Nikolai Ignatiev: «Successful people are always ahead of their time»

Ignatiev Nikolai Mikhailovich 
President of the «АКОМ» Group of companies

Ignatiev Nikolai Mikhailovich

President of the «АКОМ» Group of companies


 - You have started your carrier in the middle of 70s after graduation in Togliatty Polytechnical Institute. Starting conditions at that time was the same almost for all. What goals have you settled for yourself, what did you plan to achieve? 

-  Dream of many graduates was to be sub allocated into AVTOVAZ. Togliatty is the automotive capital, the leading factory of the industry is situated closely, and automobile is the prestige item for each soviet citizen.  I had chosen the automotive faculty because it drives the future, because to live in Togliatty and not to dream about work at AVTOVAZ was at least strange. I think that anybody instinctively seeks to be better than others and to succeed in his major. For me this aspiration was formed during fitness. For example in the team risky dynamic game volleyball it was important not just to come to play, but definitely win. The more we could win the more interesting it was, the more likely we set new goals and achieved them.
I’ve started carrier as master in body-assembly plant, and was promoted to chief of division. Conveyor with its continuous process of assembly at that time was appreciated as real-time technologic miracle. Delegations of visitors passed by while I was just a part of big system of car production, and it made me feel pride.
Further, in the building 42/5, where then the first welding robots Kavasaki was settled, I was engaged in the service line for as deputy section chief. Career grew up with a huge amount of new knowledge and skills. In parallel I study evening courses of English – preparation to represent AVTOVAZ abroad. This determined the future life, 15 years of which I spent in different countries.
- There is some common knowledge that 99% of success is the effort and 1% of luck. How would you have placed these percentages?
- I believe that luck. Luck played a major share. I watched the career success of different people - only a small part of them are lucky to have parents who were leaders themselves and strongly promoted their children. Most of all attained everything by themselves, and their luck was formed, in my opinion, of a conscious understanding of the laws of production and life.
Firstly, it was important not to stagnate in one position, move from stage to stage in time – if you miss the point, you could get stuck in one position for years. Automotive production system created the conditions for the social elevator - developing a certain quality, completely surrendering to the work, a person could expect further progress, the fact that he would be "in the cage."
Secondly, for personal success it is very important to obtain personality of the leader, a mentor. Management  could "mark as interesting" not only super-intelligent officer, and one who was able to show themselves and to draw attention with the idea, creative unexpected rational decision, human qualities. I was lucky with the leaders, they shared many with me - a recent graduate of the university, which was in charge of a team of 40 workers. Entrust many things. Finally, in the third place, luck comes to those who may be at the right time in the right place - those who follow their intuition. Career opportunities performed to everybody, but not everyone can take advantage of them.
- What model of creating and running a business closer to you: put the global goal and explore it from different sides of life, or start small, to reach a certain level and gradually increase the requirements?
-I feel closer to large-scale projects. Start small - this means to use the experience of those who are already engaged in this, copy it into your own territory. Based on international experience and my observations, I can say the following. The business, which is copied, of course, lives, but not actively grow, remain at the same level. Those who are start with the existing business models, as a rule does not tend to look beyond the horizon. The truly successful people build a business based on the needs of the future, a few steps ahead of their time. Start of the project must be global, even realization of conceived will be only a tenth. To see what others do not see, to create your own business model, and then realize it - it's really interesting! And here we are not talking about short-term rewards, about making money. It is just a sport interest: how it happens, what will be the result?
In the Forbes list, as recently revealed, people with a technical background is dominated. Can you comment it?
 - I still don’t know how somebody get into this list. How do these people make trillions. Forbes – is the most mysterious thing ... I can only say that technicians really have a special mentality, a more practical and research. Some (graduates of MBA) say others do. Some - ideologists, others - practicians.
- According to the world's top economists opinion the main trends of our time are the following: strategies or long-term planning, IT-technology, innovations. What would you have added?
- All of these concepts are extensive. But the strategy definitely at the forefront. With regard to our industry, we can invite new development models. Battery - is a universal product of the future, absolutely always claimed, required in various spheres of life. Our industry is the largest in Russia today – it can adjust to a variety of automotive producers’ requirements, and it does not require base equipment replacement. But starter batteries just one of the diverse applications of chemical power sources in transport. Becoming a leader in the Russian market in this competitive niche, it is impossible not to wonder - what next? Market logic leads to an expansion of our competence, to development of the production of high-voltage batteries for vehicles hybrid propulsion. The task aims to create batteries with record specific energy parameters, the development of unique materials for them. Recently it was done quite a lot in terms of creating state development institutions, development of state programs.
Stimulation of such private investment companies as Group of companies "AKOM" becomes a key factor in activation of the innovation process at the national level. Now our research area is allocated in a separate enterprise "Accumulator of innovations", which is working to establish an engineering center based on "Zhigulevskaya Valley". Skolkovo and Rusnano have already expressed their willingness to support it.
Therefore, the main trend of business will be to find resources. It is important not only to use the window of opportunity, but also be able to attract investment.
-Nikolai Mikhailovich, there are so-called "casual" or variable components of success ... They say, lengthy, athletics, success in the exact sciences, humorous, belonging to the "larks" prefigure more striking results in the business. Is that so? Can You follow similar patterns in Your life?
- I agree that high growth will help to be more noticable, stand out from the crowd. But until the 7th grade, I was short and tried to succeed in another- in sports, in particular. I was engaged in boxing, volleyball. Results in mathematics were not bad, but I really "sick" with chess. I could spend hours in the park of the Central district, watching chess parties – that time sessions of mass games were common, attracted many fans. I have studied chess combination in magazines, mentally trained. I think this skill is one of the most useful in life, it develops strategic thinking and desire not to give up. 
I like to wake up early. I think morning is the most productive and creative time of the day when the most interesting ideas come to mind. And a sense of humor is also very important, it helps to solve any problem, looking at it from the side. So, that laws, like, there are.

