World Class Heroes for Russia: Olga Sloutsker and World Class Fitness Chain

Published 01 Jan 2004
Reference 5180
Industry Sporting Goods
Region Other Regions
Summary

Case Writers: Irina BOUDRINA, Elizabeth FLORENT-TREACY and Konstantin KOROTOV This case focuses primarily on a specific leadership style, based on an underlying system of values. Olga Sloutsker, founder and CEO of World Class gyms, has twin desires—to mother clients and employees, and to “seduce” them. Olga Sloutsker's leadership style involves dispensing calibrated doses of maternal concern and correction. She motivates her employees to excel not by offering extravagant material rewards, but by telling them that each person’s efforts will contribute to the greater good of the Russian people. She leads by flamboyant example; she has created a corporate culture that is entirely professional, but at the same time vaguely resembles a kind of crusade led by a Russian Joan of Arc. As Olga Sloutsker’s business matures, and as other competitors enter the market, her vision has grown exponentially. Her vision—crusade—is to improve the general health of all Russians. Her battle plan has three main thrusts: to spread her expertise through consulting; to train her employees to increasingly professional levels, and send some of them—imbued with her philosophy—out into the world; and to recruit Russian politicians to her cause.

Teaching objectives

As a descriptive case, the material provides insight into a uniquely Russian business leadership style. Because the case does not focus on specific decision points, students are encouraged to think more deeply about the reasons for Olga Sloutsker's success. Key learning points are: the way in which Sloutsker's personal experiences have shaped her career choices and leadership style; an evaluation of the effectiveness of her leadership; a thorough understanding of the specific Russian context in which World Class operates; and potential future challenges Sloutsker faces.

Keywords
  • AR2004
  • AR0304
  • RD0104
  • ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN RUSSIA
  • RUSSIAN BUSINESS LEADERSHIP
  • RUSSIAN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
  • WOMEN IN BUSINESS