"A New Leader" Tal Garih


This month, as the guest of our column "We are travelling with Lexus", Tal Garih, one of the third generation representatives of Alarko Group of Companies, answers our questions.

Mr. Garih represents the third generation of Alarko Group. He works as Strategic Planning Manager at Alarko Holding A.Ş., one the most-established groups of Turkey. He is 33 years old, and is a young, positive and highly dynamic person. Having graduated with a double major in the Departments of International Relations and Psychology of Virginia University in 2007, Mr. Garih completed his Master's Degree in the field of Business Administration and Politics at New York University with honor degree.. In addition to his mission at Alarko, he also serves as Chairman of the Board and Faculty Member of Faculty of Business Administration at Bahçeşehir University and as Board Member of Yenibirlider (A New Leader) Association. Having served at various positions at Alarko since 2010, Tal Garih has also made outstanding career achievements following in the footsteps of his deceased grand-father Üzeyir Garih.

Gentleman: You are the third generation representative of Alarko Group. Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Tal Garih: First of all, I would like to start by saying that I feel great honor and pride to be together with you here. Then, let me introduce myself shortly. I am 33 years old. I have spent 22 years of these 33 years in 5 five different countries, and 11 years in Turkey. After working at various positions in the fields of energy and tourism at Alarko Group of Companies, now I work as Strategic Planning Manager of the Holding and we are shaping the future of our company together with our team. In addition to my responsibility at Alarko, I serve as the Chairman of the Board and Member of Faculty of Business Administration of Bahçeşehir University. I have been giving Global Strategic Management lectures in the university's MBA programs for the last three years. In addition, we have been continuing our efforts together with a very valuable team consisting of private sector representatives in order to reinforce the standards and procedures available at the University's Faculty of Business Administration and are reshaping the future of the business administration education. Besides, we are also managing Yenibirlider Association together with my colleagues. This association aims to build the eco-system of Turkey's new generation business world. We provide high-potential youth with the facilities, opportunities and infrastructure they need. We are conducting joint projects together with Turkish leading private companies, various NGOs and public bodies. We are carrying out all works altogether with a lot of fun and in a meaningful manner.

G: You are now working as Strategic Planning Manager at Alarko Group of Companies. What are your priorities?
T.G: Rather than focusing on sudden crises, we are shaping the future of our company in collaboration with our team. Where should we stand three, five or ten years later and what should we do to secure that? What kind of systems should we establish? What kind of processes and what kind of a culture should we ensure? These are the questions I have been trying to answer. We have consolidated all business development processes under the strategic planning department. Thus, we are now considering business development not only in financial terms, but also in strategic terms. Unfortunately, only 21% of the companies all around the world have a strategy department which is in charge of managing their future, and sadly most of them focus on urgent works. However, each piece of work is urgent. We should spend time on significant works as much as we do on urgent works. We should keep pace with the swift tempo of the day in order to focus on loyalty, culture, training and, improve the vision of employees and share the future. For example, I am interested in our company's digital transformation project. We started producing quite meaningful works in this area as I took up my new position.

G: Alarko Group of Companies is one of the important groups of Turkey. In which areas do you currently operate?
T.G: As the Holding, we are operating in the fields of energy, engineering, tourism, air conditioning and real estate. In the field of energy, we are engaged in the generation of electricity using various sources, trading and distribution of electricity, and in the air conditioning industry, we are partners with the Carrier company, which has invented air conditioner. We have the Hillside brand in tourism, a real estate investment company and we also continue the construction of infra- and super-structure projects such as metro, highway projects and treatment facilities.

G: How was 2018 for your Group?
T.G: Both our country and the world have been going through difficult times in economic terms, but still we have achieved most of our targets and have completed significant projects. The most important development for us was that Karabiga Thermal Power Plant with an installed capacity of 1.320 MW started generating power with full capacity. Our Contracting Group signed the Grand Almaty Peripheral Road Project, which is a part of the Western China - Western Europe Highway Project, and thus started the construction process which will continue 50 months. This project is the first major-scale PPP (Private-Public Partnership) in Kazakhstan, and has been launched thanks to the support of major international finance institutions such as EBRD and IFC. In addition to this new project, our deliveries are still going on and progresses are being made in various phases of Istanbul and Ankara Metro construction. In our Industry and Trade Group, Alarko Carrier has received various awards in the national and international area. It has been selected the most prestigious brand of the air conditioning industry three times in a row. The successful and high-quality tourism service that has been provided by Hillside Beach Club to its visitors for long years has now been certified with the Certificate of Excellence issued by British Airways. We believe that it is useful not to put all your eggs in one basket especially at these critical times and to perform a good risk analysis. We prefer to be sound and reliable instead of ranking number one. We continue our journey with strong and confident steps.