Look up to Leader 

(comments on the message of the Samara region governor NI Merkoushkin): 

« Economy efficiency and manageability improving is the basis of the Samara region competitiveness. And today the regional government, federal agencies, local authorities will do everything possible to maintain the maximum possible number of enterprises, facilitate their modernization as soon as possible. Where it possible facilitate the entry into production of new products demanded by the market. In the area there are examples of successful businesses, there is someone to be alike »…
- Strategic vision and experience of the Mordovia industrial production projects successful implementation today allow NI Merkoushkin attract the federal resources, especially in the field of innovative technologies. It is very important for the development of our company, and for the whole industrial potential of Zhigulevsk and Togliatty, and for creation of job places. 
We look forward to an equal dialogue with the government, actively involved in regional business support programs, and already there are the first results. "The effectiveness and unity of government is the main condition for the region development... But successful problems solution will depend largely on the business activity, social responsibility and business vision, its active participation in region development».
«The effectiveness and unity of government power - the main condition for the development of the region ... But the successful solution of problems will largely depend on the business, social responsibility and vision of the business, its active participation in the development of the region».
- Last year we organized the international conference for manufacturers of chemical power sources "INTERBAT" in Zhigulevsk and Togliatty, which gave a strong start to the new level of development in the battery industry. It was the first time when the conference took place out of Moscow at the location of the industry leader. We’ve showed our plant, introduced technology park "Zhigulevskaya Valley", demonstrating not only our level of production, but also the region investment potential. And now Samara region is associated not only with the AKOM, but also with the future engineering center.

Fast facts
Best antidepressant?
- Local success in any area of ​​business.

If not business, a specialist in what field could you become?
- Athlete or military. I think, I could serve until getting the general rank. 

How many cups of coffee per day are normal for You?
- Not many – 2-3. 

Success comes to ambitious?
-  Yes, but you should be ready for ambitions, should to bear responsibility for them. The higher ambitions, the greater should be the authority in the team. No one will believe in you just because people go for authority. And it has to be earned.
Which great personality comparison would be flattery for you?
 - I think, with one of the great Russian generals, whose name has won the ranking of "The Name of Victory" - Kutuzov, Suvorov, Zhukov…
Your favorite time of the year?
- Autumn because of the comfortable weather, the bright colors of nature, and, as a rule, picking the results of the work. Plans realization often comes in the autumn.

Text Anna Kern
Published in the journal "CITY. Planet Togliatty ", May 2014. 

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