Damned place, Man, Cinderella, Excellence and Tsar

Damned place, Man, Cinderella, Excellence and Tsar

Have you heard, perhaps, the anecdote about Avtovaz and the damned place? I will not retell, there is on the Internet. Its meaning is that if a place, i.e. if a company is similar to Avtovaz, then no management, no matter what nationality or education it may have, will correct anything.

I was told about the company, which, on the one hand, confirms this anecdote with its existence, and on the other hand, refutes it. No joke - 4 directors changed in 6 years. There were still gaps when the owner himself supervised, but I will not take them into account. And almost always ended the same way - the directors were driven out because they could not significantly affect the performance, achieve their goals, change the corporate culture, move the company off the ground. Stir the swamp in general.

Let's try to figure out if everything is so simple and straightforward.

Where is it better to get directors

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

I will not name one source, since he belongs to, let's say, not very revered in our midst, but I will bring his thought. Who read, he will understand. The author said: it is necessary to appoint not the best, but the right one to a management position. The best is clear - these are the most effective managers, hung with degrees and diplomas, like a dog flea. And the correct ones, as understood by the author, are those who will be able to join the organization, understand its hidden motives, culture, leaders, etc. The author, however, proposes to hear the metaphysical essence of the company, but this will be left aside.
The second source is not confusing to mention - this is Jim Collins and his book “From Good to Great.” He does not particularly fantasize, but claims that he conducted a very serious study of the success of several world-famous companies during the 15 years of their development in order to understand how they succeeded. He derived several patterns, but we are interested in only one in this material: where did the director come from. So, the director there was almost always taken from the inside. This was the man who left the company. Not always from the bottom, but always from the inside. No new managers, according to Collins, are able to provide precisely long-term success, measured over years and decades, only a temporary leap that will inevitably turn into failure.

These authors are right or not - I will not judge. You judge if you will. And the story I’ll tell you may be one example.


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

The owner created this enterprise from scratch, and developed it over the course of several years. Developed quickly and efficiently - the company has grown every year at times.

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

By the time the management was handed over to the mercenary director, the company was already quite large, interesting, cohesive, dynamic, with a well-established culture. Throughout the company, there was a strong influence of the spirit, values, energy of the owner. It was very much felt, especially by new employees.

Then he decided that it was time to give up control.


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

Generally, by core competency, he was a seller. At the time of appointment, he was either the head of the sales department, or the commercial director. Of course, 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 his appointment. Managed so, as they say, in a peasant.Somewhere noret, somewhere dwells. But more often, of course, noret.

I even remember how everyone came to congratulate him on his birthday, he came out with a speech, the main message of which was the thought: you, excuse me, if that. Such a type of character, and I can yell.

Not to say that the owner built up some processes before him, but if that was the case, then the peasant ruined everything. Except sales, of course.

Need to first credit and then ship? Garbage, the main thing - quickly ship.
It is necessary to take into account depreciation when calculating the cost price? Bullshit, the main thing - the shaft and the margin.
Need to work on improving product quality? Garbage, the main thing - to sell, and then we'll figure it out. We'll go, we will persuade, we will give presents, and we will dismiss so that the claim is not exhibited.

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 that he was shocked by what the company had become.

Anarchy lasted for some time, almost distemper. 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, according to the apt expression of the chief accountant, was a three-headed hydra.

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

Cinderella I

Cinderella, in part, was similar to the previous director, whom I christened "man." First, she, too, was originally from the sellers. She came to the company as a sales manager, and with the previous director she got to the position of commercial director. Secondly, she was also quite a simple person, especially in communication. No quirks, boast and obutstvovaniya.

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

It should be noted that between the post of commercial director and just a director, in an era of anarchy, she managed to supervise both supply, and production, and warehouse. By the way, quite successfully. For example, it was she who brought, or rather, brought the theory of constraints to the company, as a key tool in solving supply problems.

She studied a lot - on little things, like books, seminars, trainings, etc., and in a big way, like an 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 values ​​and goals of the owner, was the locomotive and the main carrier 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, once all on the ointment. Just support everything as it is, portray a little development, and there will come a golden stagnant era.

But no - she began to develop the company in all areas. Not always successfully, of course - for example, there was not much sense in ISO certification. But, in general, positive. The reality responded with a vengeance - the company began to grow again at times every year.

Cinderella II

And then something happened. Whether the education has acted, or the awareness of oneself has come, as a really successful manager, but Cinderella has changed.

Actively promoted but senseless changes began, some of which are described in the Corporate Manmanci. There was little real sense from them, but it took a lot of effort, energy, and money.

The company began to stagnate. The indicators, of course, grew, but the farther away, the slower. The growth of the company was due to the growth of the market - it was just the import substitution, in which the company actively participated.

If earlier Cinderella was looked at as the hope and soul of the company, now it’s like a tyrant (or, following the classic - a tyrant), with insane ideas, incomprehensible vocabulary and strange approaches.

This is where the damned place began. Whatever Cinderella did not undertake, there was no sense. The company, like a swamp, remained in place, produced the same result, and if there were splashes, 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 for the industry in which the company worked. All to no avail.

The owner looked at it, looked at it, and decided to change everything radically. Then it seemed that the matter was in the head. The owner called an 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 their sector - you know all these companies.

Naturally, he had an MBA degree, and even an EMBA. Of course, he knew English perfectly. 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 it was even shown on TV.

