Mirjana Prljević, an international and world-renowned consultant for Strategic Positioning, said in an interview for the ADRIA portal that Montenegro should opt for the concept of Singapore or Switzerland rather than Monaco because it has great potential.
At the beginning of the conversation, I would first like to congratulate you on the important recognition you recently received in Trebinje from the Association of the best teachers, teachers, and educators of the former Yugoslavia ANN EX-YU, which is the title of Ambassador of Education and the teaching profession. You are, without a doubt, a person of enormous reputation and incredible opportunities, and you could live and work anywhere, in much more developed countries. When did you develop the idea that you are more needed here than somewhere else and what was the turning point that decided Mirjana Prljević to return, at a time when the “brain drain” was popular?
Thank you very much, yes, you are right, I was really pleasantly surprised to see my work in the field of informal education through the author’s project Academy of Small Geniuses TESLA GENIUS, through which 2,400 children have passed so far, and I am grateful to those wonderful people who selflessly invest in our children, into our future. I highly appreciate their work. On the other hand, as a person who, from a young age, developed a deep sense of experiencing momentum, which is defined as the state of mind and the level of awareness of society, and to which I dedicated most of my life working in the field of positioning strategy, I saw the importance of my return as the leverage of activating other individuals with whom I would develop the core of the future concept, publicly presented today in the form of the concept Algorithm T.E.S.L.A. Many say that it was Nikola Tesla, hypothetically speaking, who brought me back to Belgrade and our region, which has its own explanation and could be said that way. For the last few years, I have been fully committed to the realization of the mentioned concept both in our area and around the world, with a clear attitude, which is that this proposal of an integrated matrix of human development should start from us and our areas. This also applies to the methodology by which I am recognized around the world in my field of GPS: Global Positioning Strategy, and the domains of Economy, Security, and Technology.
As you wrote in one of your books, you were always on Western Europe vs Eastern Europe relationship. Can we today, here and now, in our region, say that we have adopted something of the strict professional business that characterizes the “western side”, and what is it that the “eastern side” can impose as its model of success in business and work in?
You yourself know that I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of a good understanding of the terms we are talking about when we sit down with someone with the desire to establish a long-term business relationship. The essence of the concept of business in the West is not the same as that experienced in the East. During the last decades, it has been harmonized a lot, but there is still a significant area that needs to be worked on, especially with young people. We have a more relaxed approach to work based on the previous decades of life and business in socialist systems, while the West, primarily based on the right to private property, is different precisely in that foundation, which is the goal of business. When the goals are clear to partners coming from both sides, for example in trade, it is much easier to establish lasting relationships, while for strategic investments and joint partnerships, it is more difficult. In this sense, my experience, which I pass on during consultations with companies and state institutions, is primarily related to understanding the question: Why do I want to cooperate with someone from the West or the Far East, so that the answer to it gets the correct content? The creativity and serious potential in the IT sector that the East brings with it when combined with the discipline and clear organizational structure of the West give high results, at least that’s what reality says.
You are the author of the book Positioning Strategy as the Key to Success. It has been translated into several world languages. Let’s not miss the opportunity to ask you how, in your opinion, Montenegro has positioned itself strategically and do you see the possibility of some success in the times to come?
Yes, the fact that this book of mine – practicum is sold significantly more today than in 2004 when the first edition was published and that it is sold on all continents can be useful to all those who strive to improve their business or other organizational strategic position and themselves team and the Government of Montenegro. Today, everyone is positioning themselves, from the state, cities, and regions, to small and medium-sized enterprises, NGOs, and individuals. There are also Wine Routes, Cultural Heritage Routes, and many others. And all that together make up one country. I am of the opinion that Montenegro has a lot of potentials, only they are insufficiently visible in the region and even less on the world map. I have often been asked how much the size of the territory affects the strategic positioning of a country. And I have to tell you, that just like a company, a small or medium-sized company can become a significant factor in the world market if it brings its unique range of products or services to the highest standard and sets and defines it in its own branch, just like the state. Whether it is a small, medium, or large territory does not influence its strategic position as much as the wise and long-term sustainable goal it strives for.
This is currently what I do not see when it comes to Montenegro, and certainly, my advice is to better define development priorities in that field, the number one of which is Respect and Protection of the Environment. I say this because of the territorial configuration of the country’s terrain because when we strategists start the process of defining the overall positioning strategy of a country, we first look at the diagnostics, which is the territory and natural heritage, then the composition, structure, and level of education of the active population, and the economic portfolio of companies and entrepreneurs. The possibility of success in the future always depends on understanding the power of the present moment, as we say, that is, firstly, a good knowledge of the terrain and potential by those who lead the country, and then their level of vision for the development of those potentials in full capacity. Then it is much easier to define the next steps, which should be upgraded and built in a certain period, and give them a realistic dimension. Tourism, healthy food, healthy life, entertainment, yes, they can be development sectors, and that draws me more and more towards the realization that someone wants to bring the concept of development of one Monaco closer to Montenegro. However, I am of the opinion that due to the potential of the population and the exceptionally strong and well-positioned diaspora, Montenegro can make a winning combination at the world level and in other highly profitable development positions. Only if his leadership wants it, of course. Will is the most important element of any Strategy.
