February 16, 2012

Chairman for Russia

Years ago the company that had purchased one of my companies offered me the position of being the chairman of the board in the affiliated company in Russia in addition to my management responsibilities in Turkey. Together with my partner Cigdem I attended a series of meetings abroad. As we always did, we again went to a café and discussed our last meeting. I said, “I do not have good feelings.” The reaction I got was, “Me too!”

We then tried to put together all of the notes of the meetings we had until that day and as far as we could remember the manner of the people in those meetings. We underlined some words. After 3 hours of work we had found the codes we were looking for.

After a week we asked for a meeting. There we explained them with our presentation that we understood their plans concerning us and the future of the company. Once we finished our presentation the highest-ranking manager swore in anger and left the meeting room because his plot over us had been aired openly. We had interpreted the meaning behind the words correctly.

Whatever the type of the relationship may be, in business an agreement has to pass through words. I remember one of our projects where our client declined to sell his shares because he took a word of the potential acquirer personally although it was used as a means of negotiation.  Words can make or break a deal.

Coming back to the issue of Russia, I became the chairman for two years with conditions of my choice. If you would like to listen to a song about words, please click here.

The oldie of the week:  The Tremeloes – Silence Is Golden (1967)

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