Michael Porter about a strategy for Romania

July 06, 2010




Professor Michael E. Porter needs no introduction as the business strategy expert worldwide. He visited Romania in November 2007, and his conference was a great opportunity for us, Romanians, to listen to him talking live about strategy, and about Romania as seen from the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Harvard Business School.
We decided to cover this event in this paper, because we believe that Michael Porter's ideas deserve proper leverage in Romania, a country with plenty of resources and with no strategy. "This country desperately needs a strategy, and I don't see one" he said. The question is "how we build a world class Romanian corporation".
It is Easy to be a Manager of a Successful Business
Michael Porter believed that Romania is a country at a good location, which faced enormous growth and prosperity improvement. In a boom time, which he also described as "exciting" and "vibrant", the forces that have driven growth in Romania ended their job. "That is just about over in Romania" he said. Now, the boom, with its economic unbalances is over. "The easy part is over, it's going to be harder, and you have to raise the standard of productivity, companies will not going to be successful in the same way".
Michael Porter also warned that there is "not enough action from the government", and that it is "easy to be a manager in a successful business".
We at Brainbond could testify that this is true. Managing a successful business is not a big deal. The challenge is to recover a business from the vicious spiral or "death spiral" as Bill Gates called it. Lee Iacocca would not have made such a great manager if Chrysler were on the peaks of success. A manager is like an airplane pilot. In a smooth horizontal flight, with a functional airplane, and in perfect weather, all pilots are good pilots. Only in a storm, with a missing engine and in a dive, you can tell apart the really good pilots from the crowd. 
Now, Romania is going to need a real pilot, and the country is going to need a real strategy.



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