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7 Questions with Lusia
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7 Questions with Lusia
Current title: COO
Current organisation: One.Fun
I am results driven Gambling executive with more than 10 years of cross-discipline experience in iGaming and IT.
- 10 years of Operations Management experience
- 5 years of managing increasingly complex projects in a demanding environment
- 8 years of proven experience in the sphere of iGaming
- Proven skills in communication and project planning in iGaming
Scope of activities:
- Strategic business development and service development
- Building and leading teams
- Regulated market expertise
- Change Management
Specialties: iGaming, Operations Management, Strategic management
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Our subconscious can play tricks making us think that leadership is about strategic decisions and remarkable deals. Risk and hard decisions are an inevitable part of executive positions: being a leader, a motivator, a person who knows when it is the right time and a place for the transformative deal or decision. But that role is also a psychologist, a mediator, a mentor. You listen, collect information and analyse all the time and this is where it becomes challenging not to:
So balance is the most challenging thing about being a leader for me.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My first executive position was an invitation to join a startup in a never experienced before industry after years working a stable scaleup. Here were risks and tons of responsibility opposed to a very predictable and proven career path. That started a journey that is still going on, full of challenges and self-thought, experiments and uncertainty, which I never regret taking off.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My day starts at 6 a.m, going for a morning run with my dog or doing sports. It helps me get focused immediately. Healthy nutrition and sleep are rituals I adopted into my life long ago and I try to stick to them on a daily basis. My day plan is a list of prioritised tasks and thoughts on new strategies and project executions. I choose to be productive so if I feel I’m tired or not focused, a short walk with music or in a silent park brings me back. It’s crucial to listen to your body, be attentive to its messages, and estimate your resources properly. After a productive day, quiet family evenings coupled with books and movies are evening rituals I choose over noisy parties.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Your team is your superpower. Mutual respect is the most important bridge. This has always been a key component of my management style, recently proved its exceptional importance by pandemic.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
With your permission will specify two: “Scale” by Geoffrey West and “21 Lessons for the 21st century” by Yuval Noah Harari.
At least two of my big career steps started with crucial transformations in the company. As a change manager and a leader I had to make hard decisions regarding the operations, cutting expenditures and other problems that would prevent the company from a successful development on a daily basis. I’m very well familiar with the feeling when you have to make significant changes in the structure to make it work effectively, when you have to change or transform old into new to perform better.
The whole book of Geoffrey West impacted me greatly, but there was one paragraph that helped me develop my future strategy:
“In order to achieve greater efficiency while striving for greater market share and increased profits, companies typically add more rules, regulations, and protocols, very often at the expense of R&D, which should be the major insurance policy for a company’s long-term survival. Thus, while the dimensionality of cities continually expands, the ones of companies continually contract, eventually stagnating. Market forces usually limit the initial excitement and enthusiasm for new products, which leads to only a few successful products as the company is trying to gain a foothold and an identity, creating economies of scale. Most become very unidimensional by focusing only on short-term goals. This reduction in diversity, along with the lack of R&D and other predicaments, are classic indicators of reduced resilience and are typically a recipe for eventual disaster. It is worth adding that unlike companies (or organisms for that matter), cities are remarkably resilient and don’t seem to die at all, not even when great damage is done to them, such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Detroit”.
As to Yuval Noah Harari’s “21 Lessons for the 21st century” it’s not about leadership but more about the current global climate. I think it’s very important that a leader understands and embraces the changes the world is going through now, being a person of opinion, the one that brings those changes to the masses. For me this book was а therapeutic session to dive deeper into fears of unknown, irreversible changes impacted by the technology, adjustments required to be prepared for the future we are living and working in already now.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I would prefer a mix of “visionary” and “democratic” leadership styles, putting every possible effort into scaling the company’s goals into the personal goal of each employee in the company. The way to “self-organization” is going through “organization”, thus techniques and leadership methods may differ from step to step of organizational evolution.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
How to motivate a team when you feel burning out? I’m sure at least once during his career a top manager faces a situation when a team needs his guidance, investors need his strategic decisions though some external factors hold him back from his usual performance. I even now remember that moment of feeling stuck. I can’t tell I have mastered it and that there won’t be next times, but that being a manager during a pandemic time showed me how to look at things from other perspectives.
The most challenging thing about this was dealing with a crisis remotely as currently part of the team works from 4 different countries. I can certainly say that COVID - 19 stress and the way it has influenced our lives for almost two years goes beyond the job each day. To carry a weight of trying to predict unpredictable nearly every day started to become a normal routine for most of us.
Working restless and at increased intensity has not been yielding usual results and its obvious that both the management and team felt frustrated. What helped us go through a crisis is to step back from sprinter run. To focus, optimise and reorganise both the expected results and operations. This was the exact moment to be agile to adopt new policies, new approaches to cope with the post Covid- 19 reality. This is not the end but a beginning of something complicated and life-changing, challenges and effects of pandemic are things that we will be coping with yet for a long time and we need all our adaptive skills to be able to step on a road towards foreseeable future.