Alumnus of the Executive MBA program at GSOM SPbU Elena Streltsova, CEO of Optoclub RYADI, in an interview for the GSOM SPbU blog, spoke about the career path, the importance of delegation, and what are the similarities between the business leader and the orchestra conductor.
What you are doing now: in what company do you work, how works the business in which you are involved?
Now I am the General Director of the Optoclub RYADI. This is a federal trading network, which consists of 4 objects of 16 thousand square meters each. We work in the format of a warehouse club, where the most popular products at attractive prices are presented. The prototype of the Optoclub RYADA is the American company COSTCO, the largest network of self-service warehouses in the world.
How is the company managed? What tactics and techniques allow you to work efficiently and solve tasks?
To be honest, I don’t know how to answer this question. Management is management in all countries. The management cycle is the same everywhere: first we determine the strategy, then we set up the system so that it can achieve this strategy faster and cheaper, then we outline who will implement it and monitor the implementation of the action plan. And then we repeat it — there is no romance.
In your opinion, what skills are most in demand among today's managers of different levels?
I like the expression of I. Adizes that management is built on the principle of "democracy". This is when democracy is needed at the decision-making stage, and "dictatorship" is needed at the stage of their implementation. If at the decision-making stage there were disagreements, then the implementation will take place “with a creak”. Both that, and another it is necessary to train. If you do not use skills, then they are lost.
Tell us more about your career path: were there any turning points? What role did GSOM SPbU play in this?
To the first my education I am the conductor of the choir, and I work as general manager. Shareholders are joking — there is no difference between choir conducting and business. And this is true: first, the team and I decide what we want to get, that is, we formulate goals. And then we divide the parties — who will perform, what and when. Well, in the process of implementation, I listen to how it “sounds”: if someone is false, we will adjust our actions together to get a clean and beautiful performance.
I became to study at GSOM SPbU by chance. I met with Olga M. Udovichenko for coffee, and by the end of the meeting I was already a student of the MBA-1 program. Studying influenced me a lot. If before GSOM SPbU I was engaged in finances and did not see myself in anything else. Then after completing the education I was invited to the position of CEO. I coped with the challenges that the company faced. And now I am a visiting lecturer at GSOM SPbU on this program.
What is your course about?
During the work, I came up with my own model of business management that I implementedat “Lubimy Krai”, “Optoclub RYADI” companies, as well as a number of companies that also introduced it. In the course, I talk what elements it consists of and what principles need to be installed in the corporate culture of the company for this model to “take off”. The model is based on well-known concepts, which I connected in a unique way. It allows regularly achieve goals and enjoy work.
What advice would you give to students and applicants at GSOM SPbU?
Training process provides an understanding of what tools exist in management and what they are used for. The program gives more than one company needs, and rightly so. Students have a choice of what to use. Implementing everything at once is pointless. It is necessary that what you implement is appropriate with what is already implemented in the company. I would advise each time to check whether the introduction of a new tool conflicts with those that are already in use. The erratic introduction of new methods into the control system leads to chaos.