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Sailing For The Best Results: Interview with Robert Godziszewski, Program Manager in Adaptive Group

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Sailing For The Best Results: Interview with Robert Godziszewski, Program Manager in Adaptive Group
What does sailing has in common with the consulting area? What are the challenges of the job of Program Manager? Feel invited to read an interview with one of our #adaptivegroupteam experts, Robert Godziszewski.

Irmina Liczbik: What is your position and responsibilities in Adaptive Group?

Robert Godziszewski: I am a Program Manager/Senior Consultant in Adaptive Group. My main responsibilities cover running large transformational and improvement projects for various organizations starting from Shared Service Centers (SSC) going into the direction of national institutions. However, currently I am supporting the SSC or Global Business Services (GBS) organizations in various projects. One of them is related to the improvement in cash collection for Latin America region and South America region. Another project is connected with the preparation for the movement to the new location of the whole GBS organization so rather from the facility management area.

IL: What do you specialize in?

RG: I have grown in my career starting from the general ledger area (record to report processes) and through most of my corporate career I was dealing with such processes and activities. Moreover, I also had opportunity to take care of the transitions of F&A processes and activity centralization. What is more, I have also team management experience. However, what gives me the most satisfaction at work is what I do right now: the consulting area and preparation of solutions for prospective client or the ideas what we could do for them.

IL: Tell me more about your experience.

RG: I have more than 11 years of experience in the F&A area with the biggest focus on the SSC and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organizations. Throughout my career, I have worked in two main areas: one was related to people management where I led the teams and managed the departments. Mainly, the general ledger ones i.e. the record to report processes. The second area where I also found myself very well was consulting. I was an internal consultant in the BPO organization. My responsibility was to support the clients in increasing the maturity of their processes and in this area, I was also mainly involved in the record to report but I took care of procure to pay or order to cash processes as well. Thanks to my experience in the fiscal and statutory area, I could recognize the possibilities around centralization of the activities both from the high-end processes and the transactional ones. As a result, it allowed me to have good proposals for the prospective clients of one of my previous employers where I was responsible for building the solutions from the BPO perspective: what and how could be delivered, from which location, what can be the contractual agreements between the parties. Last 3 years, I have spent on the management of the operations around the general ledger area. Currently, I am happy to be back to the consulting area for the clients of Adaptive Group.

IL: Have you completed any courses, special trainings that qualify you for this job?

RG: I have completed Finance and Accountancy specialization at Lodz University of Technology. After my MA studies, I went for postgraduate studies and I have completed the Innovations in Business studies which not only prepared me to be the accountant but also taught me to always bring some new ideas and think about the future improvements.

During my professional career, apart from gathering knowledge and experience, I took few standard as for the SSC organizations courses like: customer satisfaction, teamwork, Microsoft Excel advanced. However, I think that one of the courses which has given me a lot of information that I could later use in practice is the Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification. As a result, I obtained a very good background knowledge from the project management perspective which I was later not only using in my career but also sharing with my employees and subordinates so that we could achieve more together. However, what I have to say is that, of course certificates and courses are important, but the best way to develop yourself is to go with the “learning by doing” method. This is the approach which I have also inherited from Lodz University of Technology. During studies, most of the classes and activities were performed in such a way- “learning by doing”. I have been following this path throughout my professional career and I have to say, it really works - I have obtained a lot of knowledge which I can use on daily basis.

IL: What is your proudest achievement?

RG: I think that one of my biggest achievements is that many of the activities, improvements, things in which I was involved in the past, and some of them were even developed by myself, in many of those cases, still I am able to use them in my current role when proposing the improvements for the clients and for the organization with which I am currently cooperating with. So, to make it short, some of the ideas that I have developed in the past are still valid for the new SSC organizations and they can be really useful for our clients, even after many years.

When it comes to the specific examples, I have had few big and important achievements. One of them is related to the project focused on the retention of knowledge within a given SSC. This project allowed me to gather ideas and create a lot of solutions concerning the topic. Nowadays, even though this project was conducted ten years ago, when I cooperate with various organizations, I see that these solutions are still valid and applicable for those organizations which may not be so mature at this moment.

Another example is from the VAT perspective and taxes. With the usage of proper data available in the SAP ERP system, I was able to significantly speed up verification of the VAT coding correctness on the AP invoice level. Similarly to the previous example, here I can also see that for many organizations the ideas which I developed seven/eight years ago are still valid and can be reused and support these organization in the VAT compliance.

