Rake Narang: What are the challenges of managing a global business?
Leonid Shtilman: The major challenges center around understanding of legal, business and human differences between different countries. For example, as the CEO you should not only understand the differences between privacy laws in different countries, the role of trade unions, the differences in labor laws – you must also accept them as “normal.” As a CEO you should be aware ahead of time that it will be very difficult to fire unsuccessful employees in some countries, that it will be difficult to build long term commitment from an employee in another country, and so on. Another challenge lies in the creation of a trust between company’s headquarters and foreign employees. The CEO should accept that those employees are not just “Americans speaking another language,” but they are people who have different backgrounds and a different way of thinking, different working habits, etc. For an early stage company that started overseas, for example, many times bringing in an American CEO is not successful.