One day, when you are at the top stage of your life, at the top of your strength and ideas, you can make a decision, to create something big, and to change the world forever. And as a woman? The present world is full of immense opportunities for you. Now, you can be a queen not only for your vicinity. The whole world can recognize your face, if you will follow your instincts, if you will free yourself from burdens and distraction. Those two women did… and the rest is history.
Two years earlier, it was the Spring, and a chateau in French Alps, near Mont Blanc, was temporarily emptied. The skiers left, and the tourists, eager to cross the mountains on foot, still didn’t arrive. The place was perfect for some confidential talk.
“I am glad that you made it here, to the top of the world!” Caroline welcomed her guest, her old collaborator and even friend Clara, that Risk analyst, who was fired under strange circumstances, but yet the same day, she was rehired again, to save the company from high financial losses, when the Swiss financial market was expected to tremble.
“Nice to meet you again, Caroline! How many years is it, four? When we met the last time? But you chose really strange place for having a coffee and a friendly reunion! My borrowed car is not completely offroad, you know! But fortunately, the roads were almost clear of snow, so I made it without falling down, to the valley. After all, it’s good to get out of Prague for a few days, and a fresh air will benefit me,” Clara explained her reasons, why she accepted this unusual invitation.
“With clear minds, we will be able to think clearly, and they have a good selection of French vintage wines here. There is an interesting business project I would like to discuss with you, where you could participate. So, are you accommodated already? Let’s go out, for a walk before dinner!”
It was afternoon, and perfect weather. The sky was blue, and the sun still shined. Both women felt really good. At first, they went in silence, maybe thinking about all that matters they left in Prague temporarily.
“Rudolph will arrive tomorrow too, he had still some necessary work to do. But I wanted to talk to you privately at first,” Caroline said carefully.
“And he is in that mysterious project, too?” Clara asked with curiosity, looking to the snowbound mountains around.
“Well, he is, and he has to be. We make the effective, creative team together, I think. Fortunately, my fiancé is not jealous! I am getting married, you know,” Caroline explained.
“Congratulations, that’s great! And when do you have your wedding?”
“Soon, but let me be honest with you, Clara – that current business project is much more important for me, than this marriage, relationship and having a family. My life priorities are set clearly. I had some time to think, during all that long winter evenings, under the grey sky in Prague, so sad… then, I decided, what I want in life!
Something more, than a satisfying relationship, although it’s important, yes. But I want to create something more, than kids. I would like to leave some distinctive mark here, in the world. Otherwise, why did I study so long, all that schools at home and abroad? Why did I get all that high qualification and wide work experience? I want to use it, when I still have time! So any family will be postponed, until this mission will be accomplished.
This time, Clara, it will be different. I don’t want to work for someone else, for some corporation, regardless how high in the Forbes magazine rank. I want to have complete freedom in creativity and actions, not to be confined by opinions of someone else, who plays my wise boss, suppressing my ideas all the time. I want to create something big, from the scratch. And this conversation is one of the first small stones to start building a foundation.
Me and Rudolph, we have a strong spiritual bond together, you know. It makes me believe, how a diverse team of woman and man can be effective. We created this vision together, and we know, how dependent we are on each other. I believe in balance, and this is the perfect way to achieve it,” Caroline concluded her thoughts.
Clara was not upset, to listen to this long monologue of her companion. She was rather an introvert, and she liked to listen more, than to speak. But she understood, why she was invited here. Caroline and Rudolph want to be the creators, and her mission will be to hold them back, to return them to the ground, if necessary, to balance things. In that moment, Clara knew, that this will be something really interesting, and really big, even unique.
“But I will tell you all the details during the dinner,” Caroline continued. “For now, just a simple data: in two years, to be placed in Top 10 of the Czech corporations. In ten years, to be placed in Top 10 of the worldwide corporations.”
Clara expected anything – but this seemed absolutely silly! But to have some high goals is important, she thought. So she decided to avoid all pesimism and negativity.
“For goals like that, you will need some very special business methods, Caroline. I presume, that you have prepared them?”
“Yes. That courageous statement I gave you is firmly connected to them. As I told you – this will be done differently. So the achievements can be bigger and faster. We will simply omit all non-beneficial stuff, and on the contrary, we will use very effective, publicly unknown work methods, used never before, both for business development and for advanced training of our workforce. By the way, your experience in psychology will be necessary to create this new strategy. That is the reason why we need you,” Caroline said openly.
Clara was really clever – she already started to understand, what Caroline means. She wants to make their employees to be the tools, and carriers of the message, so the Corporation can grow really quickly.
