Good afternoon, readers! It’s my pleasure to present Mr. Oleg Konovalov, an author whose writing I’ve greatly enjoyed. Through his books I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the ins and outs of the world of corporate structure and business anatomy. His latest release, Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business is an exceptionally valuable guide to cultural management chock-full of examples and practical recommendations. I appreciate him taking the time to share a little about himself. So, let’s get to it!
Kristy: Please tell us a little about yourself.
Oleg: I am originally from the northern area of Russia, Murmansk, which is above the Arctic Circle and similar to Alaska in terms of climate. For the last twenty years I am living in Birmingham (the UK) but still frequently traveling to Russia to see family and friends and for different business projects.
My work journey is quite colourful, from a deep-sea trawler engine room which is one of the riskiest professions to the top managerial positions. Fishing industry experience is invaluable. You must have an entrepreneurial spirit as no operations are the same, always be on toes facing tough challenges, strong character to face dramatic and unpredictable events, and be prepared to change.
I was operating businesses in the UK and internationally for 25 years and now concentrating on consultancy and speaking. Feeling an irresistible craving for more knowledge went for MBA relatively late and eventually gained a doctoral degree from the Durham University Business School.
Kristy: What inspired you to write Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business?
Oleg: Corporate Superpower is the book about people and for people. I learned through my life one important thing – all energy and power resides in people and not in machines or technologies. My aim is to help companies, entrepreneurs, and start-up enthusiasts to create a leap in performance through their people engagement and thus, helping them to build their dreams.
Also, many of us have painful experience working for companies with negative culture, which I call Dark Kingdoms. My book discusses how to turn negative culture into productive force and restore employees’ respect and confidence.
Kristy: The book has already received fantastic reviews and has been described as a bible of culture management for modern leaders. What can smaller businesses and startups take away from this read?
Oleg: Organizational culture reflects the true nature of a company whether it is small firm or large corporation. It doesn’t matter a number of people working for a company, it is a matter how they feel working for it. Culture is not given but something valuable which demands constant tuning and strengthening organization from inside. At the same time, culture defines the boundaries of any company and so, its ability to influence customers and partners. This is so critical for small businesses to cultivate strong culture and gain this important ability to influence customers and partners as a matter of succeeding and survival on a long run.
This book is particularly important for start-ups. They have very short time to prove their viability and must progress to the best of their potentials otherwise fail. Culture is the most critical source of inner energy which must be envisioned and nurtured from a day one of any start-up. If not, such start-up wouldn’t be a team of the same-minded people but a bunch of joyriders which are not worried about project’s future at all. We can say – create a strong company soul, i.e. culture, or die.
Kristy: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Oleg: Writing a book on culture is a tough challenge. This is a mixer of worries, joy, miracle discoveries, taking the wrong route and coming back to start again. In other words, writing book is like living a short life facing all its emotions in a condensed way. At the same, I have grown as a person and as expert writing Corporate Superpower.
Kristy: Who designed your book cover?
Oleg: Thanks to the excellent team of the publisher WildBlue Press who designed the book cover. It appears very soft and appealing to touch. It was not easy to express the meanings of culture in graphics. I offered the idea of hands passing energy from one to another and the designers created the cover which perfectly reflects a nature of culture as a combined energy of many working for an organization.
Kristy: What would you like readers to know?
Oleg: I tend to discuss critical issues using three-dimensional approach, and four-dimensional view where possible. In my view, complexity is a pile of simple things and my job is to lay them out in a simplest for a reader manner. I always aim to analyze and discuss the issues unexplored before and open new horizons and so, opportunities for business development.
There are five critical issues that most readers are not aware and CORPORATE SUPERPOWER offers a detailed discussion of them.
- Strong corporate culture has five mandatory functions – language, active doing, revitalization, self-detection, and self-regulation.
- Corporate culture is responsible for value creation by providing organizational metaphysical resources through six main elements – teamwork, professionalism, accountability, innovativeness, trust, and shared vision.
- Psychologically, there are two cultural types of organizations which define their identity – extroverts who are and introverts. The biggest difference between introverts and extroverts in an organizational context lies in goals, approaches in the development of organizational capabilities, imprinted roles and functions, types of human capital and thus behavior.
- There is no data on how many companies have negative culture but all people have experience of them. However, we don’t talk about them making things worse. For instance, academic libraries offer almost 450,000 articles relevant to the study of organizational culture, and fewer than 100 of them talk about negative culture.
- There are seven most critical factors which define cultural climate inside of a company from employee’s perspective – respect, job satisfaction, involvement, loyalty, shared affection and support, preparedness for change, and responsibility.
Kristy: What are you currently working on?
Oleg: I see all organizations as the live bodies with biological properties and functions. One of my previous books, Organisational Anatomy, discusses the optimum configuration of different types of organizations and allows business to achieve higher performance and recognize problems by treating the organizational diseases. I am working on a next book project which will explore the live nature of organizations further and will offer a detailed and step-by-step guide to building the effective business whether start-up or a mature company. The aim of the new book is to help businesses to achieve a superior performance by using their best inner qualities.
Kristy: What are some things you like to do for fun?
Oleg: There are few things which I am really passionate about – new business ventures, exploring something new, reading, and of course, fishing and fly-tying. I am very keen salmon fly-fisherman. I am always chasing a trophy Atlantic salmon and the biggest one which I caught was 16 kilos. It was an unforgettable fight.
Kristy: If you could choose any destination in the world to spend six months writing, where would you go and why?
Oleg: Writing a book is not spilling own self but finding own and then spilling the purified thoughts on a paper. I prefer fast-flowing river and deep forest to an overcrowded city and must recharge myself going into the wilds from time to time. In my view, nature is a best teacher and healer. I will choose a place somewhere close to a fishing river or lake, mountains, and deep forest, but close enough to a small city if I want to meet with friends or have a cup of coffee talking with new people in a coffee shop.
Kristy: Where can we readers find your books?
Oleg: Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business is available in paperback and Kindle and audio will be available within a couple of month. Readers can find it on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, 800-CEO, and in bookshops throughout the USA.
Thanks again for the Q&A, and congratulations on the release of Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business. I wish you much success!