Next achievement which comes to my mind goes back to 2009. A that time, I was on the long-term project at the client location supporting the client organization in increasing their F&A knowledge in SAP ERP system, implementing respective SOx compliance initiatives and activities. My job was to ensure that the organization is able to pass the internal audit with a positive result and ensure that the financial statement which they were reporting to the regional controlling was proper. Ultimately, after all the supporting actions, the client was able to pass the internal audit and be sure that in the future they will submit their financial statement in correct and accurate manner.

IL: What are you passionate about? What are your pastimes?

RG: When I was younger, I had an opportunity to learn sailing and this was giving me a lot of fun and relax so I have obtained an inland skipper license. Simply saying, I learned how to sail a boat (laughs) on lakes in Poland, the Mazury region. It gives me lot of fun and satisfaction.

The other passion is back from my childhood and it is related to building different constructions from the Lego bricks. I still enjoy it and I constantly review what kind of new sets are being issued and those which I really like I buy and build. Later, I also think about my own projects which I can develop and ultimately build.

IL: How do your pastimes help you to provide better results for the clients?

RG: This is a tricky question (laughs) but when I think about it, I would say, sailing has given me the abilities related to good teamwork. While sailing, when you need to do anything on the boat- take a turn or get to the harbour- then you need to have a very good cooperation of the whole team on the deck. Due to my experience with sailing, I have developed my team cooperation skills and now, it is easier for me to communicate within a team and lead it in a proper way.

In addition, sailing have helped me to improve such skills as: quick decision making, knowledge assessment of the team and adopting communication according to the team’s level. When you are the captain and there is a storm- you need to take decisions quickly and give the orders to the team taking into consideration the level of their knowledge. Some of the crew members may be proficient with e.g. terminology but some of them can be on the boat for the first time and still you need to pass the orders in such a way that they will be able to perform a given activity. I have experienced such situations and, as a result, I have developed my communication and knowledge assessment skills.

When it comes to the Lego bricks, thanks to this passion I have learned how to plan. It may seem far-fetched at first, but you need to have a vision of what you want to build and how it should look like. You just need to have a proper plan of the construction and how it should be built from the architectural perspective. You could say that building from Lego bricks is just putting things together and that is it, but if you really want it to look nice and fancy then a good plan is a must. Not only of the way how the construction is supposed to look like but also taking into consideration your resources so how many bricks you should use.

IL: Why do you work in such a field? What makes it interesting for you?

RG: Let me cite one of the most known slogans in advertising “I’m lovin’ it” (laughs). I work in the consulting area because I really like the type of job which we do here, in Adaptive Group. We are Adaptive not only as a company name, but we are adaptive also from our own personal approach and experience. For me, the interesting thing in this area is that it is quite close to the way how currently the world looks like. It is constantly changing. You could say, the only constant thing is… change (laughs). What is more, here in Adaptive Group, we have multiple projects to take care of and each of them is different- they are from various fields, so you can learn a lot. Because of that, we have many types of activities and how broad and wide these activities are, is as well, making this job interesting.

IL: What motivates you to come to work every day?

RG: What motivates me to come to work every day is the fact that when I come up with new ideas, I can propose them to our counterparties and clients which ultimately help them to improve their organizations, way of working, processes. As a result, they can have better results and achieve the goals of their organization. This gives me a lot of satisfaction because I know that our work really matters.

Another aspect is that when you do those things, when you cooperate with your clients, with your counterparties, in many cases it is quite quickly visible what kind of impact and influence you have. You can see the influence you have on your client’s organization.

IL: What is your mission, goal?

RG: During my career I have had opportunity to obtain quite wide knowledge about the way how the organizations are built, how the processes are managed, how the things in this kind of corporations are set up. Now, my aim is to become multiskilled from the consulting perspective. The goal is to have such a level of knowledge and expertise to be able to use them no matter what the type of industry or activities are we dealing with.

IL: What are your strengths?

RG: I think that my strengths are mainly related to building relations with people and cooperation. I am really good in these fields and I have the ability to create a positive first impression. Of course, it also translates into the future way how I cooperate with our counterparties, what pays off very well. I believe that when you have a very positive relations with your clients, then it is much easier to understand each other and achieve meaningful results together.

IL: I am THE specialist in…

…SLA (service level agreement) and KPIs (key performance indicators). These are the topics which I am really interested in and I have been taking care of them for many different organizations. Around this area, I went through many different examples of the KPIs themselves but as well through many different solutions related to the SLA and service credit between BPO organization and the client.

IL: Do you use KPIs on daily basis?

