Governance suggestions from Turkey to the world

Governance suggestions from Turkey to the world

German Chancellor Angela Merkel let the cat out of the bag the other day. She confessed that Europe was experiencing its most serious crisis since World War II. For some, the economic crisis in Europe is actually a political crisis.

If you listen to Dr. Yilmaz Argüden, the head of ARGE Consulting Company, known for its management strategies, and the chair of the executive board of Rothschild-Turkey, what has happened to Europe is totally the result of a “governance” problem.

Frankly speaking, I have the impression that this word is not adequately comprehended, moreover, known in Turkey. Argüden claims the situation is the same in Europe and in the world also.

For example, he thinks it is a “governance” problem that France is among those countries that have a permanent veto power in the United Nations Security Council and that India does not.

When I met with Argüden for breakfast last weekend, I asked him to define governance for me. I wanted a definition of the thing I had exaggerated in my mind from Argüden, as the unforgettable character of famous French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince” asked the pilot who crash-landed in the desert, “If you please, draw me a sheep!”

“Governance is a concept above management. It means a mechanism how the administration is to be monitored and how it is to be directed,” he answered.

In this mechanism, there are state agencies, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, companies and indeed individuals. Consistency, responsibility, accountability, transparency, impartiality and efficiency are indispensable to the mechanism.

Argüden has been obsessed with the “quality” issue in Turkey for years and he has been among the founders of Kal-Der, an association that seeks to implement an “excellence culture” in society and raise Turkey’s competitive power.

Recently, as you can guess, he has been focusing on this “governance” issue.

Two years ago he wrote a book titled “Boardroom Secrets: Corporate Governance For Quality Of Life” and had it translated into English. The British magazine Professional Manager evaluated it as among the best books written on corporate management.

This time Argüden has written directly in English: “Keys to Governance… Strategic Leadership for Quality of Life.”

When I took the book, I saw several known names among those who had evaluated the book: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and economist-writer Jacques Attali, Coca Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent, Honorary Dean of Harvard Business School John McArthur and Nobel laureate and inventor of microcredit Muhammad Yunus.

I asked Argüden why he wrote the book in English and why he had it published in the U.K. instead of Turkey.

“I think at the basis of the crises being experienced in the world lies the issue of governance. I wanted to show with this book that some people from Turkey can generate thoughts on the topic, can be opinion leaders and make suggestions,” he said.

Indeed, it is quite significant that a contribution comes from Turkey on the topic of “governance,” which is a concept also loosely comprehended in the world.

I congratulate Yilmaz Argüden, who wishes to share his ideas with the entire world on this difficult-to-understand concept