G: Do you intend to enter new sectors? What is your vision of the future?
T.G: It will not be possible for us to compete with robots in future. However, if we invest in our capabilities that may not be overtaken by artificial intelligence, we then can make sure that we will always be needed. As the company, we will adapt our human force, knowledge and investment philosophy to Industry 4.0 concepts, and continue to develop in the areas we are familiar with and lead others. For example, we focus on energy investments such as hydroelectricity and wind power, and consider the available opportunities. We are blending organizational memory and change management approaches, and integrate them in a single structure. Various leading think tanks estimate that nearly half of the existing business segments will be eliminated and replaced with others by 2033. We all have to prepare our plans carefully in this direction. Seven years later, 76% of the human force is expected to consist of millennials, Generation Y and Z. Thus, it will be more important day by day for organizations to know the youth and to shape themselves according to them. Only within two years, in other words by 2020, 43% of the American human force is expected to consist of freelancers. This is quite high in numbers, and we are shifting towards an open talent economy every passing day.

G: Let's turn back to you again. You are the Chairman of the Board and Faculty Member of the Faculty of Business Administration of Bahçeşehir University. We also would like to hear about these experiences of yours.
T.G: I have been giving Global Strategic Management lectures in the university's MBA and executive MBA programs for the last three years. The university has a highly visionary staff. We have understood that we do not have to discover America again in order to improve the education in Turkey. An examination of the top education institutions of the world such as Princeton, Harvard and NYU has revealed that the boards of directors of the Graduate Schools of Business of these institutions consist of prominent figures from the private sector. Not only these people provide valuable guidance for these leading universities and students, but also a connection is ensured between the private sector and the academia. At Faculty of Business Administration of Bahçeşehir University, we have created a board of directors which includes quite strong figures from the private sector. This board of directors has gained a momentum in their efforts for the last two and a half years. Now we are publishing a book titled "What kind of a MBA?" (Nasıl bir MBA?) on the future of education. Besides, we are renewing the curriculum and integration Industry 4.0 courses. In summary, we are renewing and updating the MBA program. In addition, even if we conduct various other projects, the most important of the innovations is that representatives of the private sector give lectures in MBA programs, and thus shape the MBA programs in administrative aspects.

G: You are one of the managers of Yenibirlider Association. Would you please tell us a little bit about Yenibirlider Association? What have you been doing so far?
T.G: The founders of this association are my cousin Cem Garih and Kerem Kamışlı. Thanks to their vision and our strong executive team, we offer university students with internship opportunities at our corporate supporters operating in different fields. We are selecting young professionals of around 30 years old who work at our corporate supporters and who are considered for top management positions, and we are conducting a certified leadership development program designed specifically in collaboration with Boğaziçi University. We ensure that young professionals and interns go through cross trainings and mentorship received from the Chairmen of the Board or coordinators of Turkey's leading companies both in mentor and mentee positions. In addition, we are organizing one-to-one development programs, interviews, leadership camps and cultural visits together with life coaches. Instead of touching lots of people at Yenibirlider, we are trying to guide a few people effectively and are working in close cooperation with all stakeholders. It has been 6 years since the association was founded, and lots of valuable people and organizations now share our dream of founding a new-generation ecosystem for the business world.

G: How does Tal spend his spare time? Would you also tell us about your hobbies?
T.G: I love spending time in nature. Spending time with my dogs in forest or walking by the coast with them is so much fun for me. I do Yoga and Kung Fu as sports. In addition, I also give importance to travelling around and discovering the world as much as possible. I enjoy exploring different cultures and being together with people. Of course, I also find time for my family and friends, for books, personal development, music and some TV shows.

G: Let's close our conversation with automobiles. What kind of cars do you like? What kinds of specifications should your car have?
T.G: At the end of the day, all that matters is that you should be able to get from A to B in a comfortable and safe manner. Feeling safe is one of the most basic instincts humans possess. It is important not to stand out among others, and I also believe in the evil eye. Besides, attitude and stance are also of vital importance particularly in the business world. Lexus is also a successful brand. Now companies like Apple, Amazon and Google invest in this area. The concept called "sharing economy" will have a significant impact on transportation together with the improving technology in near future.

"A New Leader" Tal Garih

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