“Intercultural management is very useful!”

Evgeny Grigoryev is always on the lookout for further education that can advance his career. The manager training programme came at the right time for the deputy chief engineer of a mine owned by the Russian coal company SUEK-Kusbass. In addition to lots of new things about change management and environmental protection, Grigoryev learned quite a bit about intercultural management. The 35-year-old’s personal contact to German companies also is also helping SUEK to clear up the final unresolved issues before closing two deals.

As part of the MP Grigoryev also visited the heavy machinery producer TAKRAF GmbH in the Brandenburg town of Lauchhammer.

“The path to personal professional development and the very best networking”, is how Evgeny Grigoryev sums up the first thoughts that crossed his mind when he heard that his company wanted to send him to Germany to participate in the manager training programme. Grigoryev is the deputy chief engineer of the mine administration “Taldinskoe West” at the Russian coal company SUEK-Kusbass, and SUEK is the largest Russian coal producer and one of the five leading coal suppliers globally. His colleague who was in the programme the year before advised him to make use of the opportunity: “This is the best thing that can happen to you in this stage of your career.“ 

It’s clear from the start that Grigoryev will accept the offer. His own professional development is always the focus for him: Grigoryev started at SUEK in 2010 as a simple miner, and only two years later he had advanced to deputy chief engineer, responsible for the technical assessment of investment proposals. Evgeny Grigoryev kept on successfully participating in inter-company, industry-spanning and Russia-wide business competitions. After completing the Russian presidential programme and successfully applying, in June 2019 he had his next target: Dresden.

Change management and environmental protection are on the agenda, too 
Grigoryev travelled to Germany expecting to strengthen the cooperation with German partners in the supply of mining equipment, in the area of customer service and in the training of staff. He returned with plenty of new impressions as well: “One of the most valuable insights for me personally was to see how useful intercultural management is.” For one month contract negotiations are just as much of a central topic as the right appearance at talks with company representatives in order to be fit for a cooperation with German companies. “The input about change management was also valuable”, remembers the deputy chief engineer. 

Es geht auch um Umweltschutz: The focus was also on protecting the environment: “We were impressed by the recultivated mining regions in Germany”, exclaimed Grigoryev, “I wouldn’t have imagined that there sued to be mining operations at these sites. The regulations for environmental protection in Russia are also becoming more restrictive. The ecological security of our own sites is therefore one of the company’s primary tasks.“ 

The projects agreed on are realised despite corona
Even before the manager training programme, SUEK had contacts to German business representatives and Grigoryev used his stay in Germany for talks with relevant business partners. The personal contact helps to clear up the final issues related to the composition of the equipment to be acquired. In November of the same year the contracts between the German firms and SUEK were signed. In June of 2020 a company from North Rhine-Westphalia delivered 3.5 kilometres of high-pressure fast-coupling pipeline systems, and in September a company from South Hesse supplied waste water cleaning facilities for preparing mine drainage water. And further projects are already being planned. 

Although these cooperations were conducted during the pandemic, SUEK has stuck to their contractual obligations. According to Evgeny Grigoryev, the pandemic has hardly had any effect on operations for SUEK: “The completion of our investment projects hasn’T been affected, and all of the ongoing projects were realised – also including the cooperations with our German partners.“ 

Grigoryev unreservedly recommends the programme
Because Grigoryev at the coal company SUEK, a company with clear vertical hierarchies, is part of the middle management level, he can take ideas from Germany and work on their implementation: “The contacts I have made offer me the opportunity to obtain information more directly, when new technologies that we have not yet used in that form are concerned, for example.“  

Grigoryev suggests to anyone who has the chance to participate in the manger training programme that they take it. He advises future participants to not be afraid of asking their German business partners questions: “Exchange your contact details and definitely keep in contact with the German partners even when the contact isn’t strictly on a business level. Sending a friendly birthday greeting can help with a future cooperation.” Grigoryev only considers the language barrier as a problem, if it in fact is at all. But in his next breath he is welcoming efforts by the trainers to organize Russian-speaking lecturers or to at least provide translators for them. And Evgeny Grigoryev has one more tip for future programme participants: “Having a few phrases of German to help enter the conversation is great. That makes the Germans happy.“ 

Photos: © Evgeny Grigoryev