Maxim Kurbangaleev is convinced that the business world has its own rules and regulations, which do not always obey the usual laws of the universe. They say honesty is priceless, and decency is half happiness. Does it apply to business and is there room for ethical requirements?
Maksim Kurbangaleev: is the mission just words?
The need for ephemeral ideas and philosophies for companies has been a subject of contemplation and debate for many years. Opinions of entrepreneurs differ, but the obvious cannot be denied – all major business representatives have goals and a mission.
So, Facebook talks about making the world open and strengthening connections between people, Samsung aims to develop innovative technologies that make people’s lives better, and the famous airline Etihad wants to change the world, improving the well-being of people around the world.
“I believe that it is necessary to decide on a global goal – an inspiring and exciting one. And this must be done before assembling a team,” says Maksim Kurbangaleev.
The expert gives an example of a global and revolutionary goal – to make people financially independent. “When people can meet their financial needs, they enter the zone of creative growth, which allows humanity to develop and move forward. The idea is often discussed in Europe, and I got hooked on it too. I was inspired by this story, which is why one of our projects is aimed at realizing financial freedom,” says Maksim Kurbangaleev.
Despite some idealization, the main goal of the company helps to identify its position in the market and even create a competitive advantage. Words can be simple and not pompous – at Starbucks, which recently left the Russian market, they simply said: we want to share good coffee with friends and make the world a little better.
Having decided on a global goal, the CEO is faced with the difficult work of decomposing goals. In accordance with the OKR methodology, the main goal should be divided into subgoals (objectives) and key results – indicators based on which the achievement of certain results is determined.
“Once you have established all the necessary goals and important values, you can start assembling a team. And the most important thing in this process is to be honest,” says Maxim Kurbangaleev.
Mistakes that cost money – Maxim Kurbangaleev
“When assembling a team, you do not need to save time and effort. My mistake, for example, was that I took the wrong people to the team in a hurry. As a result, I was losing money, because these people needed to be paid, and the specialists themselves missed the opportunity to find a more suitable job for themselves,” the expert explains.
Mistakes in hiring employees are not uncommon. However, no one is immune from errors: not entirely honest answers may be given to questions, or the desired will be passed off as valid – even the most astute leader cannot get into the head of a future employee and read his thoughts. However, lying and embellishing facts in an interview will not be helpful to either side.
“The team needs to be assembled according to the mission, goals and values. And you need to say this to a person at an interview directly and clearly. In my personal experience, there were no people who were able to share the company’s mission after a while – if a person is initially aimed only at making money, and you want to give the world a new product, it’s tough to work together. Yes, you can be useful to each other and work fruitfully at some stages, but strategically this often leads to costly mistakes,” says Maxim Kurbangaleev.
Personal matters should not interfere with the general goals
According to the expert, cases where employees “imbued” with the idea in the process of work still take place, but this is a rarity. With the next turn of the company, such people often leave the team – and this is another difficulty.
Far from everyone likes to discuss the negative processes of a company in society – false stereotypes make it difficult to look at circumstances with sober logic. For example, among Russians, only 16% of the total number of those registered had a prenuptial agreement in the event of a divorce in 2021, and a will drawn up not in old age is a rarity. It is important for business to agree on the procedure for dismissal or termination of cooperation with partners in advance and there is no place for superstitions.
“I believe that a long and productive work awaits us with our partners, however, we pre-negotiate certain conditions and factors that affect the interaction process. Firstly, we separate management and operations, and we understand that one day we can leave a number of our tasks and do something else. It happens that the founders of companies who continue to engage in operating activities cease to be productive, and at this moment it is important to inform them about this,” says Maxim Kurbangaleev.
According to the expert, the personal should not interfere with the general – a specialist should not think about his importance, status and profit, but about the growth of the company. And if he ceases to be useful, you need to make a decision: whether to improve his knowledge and level or remain a passive participant, or even leave the team altogether.
Three indicative months. How Maxim Kurbangaleev conducts a test period for a new team member
Becoming a full-fledged member of the team is not easy – the adaptation of an employee largely depends not only on himself, but also on the manager and the team.
“I think the most suitable period is three months: in the first month a person gets used to the team, in the second he understands the product, and in the third he shows the results. The first month of adaptation will show quite a lot: for me personally, it is important that a person be accepted on the basis of his professional skills, and not because of his friendliness and charisma – this is not a story about coffee and friendly conversations in the office kitchen. I communicate with my colleagues and listen to their objective opinion, draw my own conclusions, and if a person does not become “part of the pack” after a month of work, then it is better to part with him,” Maxim Kurbangaleev explains.
The expert cites a case from his practice: a specialist came into the team who offered many ideas, but all his results were low-level and his colleagues were reluctant to accept him. It is necessary to discuss controversial issues with an employee at an open session, according to Maxim Kurbangaleev, to convey to a person that they are expected to not only form bold proposals, but also competently implemented solutions.
“We said goodbye to this specialist when I saw that he delegated tasks to his colleagues, and he himself chose what was simpler – where there were low requirements and it did not take much effort. Thanks to the first warning from the team and their reaction, I was able to track the work of a person in time and evaluate his actions. By the way, when we parted ways with an employee, the speed and quality of work processes only grew,” adds Maksim Kurbangaleev.
Honesty and integrity pay off. Opinion of Maxim Kurbangaleev
The next test period metric is the second month that a person is exploring the product. According to the expert, at this time it is important to see whether the employee really shares the mission of the company and whether he wants to work for the benefit of the global goal.
“The second month helps to weed out lies and omissions in the interview. Tasks and their feedback on cases will help to see the true attitude of an employee. It cannot be denied that there are people who pretend that they are “fired up” by the product, however, according to my personal observation, this is easy to track: the more and brighter a person tries to prove that he likes everything, the less he is interested in it in practice. It is important not to confuse it with the emotionality of a person,” says Maksim Kurbangaleev.
The expert also describes his method of checking an employee for honesty. “I can say something stupid and watch his reaction. If he blindly agrees with obviously unreasonable ideas, then it is more important for him to seem good than to develop a product. This is not a reason for instant dismissal – I give the employee more information to deepen his knowledge, and ask gentle questions again after a while. If a person does not answer or avoids questions, I can give another chance, you never know, he was very busy. However, if even after a month an employee does not find time to study materials and articles, as well as the courage to express his thoughts, then we can draw conclusions and say goodbye, ”Maxim Kurbangaleev believes.
The third month of the test period – time to show results
“Here, the metrics are simpler – we set key results and see if the employee has achieved at least part of them. And then, in conjunction with the past weeks, the results and the opinion of colleagues, a decision is made whether a person joins the team or leaves, ”says the expert.
Openness and honesty with your employees helps leaders and enhances their authority, which is built not on fear, but on respect. A CEO who knows how to keep his word and take responsibility inspires the team and leads the team to the highest performance.
“I do not hide from the employee what I expect from him at every stage and I say frankly that if he does not want to make efforts and perform his tasks at the proper level, we will be forced to leave. Shyness, reticence, fear of layoffs and the desire to be good are not about business,” Maxim Kurbangaleev sums up.