Nikolai Syutkin: “Everyone can win in my world. You just need to take the first step”
Interview with Nikolai Syutkin, Managing Partner of S&P Agency (SIUTKIN & PARTNERS), about the price of the leadership, self-improvement, the importance of challenges to yourself and a mirror reflection of all this on business development.
S&P Agency – one of the few companies in Ukraine in the market of risky investments, which helps foreign businesses to invest freely in Ukraine, save and increase their capital assets.
How is it to be the head of such company? What difficulties would you have to overcome those if you once decided to defend the interests of business in extremely difficult variances? How is it to understand that the fate of business itself and hundreds of people depend on your decision?
Our conversation with N. Syutkin shows that in Ukraine there are unique people, “others” – with their deep values, understanding themselves in life, understanding their place and mission in the market in our difficult country and with their unique approach to business.
LDaily: Mykola, tell us about S&P Agency: how did it originate, how did it develop?
M. Syutkin: We created Siutkin & Partners more than 10 years ago. These were interesting times, as my partners and I came to the market with a structured corporate (we headed the legal departments of large foreign holdings). Yes, we started out as a law firm (we are lawyers and candidates of law), but long experience in corporate and anti-raider wars changed our approach. We realized that jurisprudence can only be one of the tools necessary for a successful victory in the most difficult conflicts. Therefore, we cannot say that we provide legal services, we have already moved to another level – consulting and integrated business support.
But then, we had no idea how to launch a business, enter the market, or work with clients. And it is our experience of working in large companies that gave us, as it later turned out, the most necessary – a structured and systematic approach, honesty and understanding of the value of the given word. It is our difficult 10-year experience in the corporate sector that made it possible to understand how the business thinks, what tasks it poses to the market, what quality of work it wants to see and what result it expects in the process of cooperation. If you want to know, we also think differently – we are sharpened for the needs of business, for work for the result in the shortest possible time and with minimal financial costs. For example, our client receives an opinion from lawyers on the market about the possibility of acquiring land and the opportunity to invest an amount of $ 100 million. If the client addresses us, we say when he would have “problems”, how and during which time he can lose assets. If he accepts our recommendations and carries out a number of protective measures, he will remain with an asset of $ 100,000,00, if he ignores the risks, he will lose the object or incur considerable expenses trying to save the asset in the process of aggravating the “problem”. Everything is very simple, you calculate the risks and control the reality, and do not give yourself and your business in the hands of chance.
Why did we leave high-paid positions in “class” companies? I will answer so – it became crowded. I wanted to grow and develop, and most of all – to apply my knowledge not only within the framework of one company, but to help businesses in various markets successfully invest and multiply their assets. Working within the framework of one company, even the biggest one, could not give such an opportunity. And we wanted and we want, as lofty as it sounds- to leave our mark in the history of Ukraine’s formation, and this is exactly what moves us forward!
LDaily: Your company has been functioning at the market for more than 10 years: what were the most complex, perhaps – the most high-profile “cases” were implemented by you during this time?
M. Syutkin: I think that you will not find in the public plane a lot of information about our activities, about our clients or about successful cases. We just do not disclose it, just like our clients. This is a conscious policy, there are things or things or cases that are not spoken out loud. Who are we, you ask? We are our result of many years of work, we are successfully saved assets of our clients, we are saved business of our clients. You can talk about how smart, innovative and path-breaking you are, show rewards, publish in ratings, speak at all business events, etc. And you can just do your job well. This is the approach we adhere to, since whole people do not need to prove to anyone.
LDaily Why did you learn over the years of practice, and how did you influence the market?
M. Syutkin After 10 years, after the creation of the S & P, I can say that we continue changing the “rules of the game” in Ukraine, protecting the business and teaching it to defend by itself. And if you ask me: “Does it work?”, I can say with 100% confidence that this alone works. Specific actions, specific personalities and specific victories that change the world view in all “players” of the market, without exception.
We are even pleased that we are being copied and tried to duplicate our actions. For example, it was the company “Suitkin and Partners” that first began to operate with such concepts as anti-ridership, investment riskiness, black lawyers, asset securitization, risk minimization, and apply all this in practice. And today this terminology has already taken root in the market. Moreover, we do not just change the market, leading a client, we live our lives together with him. From start to finish. And this is not business – it’s much more. After all, our clients trust us not only their business, but sometimes freedom, and even life. This is a very great responsibility and honor for us. Therefore, people, which have gone through difficult conflicts with us, became close people for us, not just clients.