“And the capital? Some foreign funding?” she redirected the conversation.
“This is the funny part you will like the most,” Caroline laughed. “But it’s getting dark! Let’s go back. Time for the dinner!”
They ate some local delicatesse, and Caroline’s selection of the wine turned out to be very wise. That evenings in the mountains have some real magic, when you sit in a cozy mountain cabin, enjoying the warmth of a fireplace nearby. And the women were almost alone in the dining room, so they felt, that the world is only theirs, when they were sitting so high, as some queens. But there was a plan, how to become queens literally… and soon.
“The whole plan has several stages, so the necessary support and financial, human and social capital can be secured, to achieve the steady growth,” Caroline resumed her presentation. She took a napkin, and wrote all planned phases:
1) Operations, 2) Fashion, 3) Security, 4) Technology 5) Merging with state
“In phase One, we will establish our Internal Operations on all necessary levels. We will create a shell corporation with unclear ownership structure, where we will work as simple employees. Rudolph says, that this will be much safer, because there will be much pressure on the company leaders in the future – even attempts of hostile takeovers, you know the business world, it’s full of hungry and ruthless sharks, always lurking for a prey.
But this way, we can operate openly, perfectly covered, and still, we can be seen. We have to be seen, because we need several basic persons to create all this thing. The basic number is seven people, who will start an avalanche.
I will do Business Development and public presentations, positioned as Executive Director. Rudolph, Business director, responsible for our overall activities, branding, manufacturing, etc. You, Risk assessment and HR advanced training, as I indicated to you before. That’s three – and that’s the core of all this. Only we three will know absolutely everything about real company structure, operations and plans. Only we three will have no secrets before each other, that’s necessary.
Rudolph and I, we will be seen – you will be hidden, deep in the offices. That’s how you like it anyway, and moreover, we need at least one person, who is out of all radars, so she can arrange things covertly, if necessary. Me and Rudolph will be under stage lights, so our maneuvering will be difficult – but you will maintain your freedom of actions. You will sign no documents. Your name will stay out of all this.
If you agree, you will be filed as a mere Senior Analyst, not the director of the department – we will secure a puppet for that. You have to stay out of the attention. We can always replace a director, but not you.”
“That arrangement would suit me well,” Clara acknowledged. “And the other four persons? Can you trust them?”
“Well, Clara… that is the tricky part. To trust someone. to share secrets with him or her… you know, how often people disappoint us. But in this matter, we can’t afford this. We can’t afford any changing of their minds. We need them to stay firm, in that key positions, where we need them. Of course, that we will give them money, but that’s not enough. We need to motivate them, and to persuade them to stay.
There is only one certain way, how to bind people to your idea – persuasion, and steady pressure. So we will use our significant others, who can’t run away so easily, and we can influence them daily. I know, that it sounds harsh… but we are not talking about a game here! This project needs fully dedicated people, and we have to create them. So the appropriate pressure is necessary.”
“Including your husband… pardon, fiancé? Caroline, aren’t you going too far? This all sounds like a… religious organization,” Clara shook her head in disagreement.
“Yes, including him. He is good in taxes, and we need him. So I will persuade him, to follow this idea. If you are a leader, you have to lead. And if you need some trustworthy persons, where can you get them? Using an advertisement in a newspaper? No, you need people, which are close to you, you know them, and you can control them to some extent. You can’t find anybody more suitable.
This is the only way, how to do it, Clara. Just try to look at this issue differently – how many work places we can create! And our people will be happy! Maybe we will have more satisfied partners, when we will work together… there could be massive advantages.”
“Fine, we are four, with your husband, who will secure taxes. Who’s next?”
“Rudolph’s girlfriend is an experienced fashion model, she will help us to infiltrate the VIP society, where we can get many social assets and investors. Number Five.
Number Six is somebody for our Internal Affairs department. This place will be very important, even critical in later stages. So we need somebody reliable, who knows all that Security stuff. I know a suitable person, but there is a problem – she would come to the close contact with the most sensitive information, but she served in the Police, and I am not sure, how to persuade her to leave all that ‘Justice’ stuff from her mind. I suggest, let’s dicuss this issue with Rudolph. His male insight can be helpful.
Number Seven will be some social pillar, a mature VIP in her forties or fifties, who will provide us a cover of reliability, and who will support our Corporation with CSR activities, charity etc., to spread our good perception by the public. She should be a respected woman, a person of firm character, but still, our asset. We need to control her. We can’t hire her just like that – no, we will have to persuade her to become one of us, and follow the same rules.
