Each month we interview one of our ADAPTOVATE team from around the world. While not in the same league as The Proust Questionnaire – we think it’s a great way to share our employee’s own story with you.
This month we interview our senior consultant in Warsaw, Slawek Koziol. Slawek is based in Poland, however his current project engagements have taken him to a number of Western European Countries, as well as the Middle East.
THE INTERVIEW – 10 QUESTIONS.
First up – how long have you worked with us?
I just hit my half-year mark. I started in July 2019.
Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?
I started my professional career in consulting, to find myself one day in a situation when a client asked me to put my money where my mouth is and actually take a hands-on role in implementation of concepts I helped to develop. That was a beginning of a wild roller coaster ride – I learned banking inside-out from some of the most talented people in the business.
Eventually, I found myself leading large scale transformations and assuming responsibility for significant part of day-to-day business operations. The thing I always loved the most, however, was working in direct contact with people and helping them grow.
ADAPTOVATE gave me a chance to come back to consulting and use the knowledge and experience to work directly with client teams and help grow the Warsaw office.
How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?
Experience from both consulting and client slide broadened my perspective and put many useful tools in my toolbox. I learned something from each and every one of the talented people I met along the way. I’d like to think that there’s a little bit of them in me. I consider myself very lucky. No, I wouldn’t have done things differently. No regrets.
How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?
There’s only so many hours in a day and you only have a finite amount of energy you can spend working. That energy has to come from a good source so dedicating enough time to healthy sleep, food, exercise and space for thinking is essential. The thing I get the most positive kick from though is my family – my partner and two daughters.
I’m mostly only home for the weekends but it’s the girls who make sure my energy cup overflows. (Kudos to all the wonderful women out there who juggle many roles and responsibilities at home with such mastery and grace – you never get enough credit for it from your guys!)
With so many of our team remote working, we always like to ask how do you have your home office/desk set up? Organised or chaos? Any top tips?
I really don’t need an office to do my work. Over the years I’ve learned to work anywhere where I can open my laptop. Living with three girls and two (female) dogs in a mid-size apartment has got me fighting a losing battle for shelf and table space at times.
I would often work on a windowsill, a barstool or a couch. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a small part of the kitchen table that’s not cluttered with my girls’ stuff or dog snacks. I keep telling myself that one day I’ll get my man cave filled with boys’ toys and a proper desk. Like a Batcave. Only smaller. Much smaller. And yes, it’ll be organized.
Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?
Music has always been an important part of my life. I have played a couple of instruments myself since I was a kid. Before streaming era I used to carry several iPods with me all the time. They were my most prized possessions – filled with many gigabytes of my life.
For workshop and training sessions I sometimes let the group choose the music they want. Sometimes I pick the music myself. It always goes with the emotions I’m after. It could be anything – a catchy dance tune, something with thought provoking lyrics or a popular film score.
How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?
I feel sad every time I see technology replacing human interaction. I strongly feel that technology should encourage and enrich human interaction instead of replacing it. Some say humanity will actually end up being the “biological boot loader for AI”. That we are larvae unknowingly morphing into beautiful machine-butterflies.
Though it might be unavoidable at some point, I find that future rather gloomy and the notion concerning. But before any of that actually happens, we will have to deal with an era of technology- augmented humanity. Already we have all the global knowledge available at our fingertips. Accessing information is no longer a problem. It’s how we use it that matters. Can we use it in an ethical way? For the benefit of humanity?
I subscribe to Einstein’s thoughts on widening our circles of compassion (somehow we have been evolutionary conditioned and restricted to our own personal desires and affection for only a few persons nearest to us). I believe our restricted circles of compassion are the root of all evil of this world. Imagine what would happen if we could significantly widen them. I hope that technology at some point will enable us to do that. Seeing people unite through social media for a good cause warms my heart. I wish we could see more of that. I like to entertain that thought.
Strategic Foresight allows companies to detect changes early and ensure action is taken quickly. Which companies have you seen able to change and adapt quickly. (and hopefully using Agile methods to do so)
It’s not the strongest who survive but those who can adapt to change. Change happens fast and adaptability seems to be the main competitive advantage now. One of my favourites is still Netflix, though there are many other non-obvious examples from traditional industries like oil&gas, banking or retail.
My all-time personal favourite is Lockheed’s Skunk Works, who employed agile ways of working long before agile was a thing and made history with some of the most iconic designs and technology that remains awe-inspiring decades after it was introduced. One thing for sure, embracing agile ways of working is not a fad – it’s a way to survive and thrive in the current business world. [editor: If that’s got you thinking head over to the official Skunk Works website to read up on them more ]
What does success mean to you personally?
Sharing and enjoying the sense of growth and accomplishment with other people. Period.
Finally – You’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give?
Always look for people smarter than you and learn from them. Stay true to yourself. Have faith. Be kind and generous. Don’t take life too seriously. And have fun!