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.
I can be considered as self-made. 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.
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 always chasing a trophy salmon and so, result in business.
I believe that good quality work always leads to a good result. Put your heart and passion into everything you do and it will be rewarded. Don’t be passionate about yourself but be passionate about what you do.
I never thought that I will be writing business books thinking that I am a hands-on entrepreneur and anything else is not for me. It was something not about me, for sure. A few years back my friend asks me to write a chapter for his book and it turned to be quite an interesting process. By that time I had a lot of research data on the nature and structure of informal relations in the Russian society and business which was a subject of my doctoral dissertation initially. I still resisted my friends who tried to motivate me on writing a book about it. I can’t tell exactly the moment my resistance to writing disappeared and I decided to give a try. I wrote two chapters on one breath and decided to carry on. It turns into a book “Hidden Russia; Informal Relations and Trust”.
Hidden Russia explores the phenomenon of Russian personal networks from inside the mind of Russian business people, revealing peculiarities of the inner life, norms, trust, knowledge transfer, and entry and exit rules Russian business people regularly experience. The book gained excellent reviews from experts from different countries:
“This is an important book that will interest practitioners and scholars seeking to understand the “riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma “as Winston Churchill described Russia. The authors show with very cogent analysis that it is necessary to get behind the calculus of management into the deep cultures and contexts of business.” – Prof. David Weir, Head of School of Business, Leadership and Enterprise, University Campus, Suffolk, UK, ex-Chair of Association of Business Schools (UK)
“Attention catching reading, full of valuable insights and clear comments. Probably, a reader comes across the first book that clearly explains the inner relations of Russian people, the facets and nature of some of these close relationships.” – Prof. Fatima Mirzoeva, Diplomatic Academy of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia
“An insightful perspective on the critical role of relationship and network ties in the Russian society, and how these play out even in the business environment. This book is a must-have roadmap for business practitioners looking to explore the Russian market.” – Dr Ekpos Waritimi, Strategy Consultant, Nigeria
“This is a very interesting book about Russian culture with great insights about the types of different networks or groups, the mechanics of relationships between them and a means to create trust with Russian people and companies.” – Stefan Kramberg, Strategy Department, Airbus, France
“Probably, one of the best books so far, thoughtfully explaining inner processes of Russian society and business and reveals such ultimately important issues as trust, emotional, functional and cultural aspects of business relations. It must have book for all practitioners dealing with Russia.” – Andrey Vovchenko, VP at SB Bank, Russia
Whilst working on this book I started completely new research on developing a holistic view of organisations. This was absolutely natural and very appealing to me as someone who thinks business most of the time. Here I heard this magic click – decision to look at business and organisations using completely different approach, to write not what I like but from a manager’s standpoint, to write without academic steroids and popular templates creating a value for thousands. Only after that, I realised that I am a business writer and my writing adventure had begun turning into a book, Organisational Anatomy.
Organisational Anatomy offers a discussion of a new management concept, which views organisational processes and functions from a biological perspective. This approach naturally explains the ongoing internal and external organisational processes and optimum configuration of different organisations. Organisations are live creatures which are breathing, functioning, moving and developing in their specific environments. Biological examples offer a useful way of making sense of complex ideas because they can be related to everyday existence. As such, this allows the reader to intuitively understand the organisations where they work and with which they interact.
By classifying different types of organisations and looking at their biological functions, Organisational Anatomy links existing theories and discusses five archetypes of organisations, namely – producers, knowledge-dependent, location-dependent, donor-dependent and state-affiliated organisations. By looking into their specific features, the characteristics of organisations of different ages and level of maturity, the access and utilisation of resources, and the development of productive external relations, this book allows the insights into the role of each function in achieving superior business performance. The Organisational Anatomy approach allows the development of a holistic picture and will allow business to achieve higher performance and recognise problems and difficulties by considering organisational pathologies and diseases.
Organisational Anatomy gained excellent endorsements from fDi Magazine (Financial Times), UK Trade & Investment, Small Business Trends, and other top experts. Thanks to the encouraging readers’ reviews the book gone into Hot 100 Best Business Books (2016).
