His MBA class was mid-way through its trip to Istanbul, meeting various companies in trying to understand Turkey’s consumer economy. It was time to regroup and share learning. They had recently met with one of the largest real estate companies of Istanbul that had an overwhelming impact on some of the group members. ‘Such lack of systems and processes. No semblance of risk management. Too dependent on founder owner’s gut.’ – some lamented.
He felt their exasperation. He had worked with clients from the US, UK, and Australia to understand their vexation while working in emerging market and/or with developing market companies. He had come to believe that it is always about context.
‘Business is nothing but an extension of society. To understand how businesses have evolved in various countries you have to look at how societies have evolved. Look at other cultural aspects. Dance for instance. Look at the ballerina. How linear she is in her performance. And then look at the whirling dervishes. So curvilinear. Similarly for music. Look at a symphony with orchestra conductor. Such harmony. And then look at Sufi performers of Turkey. One person starts and everybody joins. You can’t replicate a performance. All this translates to business. Businesses in emerging markets tend to be dominated by leader’s personality than by best practices. It’s just a different way of doing business. Who’s to say what’s right and what’s wrong!’
His peers appreciated his perspective. He was pleased.