RG: Hmm, that is a tricky question because on the one hand you could say that each of us measures different KPIs on daily basis. For example, you wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the office at 7:00 a.m. What do you know? You got to the office at 7 a.m. or not and this information you already keep in mind. We could say that this is your key performance indicator “did I arrive to the office on time?”.  Implication?  If you do not get to the office on time, you already start thinking what have I done wrong that I did not get to the office on time today? And when you find out what was wrong, you will hopefully improve it on the next day- either you wake up earlier or you change something in your approach or maybe something happened which was outside of your influence and you do not have to change anything. We can say each of us has their own private KPIs. Personally, I track a fuel mileage of my car, my expenses, my body weight and BMI indicator to see whether I keep healthy or not anymore (laughs). To sum up, yes, I have few of such KPIs which I keep an eye on daily basis on my smartphone.

IL: Describe yourself in 3 adjectives (your superpowers).

RG:

  1. positive
  2. versatile
  3. detailed-oriented

IL: In your opinion, what is the most challenging in the consulting area if you are a Program Manager?

RG: To my mind, one of the most challenging aspects in the consulting area is to precisely define the client’s needs around the project to make sure the actions and steps which you take in particular project respond to the client’s needs and also cover any project risks.

IL: What is the most important in your work? What one should remember about? What are the skills necessary to perform this kind of job?

RG: One of the crucial things in the Program Manager & Senior Consultant job, represented in the name of our company, is being able to react to the needs of your clients and support them accordingly. You need to be flexible both from the time perspective but also from the perspective of acquiring knowledge and obtaining information. So simply, be Adaptive.

Apart from the general knowledge about the processes and organizations, I think that the relation building is very important. Only when you are good at it, you will be able to have a proper understanding of the needs of your counterparty and you will be able to successfully verify whether the actions performed, steps taken cover those needs. What is more, you will be able to find out quickly whether there is anything what should be corrected and react on the spot. Building the relations is one of the crucial skills needed to perform the job of the consultant.

IL: Why have you chosen Adaptive?

RG: After few years of being in the role of the operational manager and being responsible for delivering the results to the organizations for which I was working at that time, I simply came back with my thoughts to the area and time when I performed this type of the consulting activities. This is the main reason why I have chosen Adaptive- to switch, come back to the role of consultant giving me a lot of fun. However, there are various aspects related to my choice. I decided to join the Adaptive Group team because I have met people working in this company so I knew that the working environment and cooperation with the team will be really nice and positive. Besides, I wanted to have better time flexibility.

IL: Why do you like working here?

RG: I like working here because of various things. Some of them are related to the reasons standing behind choosing Adaptive Group and the style of working. However, I also like working in Adaptive Group as the consultant because of the diversification of tasks and responsibilities which you need to take care of. Due to the fact that we do not only focus on one small piece of job type or activity but we really look very wide and broad on the possibilities and opportunities which are ahead of us.

IL: How do you keep up with the industry?

RG: Firstly, I monitor the recent trends in the industry via social media but the ones which are more focused on business relations. There I can also find information about what is going on, what are the articles shared and what are the new upcoming ideas around the globe. On the other hand, I watch webinars which usually are selected and shared by our dear colleague here in Adaptive Group, Michał Ejchman, who gets in touch with many different organizations to have some possible webinars presented with their ideas and their solutions for particular process and business needs.

IL: What are your ways to develop your professional skills and knowledge?

RG: Something I mainly value and what I also mentioned earlier. I am really in favour of “learning by doing” method. Such approach brings the best results in regard to broadening your knowledge and developing your skills. Many things you cannot simply learn from the book. And even if you learn from the book, you will very quickly forget about it without practice. Ultimately, I believe you can develop proper skills if you actually perform the activities connected with this job. There is no way around it.

IL: What techniques, tools do you use to keep yourself organized?

RG: It is a very difficult question in the times of constantly changes in the world. Many people have their approach and way which they have learned many years ago (creating each day a list of things to do by writing them down in a calendar or a notebook). I tried to do it as well but unfortunately I did not succeed to have it fully implemented (laughs). Then I tried to use my mail to draft a list of things to do and ensure they are being performed. Sometimes I prepared an excel file. However, I was not able to always have the access to the mail or excel file. That is why, recently I simply use my smartphone which I have always at hand. Many important things I keep updated in my smartphone in the form of a calendar which is synchronized respectively with my laptop, so I can ensure that the most important things are not forgotten. This is how I keep myself organized.

IL: How do you imagine yourself in 5, 10 years?

RG: Usually in the past, I imagined myself in the managerial role. I wanted to be a head of the SSC or GBS organization but this was few years ago. Currently, my main goal is to go further and become someone like a “thought leader”. I want to be a person who is, we could say, establishing or bringing to the wider perspective or wider audience the trends on the consulting market.

IL: Thank you for the interview Robert. Good luck with your next projects!

RG: Thank you!

ROBERT'S PORTFOLIO

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