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23.12.2014

Article by the chairman of the MAY Supervisory Board Igor Lisinenko published by the news agency “RosBusinessConsulting”: " Why that ones who don’t have big plans have to suffer from the crisis"


Igor Lisinenko

Why that ones who don’t have big plans have to suffer from the crisis.

Igor Lisinenko

Today there are hardly few people in Russia who have a financial plan even for their children education, not to mention the pension plan. Whereas, we started to prepare the strategy of our company for the next fifty years. How is it possible to plan for such period of time, especially, in the current situation, when it is not clear at all what will happen with us in few months? However, there is no other way, as if you move fast without any strategy you will only lose your way.

Life has become unpredictable. Just a while ago we made plans for next day. Now no one seems to know what will happen even in the evening.

No idea about oil price, exchange rate.  What laws will Russian parliament issue? Will there be enough money to pay wages? Will I continue to work? Is any war going to start?

These questions are being set by the entrepreneurs, managers and ordinary people. And, let's say, not without reason.

The ambitious plans of many companies, which seemed real just a year ago, are now interesting only as a monument to human vanity. People have already started to dream about the stable recent past, and try not to think about the uncertain future, full of many unknowns. At this particular time I started to prepare our strategy and vision for the period of fifty years that might look like idiotism under such circumstances. But I don’t think it's stupid.

When I first started in the business, I had nothing with planning and didn’t care about future. In the nineties there was no time to think, it was necessary to act. So did I. I was motivated by the idea to create a great business, offering to the whole country Ceylon tea, which was much to seek. I have met my target quickly enough. MAY Company turnover was $120 in 1997. And then I wondered what will be the next step?

Since I didn’t care about future, there was no answer to this important question. I hadn’t prepared for success.

As a result, I made a big mistake and preferred politics to business.

What was the upshot of it all? I realized that politics is not my calling, and returned to the business with the new, already big targets. But the problem was that I’ve lost five years because of this absence. After that, it was the first time I realized the significance of planning for long future, if you don’t want to lose a lot of time. There is nothing worse than losing time. It is the most valuable resource.

Today there are hardly few people in Russia who have a financial plan even for their children education, not to mention the pension plan. Rare companies create a coherent strategy for at least the next ten years. Until quite recently, none cared about the planning. This year alone, there was the federal law "The strategic planning" issued in Russia. And it's not even a plan, but only a description of the planning procedure. The plan itself is promised to be written only in 2017.

You can take the good tactical decisions, leading finally to the collapse. Without knowing where you're going strategically, even moving fast, you can just lose you way.

That is why we started to discuss the MAY strategy for the next fifty years. Now together with the colleagues we are trying to agree on what we all want to achieve. How is it possible to plan for such period of time, especially, in the current situation, when it is not clear at all what will happen with us in few months?

The answer is simple. We have to accept the fact that any plan expires as soon as you finish writing it. This is normal. It’s just necessary to determine what can be changed or adjusted, and what should remain constant, despite the circumstances. It is important to have different scenarios, both positive and negative. Finally, it is a need to monitor the plans’ implementation, as well as to adjust your goals, figuring out the root causes, which prevented from the plan performance.

Investments in the target-setting are repaid a hundredfold. Neglecting planning process will come at an extremely expensive price.

When I returned to the business after politics, I still paid attention to the social developments. And I was terribly proud that I was creating new jobs, until once I compared the labour efficiency of my company with European and American ones and was horrified to realize the difference at times. That means thousand employees were in charge of unnatural, ineffective and unnecessary tasks. They were too many.

It was my mistake in the goal-setting: I set a goal to create new jobs instead of improving production and overall business efficiency. I had to go through the painful process of job cuts and corporate restructuring in order to fix the problem. This year according to our estimates the company's labor efficiency was $200 000 per person a year that is well enough even in comparison with European standards.

Within a quarter of a century I have been engaged in business my approach to the planning was completely changed. When I started, I just acted, but had nothing with planning. Now I execute nothing by myself, but do planning regardless of the circumstances for the next decades or next seven years, for a year or a quarter.

Planning is not only of high importance, but also of great pleasure. And, over-fulfillment of these plans brings you one of the greatest pleasures in the life.