The business novel The New Algorithm of Serbia is one of those books that can be read in one breath. Can Montenegro, as well as the entire region, become part of that New Algorithm and, together with Serbia, make it possible to “sail with the helm towards a prosperous future?”
You are right, the novel carries within itself a representation of how we see Serbia in the year 2043, i.e. one hundred years after the death of Nikola Tesla. The novel was written by engineer Branko Dimitrijević and I, interweaving decades of knowledge and experience at the international level in the domains of Quality Management systems, i.e. Strategic Positioning. In that name, in addition to the “Disk of Principles, Needs and Values” which you can develop both on a personal and organizational level, other important concepts necessary for the sustainable development of an organization or a country has been covered through clear examples, such as desire, plan, leadership, competencies, study, service, habits, and others. And of course, finally, the strategies crowned by our proposal to establish a T.E.S.L.A. Institute. All this is actually the concept of the Algorithm of the same name. On the other hand, recently, within the Danube Business Forum 2022, which follows the implementation of the Danube Strategy in our region from the very beginning, I was invited to lead a Panel entitled – TESLINE TECHNOLOGIES: A chance for the Western Balkans? It was the first time that the official representatives of technological and economic sciences met with Teslans, if I may say so. The power of this moment and the conversation itself lies in the fact that ether technologies with the proper implementation of the Algorithm T.E.S.L.A. which covers five interconnected fields: Technology, Education, Science, Love, and Activism provide inspiration and a call to the region to increasingly connect and unite in this field for common projects and goals. Here I am talking about something that I myself live at the management level, which is Quantum Management, and when you combine this important management skill with Tesla’s heritage, primarily patents, you get the opportunity to make a Quantum Leap as a society. It is the next step that should awaken the consciousness of our people in the region to the realization of how strong we are when we are united for the same development goals. This provides an opportunity, mostly for young people, to understand why they should stay in the country or return when they go to gain new knowledge and experience abroad.
How do you see Montenegro and the region in ten years?
Following on from the previous question regarding the analysis of the strategic position of Montenegro, I would rather opt for the concept of Singapore or Switzerland than Monaco, only that is up to the citizens of Montenegro and their leadership to say. They certainly have potential.
What inspired you, and what inspires you today to work hard, often around the clock?
When young people realize their mission and when they receive the gifts to develop their potential as much as possible on the life path of that mission, then there is no age or working time, everything becomes one and you align yourself with the wave that you have chosen to carry you, of course, carefully listening to the situation around and at the level of humanity. Then the relationship micro-macro, that is, you – society becomes clear and your pure intentions find the right measures for their realization. For me, my mission is the biggest inspiration.
Is Nikola Teska one of your role models and sources that influenced your work?
Yes, and to the greatest extent compared to anyone else outside of my family. My family gave me fundamental values and role models for the development of my identity and the integrity of my personality, while Nikola Tesla, whose legacy I first got to know when I was sixteen, brought knowledge and techniques that developed my potential to the maximum. First and foremost are the importance of self-discipline and work habits, dedication and will, intuition, and the realization that we are individuals in the universe, small but significant, and that the most important thing is to develop that personal value that brings benefits to the entire society. Techniques such as Mastering the mind’s eye and Visualization have contributed to the fact that I can deal with the field of Strategy at a much higher level than I acquired through formal education. So thank you to Nikola Tesla, whose full time to realize the importance of his legacy and work is yet to come.
Finally, the last, but not least, question – what are the principles that would lead us to the integration of “Western” efficiency and effectiveness with the “Eastern” spirit? Are we really East to West and West to East…
I am of the opinion that we live the values of both parties and that we are free as much as we fight for that freedom, and before that, we should definitely define it, because today freedom is a very undefined concept, and therefore significantly endangered. The principle of respect for universal values, which says that man is the most important individual on the planet because of the level of awareness he is endowed with, gives him by default the greatest responsibility for everything he does. We see very well where our planet and society are today by the consequences and the state of our basic sources of life from the very heart of nature. No matter where he is, in the East or the West, the North or the South, it is the man who defines the level of consciousness of the society, in the family, at the local level, and at the state level. That’s why when you carry Love in your heart and a strong will in your mind that what you do is your best, that your intention is the purest possible so that you can find for yourself the most relevant measure to implement it, you yourself realize and determine how much you will apply the knowledge and skills of the developed West, and how much wisdom of the East. The most important thing is to know who you are.
Author: Bojan Milić