What makes you successful as a top manager?
I see three key points that determine the success of a top manager.
- Planning and acting in advance. A few weeks before the lockdown was officially announced, we had finalized the preparations for switching to remote work, both in terms of employees and IT infrastructure, and adjusted our working processes to an online mode. We were ready for the worst case scenario. Such foresight is a must for a top manager.
- Effective team. Any crisis-situation requires enormous effort and there is simply no time to waste. A team that shares a similar view is crucial for me. The whole management team was able to correctly assess the situation. We acted in the same direction, launched multiple contactless online services, supported the employees in coping with the challenges of remote work, and managed to create this team-spirit and feeling of inclusiveness into the working process, in some cases even more intensely than in our regular offline office work. We helped our customers around the clock and each and every service was delivered in time and with no compromise in quality. A professional team greatly influences the success of a top manager.
- Agility. Every crisis is an opportunity for change. A top manager should be able to quickly identify new trends and adapt to them. In this sense, I admire the flexibility and dynamics of my employees. Making forecasts is difficult now, but I’m pretty sure we’ll come out of this crisis stronger than before.
What are the opportunities for business in the post-corona world?
SCHNEIDER GROUP supports international and Russian companies in entering new geographical markets. During the corona crisis our customers faced unprecedented challenges. As a consulting and service providing company, we should learn lessons from this and offer our customers new high-value services. We are also planning to more actively support Russian enterprises looking for international expansion. I wouldn’t say that we have survived the crisis as a winner, but I see increased demand from customers and their trust in us to navigate them through difficult times.
What vulnerabilities have you confronted during the lockdown?
I would say we were well prepared for the COVID-19. We acted as a link between the East and the West, monitored news and developments, and prepared for a possible lockdown a few weeks before the Russian President’s address.
Thanks to the excellent work of our IT and administrative departments, our 500 employees were able to seamlessly switch to a remote work mode. During the whole self-isolation period we continued to support existing customers and even win new ones. Together with our customers we quickly adapted to new business processes, video conferences, and virtual meetings.
Personally, I believe that face-to-face meetings are extremely important for fostering successful business relationships. Our team members are always in close contact with our customers and are “always here”. Because of this, I see the lack of personal contacts as a major vulnerability during the lockdown. I’m happy that we can now go back to the traditional face-to-face mode of communication, welcoming our customers and partners at the House of German Economy in Moscow. In June we’ve already held a chamber concert for selected customers and partners.