The high achiever had everything, except for one thing - a real experience in managing a manufacturing enterprise. The theory knew all, but the practice flown hours - exactly zero. His whole experience was related to the financial market, and not to the real sector of the economy.

He started quite cheerfully. Dispersed those who blatted too loudly or questioned his competence. Established strict rules of discipline for managers - such as were adopted in his previous environment. Although, I don’t know - maybe it’s written in books that you have to talk hard with people.

But, as began, and finished. I set the rules, showed myself to everyone, and ... Everything. Has stopped. The company somehow worked, by itself, as in the era of anarchy. It grew slowly - again, due to the expansion of the market for Russian products due to the sanctions. The high achiever began to quickly turn into a wedding general - he sits beautifully, smiles pleasantly, and confused - zero.
The excellent student didn’t like the spirit of the company at all. Once, it seems, I went to some corporate party, then I quit. Yes, no one else called. No one wanted to talk to him like a Cinderella I, heart to heart.

It would seem, well, okay - people do not want to soak up the swamp water, this is his business. But he did not want to drain the swamp. He did not absorb the company's culture, but did not spread its culture, there was no diffusion. There were parallel.

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

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

As I already mentioned, the high achiever had many acquaintances among managers, consultants, and teachers. Now the whole company was familiar with them.

Projects have begun on strategic planning, building a system of motivation, neutralizing risks 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, cool - now there is something to boast about on a friendly booze, but the company was exactly zero point.

It is zero, not some percentage. All projects, to the last, started by an excellent student, if completed, did not bring any result. Participation of the best student was reduced to participation in meetings, nodding his head and phrases like "do as this guy says."
What are the budgets of such projects - you can imagine. Of course, this could not last long. They kicked out an excellent student, unfinished projects were frozen, completed projects were thrown out.

As a result of his reign, corporate culture has deteriorated somewhat. He kicked out the people who claimed to be the soul of the team - for example, the HR director. The people he led did not take root. An excellent student brought to the company such a feeling as apathy.

Yes, Cinderella II did a lot of shit. But she, however, remained hers, close, at least in the memories of old-timers. It was possible to talk with her, even if not as spiritually as before. And how about what to talk with Muscovites in expensive suits, whose day of work costs the company more than your year?

Well, everyone and frankly did not give a shit. New motivation system? PF, sorry for what. Strategic session with one of the best moderators in the country? For the sake of God, butter devour. Seminar about the risks? In the best hotel of our village? How, I remember, there are delicious dinners there, and a smoking room with good ventilation - it is necessary, it is necessary to sign up.

Here the king came.


Oh, it 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. Due to his outstanding leadership qualities, inflexible will and systems thinking, he very quickly became a top manager. Note - all by yourself, without protection and shaggy paws.

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

Then I realized that I had outgrown my huge company, I left for free bread. He taught MBA courses, engaged in private consulting practice, conducted seminars and trainings. Somewhere there I came across a company that is covered in this article.

He came, and immediately began to tear and toss. The king, unlike his predecessor, did not just read about management techniques - he knew them all, put them into practice, understood the effectiveness and efficiency, the limits of application, features of implementation, etc. Well, he said so.

Quickly drove those who did not recognize him king. Regardless of the experience in the company, past achievements, authority among colleagues, current efficiency. Wing mate and drove out. King can.
Immediately, without thinking, he called the transformations to be done. Production? Implement 5S. Supply? Category management. Finance? Open the flap. Project office? Cascade with tight control. All managers? Standard Work (admittedly, the method is really quite good, although it almost immediately turned into an Italian strike). IT department? 5W1H.

Of course, the impression he made royal. 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 everything will be fine.

Led, of course, his people. I picked up similar to myself - brutal, hard, strong-willed. Not so smart and educated, of course - I do not know why. Maybe ... Oh, no, it can't. Although ... Okay, that doesn't matter.

Apathy, inspired by an excellent student, was replaced by the fear of royal anger. For some time they began to work better. So, just in case, out of harm's way. But it lasted only a few months.

Sales began to fall. Not a few percent, but tough, at times. With care, i.e. Kicking key employees, formed a hard failure in competences. And the king's ideas about the use of any methods dried up.

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

Rules of the king 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 failed, said he was in a swamp. Uncontrollable, apathetic, aimless, rotten. He did not stir. No methods, practices and knowledge will help. Yes, even effective managers like to say that the organization was not ready for change.

It seems that's right. The organization really looked like a swamp. Although, according to formal signs, it was not. Bureaucracy - no more than others. New products released regularly. New markets, including foreign, mastered. What, active swamp.

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

When a peasant, it was a mad swamp. In the bad sense of the word “mad”, i.e. sick.

Under Cinderella I, the marsh became hilarious, almost passionate. Like a blind kitten, if he knew how to walk - he understands that there is a lot of interesting things happening around, but he still doesn’t understand what it is. Actually, like Cinderella I. herself.

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

With an excellent student, the marsh became apathetic. Lazy frogs floated belly to the top, spat into the ceiling and watched without much interest as more noble beasts quickly ran through the swamp.

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

Of all the listed periods and dynasties, excluding the owner, the marsh did not want to be called a marsh only under Cinderella I. For one simple reason - she did not stand next to the marsh, did not look down on him, did not talk to frogs, with obscenities, abstruse words or with naked hostility .

She sat in the swamp herself. Out of it, it remained in it. Was hers. Well, when I decided that it was enough to be a frog, I crawled out and became a princess, the marsh became a swamp.

What do you think?

Source text: Damned place, Man, Cinderella, Excellence and Tsar