Honestly, Clara, numbers Six and Seven will need your personal care. You will have to manufacture an effective persuasion strategy. I mean… really effective.”
“You don’t mean some decent mindwashing, do you? The same way you want to create another assets, including your husband?” Clara sighed.
“Let’s use some more soft definition, please… but… yes, this is the only way, how to achieve it. Your comparison to religious organizations was very precise. We need something like that, not only for these two persons, but also for other people, hundreds and even thousands of them, our future employees. Something effective and working on everybody, regardless of gender, education, age, etc.
If this special thing should stick together, if we should make a perfect team, there must be a common value, shared with all people participating. Usual employees are useless for us – we need assets, who will spread our values further.”
“I don’t like this, Caroline. I really don’t,” Clara denied this idea.
“Let’s discuss this suggestion later, with Rudolph. This was his idea, anyway. Now, let’s move forward.
Phase Two is entering the Fashion Business, and making our name there. Why exactly the Fashion? We have suitable assets, there is much to acquire and conquer, and moreover, the Fashion is universal for everybody, so our reach can be immense, even internationally. The Fashion is quite stable branch, and it’s not controversial. Perfect for steady growth and to be liked and respected by the people! We will be able to infiltrate the VIP world perfectly! We can pay a Hollywood star to wear our dress on Oscars or something. Anybody can be bought. And women will love us, we will give them the self-confiedence they need!
I thought about a good name of our brand: Woman‘s Destiny. Not bad, what do you say? Any woman can become a queen… we will help them with that!
Here, we can get some basic necessary capital. I think that 5 millions USD will suffice for the next stage.”
“I don’t know anything about Fashion, but this could work. Anyway, where will you get a starting capital? I asked you once already, but you didn’t reply. Is there a catch, or what?”
“Seven of us will provide some basic money, enough to start – let’s say, 50.000 USD each of us, and I will add another 250.000 USD of my savings. That 500.000 USD should be sufficient to enter the Czech fashion market. Don’t forget, that this money will be invested mostly into our human assets and advertisement, to attract another investors, not for building a factory. The merchandise will be acquired abroad, and cheaply. This phase is a relax.”
“You are indicating, that the ‘Security’ phase will be harder,” Clara guessed.
“Well, dear friend – in this phase, we will start to play a big game. You can imagine, how much money lies in Technology – but it also means a very close interest of all Security and Intelligence services. So before we will start our Technology phase, we need some high-profile protection from all sides. We will prepare our playground in advance.
Imagine, what will happen, when we will come with some Technology miracle. All their agents will try to infiltrate us, to steal our secrets. We will be under their satellites, radars, and microscopes. They will try to corrupt our people, to corrupt us. This has to be prevented, otherwise they will be able to cripple our operations and even take over our Corpoation. And how to achieve this complex task?
By working with some foreign Intelligence service, but not only one! We will cooperate with several of them, to make them all distracted, fighting each other, playing their games. And they won’t be able to touch us, because as soon as one of this competitors would come close to us, pushing us, we will alarm the others, and they will take care of the matter.
This way, we can keep control, and even to acquire very powerful allies from Washington, Moscow and Beijing. They won’t control us – we will be able to negotiate a better position, to be partners for them, not their toys, tools or slaves.”
“This is crazy,” Clara noted.
“Rudolph will explain this to you better. Also the Technology phase will be his realm. We will come with some shocking invention, even fictional, so our reputation and worldwide fame will grow rapidly. And you can imagine, how much money we will get from this. Plus, don’t forget – we will have the necessary security cover from all sides. So our power and influence will be still ours.
The last phase is Merging with the state. We will share our perks with them, but they’ll have to clear some executive positions for our people. So we will be able to control even a state structures, for our interests. And they will take it, because in that time, we will be high positioned, and they will be attracted. They will try to take control of us first, using their security services, but they will fail, and later, they will rather submit to us.
Well, and this is the end of the tale, folks!” Caroline smiled, and emptied her glass of wine. She waved at the waiter, to bring another bottle.
“It was a very intensive presentation, Caroline!” Clara appreciated. “I need more wine, to wash down the shock!”
“The long journey is awaiting us, and I would like to invite you to go with us, Clara. This will be a project of our lives. We can fail, but at least once in life, we can be proud of all our achievements, because they will be ours, do you understand? Only ours. It all begins with big dreams… but as you have heard, there is a particular way, how to achieve them. As I said – in two years, Top Ten Czech. In ten years, Top Ten worldwide!”