Here are few of reviews which I am particularly proud of:
“In an insightful yet pragmatic book, Oleg Konovalov gets under the skin of the company as an organism, and explains how to help it function best. A highly useful read for any manager.” – Courtney Fingar, Editor-in-chief, fDi Magazine (Financial Times)
“Oleg Konovalov’s book uses medical metaphors to make the vision of organizations accessible to an audience that is not limited to the ivory tower of academic research. This vision brings together numerous insights from many different areas of academic research and organizational/managerial experience. The book offers help to current, and would be managers who try to systematize their understanding of the life of organizations.” – Professor Laszlo Polos, Durham University Business School, UK
“This book offers an eloquent and ultimate account of a wide range of examples of criteria to consider when identifying and dealing with common organisational illnesses and problems. Describing a peculiar array of similarities between organisations and living beings, this book is thought-provoking and very practical, but also opens interesting areas for further research.”
Dr Dayana Yermekbayeva, National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan
“Organisational Anatomy is a ground-breaking and sophisticated new lens for managers, leaders and entrepreneurs, allowing increasing the performance of their organisations, and also, an interesting tool to diagnose problems and find innovative solutions.” – Paul Noon, UK Trade & Investment, UK
“Organisational Anatomy” is a unique paradigm shift on business growth and planning that helps leaders develop a mindset that can focus on identifying specific problems and broad trends that can affect the future of your business.” – Charles Franklin Small Business Trends, USA
My latest book is Corporate Superpower discusses culture from multiple perspectives. Culture is the soul of any organisation. A strong culture breeds loyalty, innovation, and success, yet it is an often overlooked aspect of business literature. In Corporate Superpower, you will learn what culture is, why it is important, how to identify and correct problems in your organisation, and how to turn renewed culture into long-lasting success.
Being a businessman myself, I have always believed in the tremendous role of culture in a company’s sustainability. Unfortunately, with a wide array of books on culture being on the shelves, very little if any explains the roles and functions of culture, how it becomes negative, how to reverse a cultural decline and many other questions. Corporate Superpower is the result of many years of research and practical experience and offers a sophisticated view of this critical organisational force. This book provides a detailed explanation of the different facets of culture and discusses its nature and functions resulting in more effective cultural management and higher performance.
This is what experts say about Corporate Superpower:
“Oleg Konovalov is a deep thinker. He explores the role and function of modern corporate culture, sharing plenty of practical, philosophical and thought-provoking ideas that can take your business to the next level.” – Shep Hyken, Customer Service Expert, NYT bestselling author of The Amazement Revolution
“A deeply compelling journey into the soul of successful organisations, from the Dark Kingdoms of dysfunctional company culture to the visionary heights of corporate superpowers. Rich with real-life experiences, this book is an invaluable companion and guide for leaders, their organisations and teams in times of increasing complexity and change.” – David Clive Price, PhD, Expert on Global Leadership and Author of Bamboo Strong
“Corporate Superpower shares the secret that all world-class organizations have in common, they have amazing cultures. Your customers will never be any happier than your employees are. Oleg Konovalov tells you how to create an incredible corporate culture in this book.” – John R. DiJulius III, Author of The Customer Service Revolution
“Indeed a very powerful book. The discussion of the essence of corporate culture, spiritual dimensions, and shared values is very illustrative and practical.” – Sir. Dr. Linjie Chou Zanadu, Secretary of the World Cultural Diversity Organisation
“Oleg Konovalov offers a new word in culture management and unlocking potentials for the XXI century businesses. In his outstanding book, Oleg sets new standards of understanding corporate culture as the main source of inner energy and critical metaphysical resources which define sustainable development and long-term success. The offered discussion exceeds patterned thinking, yet practical and appealing. One of the best books on corporate culture.” – H.E. Ms. Sania A. Ansari, Chair Person, Ansari Group Ltd.
I am always looking for gaps in the markets or processes which allow me to spot potentials and then I am thinking how to get a hard job done in the most efficient way. An idea is a ripple on the water and catching it is a miracle itself. Then, it is time for hard work. This is like finding a diamond, polishing it and setting it into a beautiful crown. I want readers to be confident in their capabilities, willing to get to the next level of professionalism through superior understanding, open their creative minds, and be sure that impossible is possible. I want readers to see this world as bright, multidimensional, fascinating, and full of potentials.