The 2Y3X programme has been joined by a team of expert consultants, who have been running emergency planning workshops on a voluntary basis for the past few months, providing critical support for businesses who need it. For more information about this please see this page.
We wanted to introduce each of them to showcase the brilliant work they do. In this interview, we speak with Ali Karademir, discussing everything from recruitment to wine tasting…
Starting with the basics: Could you tell us a little about your background? what types of businesses do you usually work with?
I’ve mainly worked in industrial and automotive engineering sectors with a focus on original equipment manufacturing and aftermarket segments.
I started out as a Product Manager at SKF and then filled several roles before becoming a regional director of Middle East and Africa. I’ve managed large teams of 400-500 people. Later I decided to embark on transferring my knowledge to people who could need my services. I find it very rewarding to support people as a consultant.
How did you come to be involved with 2Y3X? What are you hoping to bring that is unique?
I’ve co-operated with Felix for years, as we used to work together 15 years ago at Vistage. Felix and I do similar things: we grow businesses, but in different sectors. So I think we are very complementary. We are essentially hoping to apply proven methodologies into the industrial engineering and automotive industry, as this is where I specialise.
How have you seen businesses react to the current crisis?
Since March, many companies have experienced a drastic decline of their top line. Business leaders have generally chosen a rather “wait and see” attitude. In times of crisis, cash is king.
Do you think most companies have been avoiding or embracing change over the past two months?
Many business leaders bet on the fact that the crisis will be deep but short. They think they can adjust and adapt. In my opinion, things will get nasty once governments stop subsidising workforces in the private sector. I’m afraid mass firings will be inevitable as it’s already happening in the airline industry.
What one piece of advice would you give to business leaders struggling during these times?
Given the conditions, start to draw a picture of where you want to be in 12 months time? This is the way people should think: they should anticipate, be proactive. Ask for help, it sometimes feels very lonely up there. I definitely would recommend seeking advice from external advisors, I am happy to be asked any questions and help as part of the programme we’re running at the moment. Several leaders called me from different parts of the world recently to chat for a couple of hours.
Are there particular issues which you personally find important and get excited to fix, regardless of the client?
My expertise is to put businesses into a growth track. So, together with the leaders, I put in place a series of activities touching all parts of their operations. I especially like digging into their sales process, as many companies just don’t know how to sell their value, and how to communicate their value to customers. I like to understand how different they are compared with competition. And how relevant these differences are for customers.
People management is also often an area where so many business leaders suffer, so I like to jump in and support in this area also, implementing processes that can instantly help the company to improve. Creating individual scorecards and individual development plans for all staff is something I’m particularly passionate about implementing.
Are there any business-related books you’ve found useful or inspiring recently which you’d recommend?
Good to great by Jim Collins is extremely good. Ian Altman’s Same Side Selling is one I really recommend, especially the author. He’s a very talented sales process individual. Leaders Eat Last from Simon Sinek is also a great book.
What do you like to do in your spare time, outside of work?
I like sports. I do mainly fitness and biking at the moment. Hoping to get back to tennis soon. I like reading. I try to read books in Turkish: that’s the language I speak the least. Wine tasting is also a hobby of mine.
How have you adapted your professional life to fit around your personal life?
I make sure that my personal life is at the centre of my life and adapt my business life around it as much as I can.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on expanding my business into other sectors, alongside my voluntary consulting with the 2Y3X programme. I am also considering growing grapes for wine production, as we have a family farm in Turkey with the perfect conditions to do this.
Cheers to that!
We’re really happy to have Ali on our team.
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