How to make it to the C-level
There’s no shortcut. Every successful person I know in person always worked very hard. Everyone who I admire works significantly more than others. The better I get to know them the more it seems to me like it’s not really about the modern-way framed “success”. They enjoy it and it’s in their blood. They’re just programmed this way.
When I invited Kamil I was more interested in his personal experience, plus I wanted to renew our relationship as we used to work together some time ago at the Gdańsk University of Technology. I remember him from that time and he was always super tech-savvy. And now he made his way all the way up to the C-level and became a partner in business and helped build it to a multi-million tech-venture. He was persistent and methodical, and I strongly suggest we all follow his advices, recorded in this interview. I’d like to listen to the next episode with Kamil Kozłowski, the COO/CTO of Unisystem Ltd. They specialise in industrial grade modern LCD and touch displays. Listen, share and enjoy.
What’s in the episode?
- How persistence and hustle helps in career progression.
- Suggestions on finding and managing business partners from the Far East.
- What are the main differences between consumer and industrial electronics markets?
- How much information you need to make a quality business decision?
- Examples of customer-value driven hardcore technology business success.
Most valuable Q/A
Daniel: Looking at the profile of the company, it’s quite obvious that you guys deal with quite a lot of businesses globally and I’ve noticed that quite a lot of suppliers you deal with are obviously from Far East. I think it’s a very interesting topic and it’s interesting for me – that’s why I think it’s going to be interesting as well for the audience. What kind of barriers or what kind of difficulties you find in dealing with companies from the Far East? Because I think, and this is as well from my experience, it’s not that easy and you have to have some kind of methods of working with them. How does it work for you guys?Kamil: Of course it’s not that simple, so you need to have these methods, as you mention, how to communicate with a different culture. Because even if we both use English, in many ways the thinking is different, so you need to have these methods for daily work to keep the conversations effective. Let’s say with Chinese company you can exchange emails for a month and nothing will be solved. So you need to find special ways how to communicate with them to really, really do it fast. So if you, for example, want to ask five questions, you should point them out clearly in your conversation – you cannot just put them sentence after sentence, because you will get the answer only for one, and in most cases, the easiest one – for them, of course – and the rest, especially the hard questions, they always skip. So it’s like very simple stuff that you need to understand how to do it, because if you won’t, you will lose the time. So you need to put like five points maybe an underlying “please, answer me point by point and do not skip any of above” and still you would get one question answered anyway sometimes, but it’s better. What I would say is also important is if you want to work with the big players in Asia, you need to show your value here, I mean Europe, for example, that you really are able to bring big customers and solve some problems that you will not be only, as I said, company moving boxes, but really a company that can improve their, let’s say, product to be implemented in the market. So they produce something like a display but actually the company in Europe cannot use just the display, the company here needs maybe a display and a touch that will work together but you have two suppliers – one is for the touch and one is for the for the TFT. And if this customer will buy them, they will be responsible to make them work together, and if something will be working not as good as it should then you don’t know who to blame or is it the TFT maybe making too much noise or maybe it’s the capacitive touchscreen not handling the noise enough. And if it’s like Unisystem, connecting together, then our engineers will work on that, yes, so we work on the firmware of the touchscreen usually, to make them work properly and then we’d guarantee that it will work. So that’s why this TFT company and this touch company say: okay it’s great to work with Unisystem because they solve the problems and they are responsible to implement. So you need to show your value and of course, working with Asians, I think it’s pretty common knowledge, it’s very important to know in person the high management of the company, they really appreciate that. So you need to visit them, you need to shake hands, you need to have this dinner, you need to talk, you to make this almost private relation. For them it’s very, very important.
It seems to me like the deal making info from the interview may be the most practical. Hence my further comment. I’ve done business in the Far East myself. Not a great lot, but it was a glimpse of a completely different world to me. Moving from Poland to the UK was a jump, but doing business from UK with South Korea or China was a complete shock. There are many things that differ between the continents. Primo. They just work longer. 6 days, 10 hours per day, minimum. And it’s “normal”. Secundo. They get the best high-tech available and make use of it. Not to mention that they obviously make there it as well. Tertio. They really respect food. Good food. That’s why I respect them. But let’s take a step back for a moment. On macro level we’re different (communication, habits, cultures) but what about micro level? What about our own closed task-force groups, projects, colleagues or even friends? My thesis is that people need to learn to communicate better. At least I know that I have to do it better. Active listening and all this kind of “magic”, it works. And I had to travel around the world to understand it the hard way.
For a full transcript of the podcast in *.pdf format go to the following DOWNLOAD LINK
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Transcript: Amelia Stańczyk, Mariusz Czachorowski