Address given by Dr. Adizes at the granting of his honorary doctorate by the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia on December 1, 2005
Dear Rector Martinovski, Your Excellencies, faculty, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to receive the honorary doctorate you are bestowing on me, especially since it is granted by the university of my birthplace.
I was born here in the Jewish community near Kameni Most. I believe I am probably one of the last surviving people who were at the concentration camp in Monopol and one of the last survivors of a glorious Jewish community that lived in Macedonia for thousand of years and perished in the ovens of Treblinka.
If there was a way to recognize this honorary doctorate I would dedicate it to their memory.
It would be appropriate, I believe, for me in this short speech to convey the essence of my life’s work, the kernel of knowledge I have created and published.
What is the secret of success?
We could define success anyway we choose-whether of an individual, a family, a business, or a country.
I found out that there is a formula: It is the ratio of external integration to internal disintegration.
Let me explain:
External integration for an individual is called career planning — how the individual places his personal strengths to serve needs of an organization or industry. The better the fit, the more successful will be the career. For business it is called marketing: matching the capabilities of the business to the needs of the marketplace. And for a country it is called industrial policy — what the country should focus its resources on and how it integrates with world economy.
Internal disintegration is manifested in internal politics, miscommunication, or destructive conflicts that plague the system.
Internal disintegration is a function of mutual trust and respect — or for an individual, it is self trust and respect.
Now why does this formula predict the success of any system: an individual, a family, a business, or a country?
Because we all know from physics that energy at any point in time is fixed. There is no perpetual motion.
What I discovered is that this fixed energy is allocated in any system predictably: first the energy goes to deal with internal disintegration and only whatever is left goes to deal with external integration.
Take an individual. Assume he inherited lots of money from his late parents and got a great education. Will he succeed in life? It depends. If he has no self respect and self trust, all that money and education is a waste because he is spending most of his energy between his ears, in his mind: “What should I do? Who am I? What do people say I should do?” etc. He is paralyzed.
Take the next example: Will a family succeed? It depends. If there is no respect and no mutual trust among members of the family, they will destroy all their wealth — if there is any left after their internal fighting.
How about a business? The same applies. If marketing is fighting sales, and sales is fighting production, and accounting is fighting everyone, when the client arrives they might say: “Come tomorrow, I am exhausted today or too busy sitting in meetings, and committees are fighting everyone.”
How about a country? Japan used to be number one. And Japan has no natural resources. Switzerland is considered a successful country and what do they have? Snow and cuckoo clocks!! But both of these countries have a culture of mutual trust and respect. Have you ever seen a disrespectful Japanese person? They disagree with you and you do not even know it. And labor management and government are working in full cooperation. That is mutual trust. Same with Switzerland. They are strong in banking and pharmaceuticals. Would you invest in a bank you do not trust or buy from a pharmacy you do not respect? Why is Switzerland not Yugoslavia and Yugoslavia not Switzerland? Why did Yugoslavia fall apart and Switzerland did not, even though they have Italians, Germans, and Frenchmen together? (The Germans and the French have been fighting and killing each other for centuries.) Because Switzerland has a culture of mutual trust and respect.
The biggest asset a person, a family, a business, or a country can have is not money, not even natural resources or technology. It is culture: it is who you are. It is the existence or lack of existence of mutual trust and respect. Can we respect people whose religion, culture, or language is different from ours? Can we trust each other and find common interest to work together and support each other? If the answer is no, our resources, our energy, our life will be wasted in internal fighting, and we will never get anywhere beyond death, misery and pain.
If the answer is “yes”, there will be pain, because it is not easy to live and cooperate with others who think and act differently from you and to find common interests when naturally we all have different interests.
But as a Hindu expression says: The road to heaven is through hell. Problems are like shadows: If you run away they chase you. And if you chase them, they run away. The role of management and leadership, whether of a family or a business or a country, is to develop and nourish the culture of mutual trust and mutual respect. We share the space we live in. We either develop it together or we destroy each other.
Thank you and may God bless us all.