The Back Story monthly interview features ADAPTOVATE employees from around the world. Each month we ask them 10 questions. Our team is the greatest asset we have, and it’s a privilege to share just a little bit more about who they are.
This month we are joined in conversation by Allen Levovski – our project lead in Toronto, Canada.
1.First up – how long have you worked with us?
Five months, I joined in Fall 2020
2. Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?
I was with another consultancy, working on operations transformations, much of it digital. I wanted to focus more on coaching, specifically, and making business leaders more successful, in general. This is a core part of what we do at ADAPTOVATE and how we help our clients, so I thought it would be a great fit!
3. How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?
Oh, I love these questions that make you think! Very simply, first I was an engineering consultant. I wanted to work with managers, not engineers, so I got an MBA and became a management consultant. After a few years, I realized that operations management was more exciting so I became an operations consultant. McKinsey gave me the opportunity to work with more senior operations leaders, which was great. Recently, I realized I liked helping these senior individuals be successful and wanted to spend more time coaching. Voila, here I am! So I don’t think I would have done something differently. At each stop, I’ve found a company where I can make a contribution and grow as a professional at the same time. I’ve been very fortunate.
4. How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?
I would ask the question differently since I don’t like the connotation of “balance,” which is the precise amount on each side. But that’s not very agile, is it?!? I prefer, “Do you have the ability to do what gives you energy?” That means always accomplishing something important to me outside of work and feeling good about it. If I can do that, I have the energy for anything my job can throw at me. Of course it’s important!
5. 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?
Three ideas: 1) I’ve set up my desk to face a window, meaning I always see the light outside (either the sun or, more recently, the cloud-light in our Canadian winter) which is great. 2) I have a large screen in addition to my laptop which makes it easy to switch things up once in a while. That’s a definite must. 3) Plus, do 10 push-ups for every meeting you have, and you’ll be in great shape!
6. Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?
Great idea! I haven’t tried this.
7. How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?
Wow, this is a big one. The different ways in which we can learn and connect are worth considering. I can add a couple of current data points to this debate. My 11-year old is very intellectually curious but he hates books. “Why would I read if I can have someone tell me instead on YouTube?” So he watches national geographic videos about missions to Mars and Killer Whales in Antarctica on his Chromebook instead of getting books about the same from the library like I did when I was his age. I’m not sure yet what I think about this. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so nobody has been seeing their friends. Instead of hanging out at the park, my 13-year old hangs out in Fortnite, which is so realistic that the clothes his character wears is a key part of his image. I’m pretty sure I don’t like this.
8. 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)
I think there’s a lot to be learned from the large consultancies. They hire talented people, support them with a great infrastructure, and really have them work on whatever the clients ask for. Work is typically brought to teams, which are socialized to work in specific ways, minimizing disruption. It’s really quite agile.
9. What does success mean to you personally?
If I’ve used my talents and skills to make things better for those around me (professionally and personally), I’ve been successful.
10. Finally – You’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give?
Your parents aren’t as dumb as you think they are.
Special 11th Question – How have you found working through life and work during COVID?
It’s given me a chance to focus in on the precious few things that are important. But a flight somewhere would be nice right about now…