I simply enjoy working. Work just happens to be something I have always enjoyed doing ever since I was a child. With the sort of opportunities I now have I can influence the work of a lot of companies. That is a lot of responsibility. As long as I can do what I am good at, managing businesses, I am going to continue doing it.
[To start a business you need to] find people who will support you, you have to be sure that there is a demand for your products or services and then you have to do everything in your power to be better than the competition. There is no room for new discoveries in this sense.
What the 20th and 21st centuries have demonstrated is that you have to always keep learning. If you spend even a month without acquiring some new knowledge you have wasted that month both for yourself and for those around you. I try to learn every day.
I have always strived to better myself. If I lacked knowledge or did not understand some subject I would start researching it until I was sure I knew every detail. This is an especially important quality for someone who inspires and leads others, because the most dangerous thing a leader can do is to lead people to the wrong place.
I demand a lot from my top managers and I recently even recommended that they get Ph.D. degrees in the field of their work. I believe that if a person is in charge of a few thousand employees and is responsible for a production process, he or she must know how to use the scientific method to tackle problems. They must be able to analyse workplaces and production processes. The way I see it, practically every task we face today is so difficult that you could write a Ph.D. thesis on how to accomplish it.
We must introduce a system of continuous improvement at our production facilities. Each time we stop improving we start losing market share and production efficiency.
Even middle-level managers must constantly grow professionally and achieve improvements in their production areas. If progress is not evident and a manager cannot say exactly where and what has changed, on what lines and thanks to what improvements, there is no way to assess his or her contribution to the company. Figures do not always tell the whole story. A more thorough performance assessment is needed, based on achievements. The time when people got appointed to management positions based on what positions they previously held is long gone. Today employers have to be much more diligent in finding out about the skills, experience and successes of new employment candidates.
I personally prefer to work with people who know how to tackle problems, who are independent and have their own vision in their area of expertise.
[how do you get people to work?] If nothing else works, lead by example.
I think the two best things the Soviet industry had going for it was a sense of team spirit and pride in their profession. We are now working on this, trying to make metal production a prestigious occupation.
The most important task for Russia at this stage, that mission that we all feel but cannot put into words is to educate and train a new technical elite. In Soviet times a young graduate could not just go and immediately get hired as an engineer or the manager of a production area or shop. Before an engineer can understand how a production facility actually operates, he or she must spend some time in several blue collar jobs. This was a most important element in the training of management. This system was employed for decades to train the Soviet technical elite, a special kind of people who I would call technical people. Unless we train a new technical elite our country will simply disintegrate - not only will our production facilities come to a grinding halt but even the simplest means of communications will stop working.