not recognize him as king. Despite the length of service in the company, past merits, authority among colleagues, current efficiency. Cursed and drove. The king can.
    Immediately, without thinking, he called the transformations that need to be done. Production? Introduce 5S. Supply? Category management. Finance? Open the shutter. Project office? Cascade with tight controls. All the managers? Standard Work (admittedly, the method is really good, although it turned almost immediately into an Italian strike). IT department? 5W1H.

    Of course, he made the impression of the king. For a long time, no one doubted that this person knew what he was saying. And he doesn’t just know - he will do it! And all will be well.

    He naturally brought his people. I picked up those who looked like themselves - brutal, tough, strong-willed. Not so smart and educated, of course - I don’t know why. Maybe ... Ah, no, it can't. Although ... Okay, it doesn’t matter.

    Apathy, inspired by an excellent student, gave way to fear of royal anger. For some time they began to work better. So, just in case, away from sin. But it lasted only a few months.

    Sales began to fall. Not by a few percent, but tough, at times. With care, i.e. by kicking out key employees, a hard failure in competencies has formed. But the tsar’s ideas about the use of any methods have run out.

    Only the royal voice remained, demanding to work as it should. Sales continued to fall, the corporate spirit simply ceased to exist, fear reigned around, the IDB and, in fact, the king.

    The king ruled about the same as an excellent student. Only the king was not expelled - he left. Manage one of the largest enterprises in the region.


    Everyone will draw conclusions for himself, I will only share my thoughts.

    Any manager who doesn’t succeed says that he was in a swamp. Uncontrollable, apathetic, aimless, rotten. It does not stir up. No methods, practices or knowledge will help. Yes, more effective managers like to say that the organization was not ready for change.

    It seems that everything is right. The organization really looked like a swamp. Although, on formal grounds, it was not. There are no more bureaucracies than others. New products released regularly. New markets, including foreign mastered. A kind of active swamp.

    With the owner it was a keen swamp. There was an idea, a goal, a mission, and everything worked out.

    When a man it was a mad swamp. In the bad sense of the word "mad", i.e. sick.

    Under Cinderella I, the swamp became cheerful, almost carried away. Like a blind kitten, if he could walk, he understands that a lot of interesting things are happening around, but he does not yet understand what exactly. Actually, like Cinderella I herself.

    Under Cinderella II, the swamp became malicious and sarcastic. It was impossible without laughter and jokes to look at the projects she started.

    With excellent pupil, the swamp became apathetic. Lazy frogs swam with their belly to the top, spat on the ceiling and watched without much interest as more noble beasts roam through the swamp.

    Under the king, the swamp became ominous. Well, you know, like in horror movies.

    Of all the listed periods and dynasties, except for the owner, the swamp did not want to be called a swamp only under Cinderella I. For one simple reason - she did not stand next to the swamp, did not look down on him, did not speak with obscene frogs, abstruse words or openly hostility .

    She sat in the swamp herself. I left it, and remained in it. She was her own. Well, when she decided that it was enough to be a frog, she got out and became a princess, the swamp became a swamp.

    And what do you think?

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