LDaily: What are the personality traits that unite your clients?
M. Syutkin: First of all, people are united by courage, and this applies to all spheres of life.
These are people who challenge themselves because they do not like the rules imposed on them from outside. More often than not, we are confronted with corruption, betrayal of partners or close people, and those who turn to us are exactly the category of people who do not holding back about problems, but trying to solve them, change their lives, controlling them, and all this exclusively within the law.
LDaily: Nikolay, you have now told us about yourself. Your clients are so similar to you …
M. Syutkin: Yes, there really is a similarity. It simply cannot be in another way.. A strong person cannot trust someone who is weaker, less intelligent and less volitional.
LDaily: It is possible to draw an analogy between you and the doctors?
M. Syutkin: Yes, it is possible, but recently, we like the analogy with the mountain ski instructor more. He also saves lives, but only those people’s lives who are so smart to understand that without him they cannot go down.
LDaily I know that your second passion is triathlon. How did you come to the triathlon?
M. Syutkin: Since my childhood I’ve been in sports and up to 15 years old I was already a candidate for master of sports in rowing. However, there was a period when I did not support my physical development. But the moment came when I realized that changes were needed and I went back to sports again.
Why triathlon? Probably, fate: when I first tried that set of exercises that triathlon includes, I realized that it has a deep philosophy, personal growth, and of course, those discoveries that I make during the competitions, I transfer to business processes and even to communicate with clients.
LDaiy What does triathlon give you?
M. Syutkin: I personally get a lot of training. It is not only high self-organization, development of will power or just a good physical form, it is also an understanding that it is impossible to grow, to raise the level in business without developing in other spheres. And it’s not just about sports (it’s this sphere that worked for me), I’m talking about any other development, for someone it might be poetry, vocals, dances, chess, music and so on. What’s important here is different – whatever you are addicted to, you will grow only when you raise the complexity level.
A simple rule that works for me is trouble-free – to achieve something big, you need to start small and gradually increase your speed. Now for me, triathlon is a way of life. What is most difficult for me in sports is to do a little “feat” every day, and only in this way can you win a big game.
LDaily: Could you draw a parallel between sports competitions and participation in corporate conflicts? Can we talk about the similarity of the above processes?
M. Syutkin: There are such competitions called OTTILO. This is one of the hardest in the world one-day endurance race and in translation from Swedish means “from island to island.” It takes place on the first Monday in September in Sweden, between the 26 islands of the Stockholm Archipelago in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea. A team of two participants swims from island to island, and by land moves by running. Participants must overcome more than 50 stages, winding a total of 10 km swimming and 65 km of running. Time to overcome the distance – no more than 14 hours.
But the most difficult thing in this race is that the pair is tied with one cord (tsaheylu), which means that the entire distance and finish depends on the well-coordinated work of both team members. According to the rules of the race, athletes should not be separated from each other by more than 50 m on land and 5 m in water. Full trust between athletes is not a whim, but a necessity, self-sacrifice, help, coaching, sharing food and water, and only then can we talk about the passage of such a race.
If we talk about a complex war, our work with customers is very similar to this race, and it can only be won together, provided one hundred percent of the bestowal and trust in each other.
LDaily What’s more exciting than triathlon?
M. Syutkin: Good question (smiling). I have a number of hobbies that are not related to my professional activities. The first is the lawyer.ua portal, – a service designed to help anyone (regardless of his or her income) to get round-the-clock access to qualified legal services. The main goal is to raise the sense of justice of ordinary people, help them understand their rights and teach them how to use these rights.
The second hobby is Lawyers Academy – an educational platform. It is the Academy that is called upon to upgrade the qualifications of both staff and CEO. Especially popular in business are corporate programs, trainings, seminars on various topics.
But my true passion and crush is the publication of Lawyers Daily. The idea to create Lawyers Daily came to me at the moment of realizing that there is no place in the country where the first persons of big business could freely and openly share their own experience, practice, successes and failures in business. To my great regret, journalism has practically ceased to exist in its pure form, the selection of people who give interviews in many publications is based on commercial calculations. We want to allow business to talk about important things for them, to provide an opportunity to freely express themselves and determine their values and mission.
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