Stop relying on victories and past achievements.
Lev Mikulitski is an Israeli Strategic Planner and Growth Expert with his vision fixed on a bright and innovative future. With extensive hands-on experience transforming businesses, Lev is a powerhouse of passionate expertise. He is an inquisitive mind that never stops questioning and embraces every experience as a stepping-stone to a constantly evolving level of success. He is a treasure trove of managerial secrets that will empower individuals and businesses to act today in a way that keeps them relevant tomorrow. Lev is happily married and has two kids.
Lev's passion for Innovation, Strategy, and Growth is rooted in a commitment to human evolution and community. It's an approach that has never failed him in helping businesses to reach their potential. Master in embracing the unknown, Lev approaches business with a wider perspective than most. He has identified the crucial pillars of success that must be in place, in both our business and our private lives, to develop a genuinely valuable impact on the world.
Lev holds a B.Sc. degree in Management and Economics, M.B.A Marketing (Magna Cum Laude), and various international diplomas from the top academic institutions and commercial firms including the Harvard Business School (HX), London Business School, Duke University, Boston Consulting Group, and more. Also, for the past couple of years, Lev served as a Consumer Behaviour lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Driven by truth, knowledge, professionalism, endless curiosity, and an unwavering belief in the power of connection, Lev is fast growing his reputation as a Strategic Growth and Go-To-Market expert of the future. With his sights secured on what's next' and a wealth of insight from his wealth of experience in transforming businesses, he holds the powerful ability to shift dreams to reality on both a personal and professional level for his clients and followers.Thank you, Lev, for agreeing to do this interview with us. Kindly be as candid as you can.
How does the pandemic year affect you? What changes, professional and personal, does it bring into your life?
The past year has actually redefined the term "challenge". Suddenly many more variables came under the cloud of uncertainty. Too many potentially profitable projects have simply been scrapped or gone. I had to literally reinvent myself in many ways. But if there is anything positive in this whole situation, it is the understanding of the value of time ... Suddenly I have a lot of time: time to learn, time to develop, time for myself and my family. Today I know how to manage my time much better. And time is an asset that is always in short supply. Today we have more time to do new and valuable things. Another thing that has intensified for me is the necessity to live and embrace "change". Be able to change all the time if that's what it takes to survive. I believe that as individuals and organizations we go to a world where events, if and when they happen will have exponential consequences for us and those around us. If we do not know how to change quickly, we will not survive.
What are THREE leadership lessons you learned in the last 12-months?
This is a question that preoccupies me a lot: Do I learn from all the events that affect us. Am I keeping pace with the things I am learning ...? I think the significant things I learned during this time are that past successes are irrelevant. There is a limit to how much you can rely on things that have worked for you in the past. We all must always learn and evolve and experience new things. Past successes are the result of circumstances and resources that were available and relevant then, and not necessarily today. In too many situations people run away to things that were in the past instead of trying and cracking challenges that are right now or tomorrow. There is a limit to how effective it is. Another thing I learned is that doing should come first. Big dreams are achieved with the help of many small steps. This is not new but today it is more relevant than ever. At any point in time, we must move forward. Set a goal and reach it and so on. If we get stuck in dreams, we may not reach their fulfilment. And there is one more thing I learned during this time; relationships are everything. We have no idea which friend or acquaintance from which country and place will be able to help us when we need it. We all need to develop and cultivate relationships. Today when I am asked if I am in the business of strategic consulting, I say "no". I am in the business of building relationships.
What are your biggest worries or concerns right now? What are you seeing as possible opportunities?
Periods of crisis throughout history have always been a catalyst for innovation, change, and opportunity. Even today, we suddenly see a lot of things that are not working properly because we have not been able to prepare them ahead of time for the challenge to come. So, there are a lot of temptations to fix a lot of things. And the challenge or concern is the focus. It is very easy to find yourself messing with too many things because there are indeed a lot of opportunities. The choice is multiple, and the focus is more important than ever. Another concern is that we really need to understand what skills are necessary for the new world we are entering. These skills will dictate everything from drastic changes in education to changes in the workplace. And here too we will need to focus and adjust ourselves to what we will be willing to adopt and what we will not.
How do you react to the typical this is how we do things here response to a request for change?
I know this response very well. One of the reasons why organizations get stuck and not grow. Look, the more we talk about innovation, the harder it is for us to change, innovate and adapt to a changing environment. We are "afraid" of change and it is natural. It is natural but not effective. We have to abandon much of what we think we know. This is true of models, work plans, work methods, and in general the thought that "this is how it works". This is a parallel thought, and it does not allow for growth. The more organizations internalize this, the more they will adopt methods that will ensure their survival. Today nothing promises even the most successful company that it will survive. Just the ability to adapt to change.
How would sell your idea of making a difficult change (which would temporarily impact the revenues) to the executives from the company?
I believe that if there is a good idea, the idea should sell itself. Along with that I also know that there are people who will not have to just adopt certain approaches. There are many reasons for this: fear of change, political reasons within the organization, an opposition between interests, and more. It is natural to assume that not everyone will be crystallized around your path. The best way is to produce a perception of an alternative that is not good for anyone. This way will make it possible to unite forces and produce a common denominator. Remember, when there is a "common enemy", it is much simpler to move things. And what is that alternative? Usually a type of loss. People will always prefer to avoid a loss than potentially gain something. And the loss can be organizational, and it can be personal.
Please share an experience when consultations with higher management proved difficult due to the strong personalities and opinions of some members. How did you go about making your points effective, what did you learn, and what was the outcome?
This question is an excellent continuation of a previous question. In fact, I can bring here a dozen examples. But I will take you to a special event in my distant past where I worked as a Business Development Manager in an international unit of a consumer goods company. When I started working there very quickly, I realized that the way the company sells and builds its brands abroad is clearly not right. It was a significant challenge to try to convince the senior management to change the method, too much ego was involved. But finally, I applied the method I mentioned. For the owners of the company, it was important to build a reputation and trust towards its products abroad; I knew that well. The ongoing method would have harmed the reputation and would inevitably have affected the adoption of products abroad. At one of the board meetings, I noted this fact in the eyes of those present and slowly I created a perception where as long as we continue the existing way, we actually hurt ourselves and prevent ourselves from growing. Did it work? Not immediately. But this is what created the crack and brought about change over time.
What makes you stand out among your peers? How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
The best way to differentiate yourself is to create a perception that you have no real competitors and that your value proposition is unique at a level that is exceedingly difficult to replicate. My way of doing this is pretty simple. I have already mentioned that I am in the business of building relationships so my ability to faithfully serve all the stakeholders who depend on me is in the relationships I cultivate all over the world. If I need advice or a connection to someone meaningful, it's usually a matter of talking to someone from my trusted network and the idea will already move on. These relationships are honest and real, and these people know that what I do for them is from the heart so they will always do for me whatever is possible. Today more than ever relationships are the new oil. But if they are both honest and real and not just based on some interest, then in fact they are priceless. And this is my most significant distinction.
Lastly, on the basis of your experience, what are THREE things Business Leaders should START Doing, STOP Doing, and CONTINUE doing?
This is indeed a great question to conclude. Look, it's all a matter of circumstances of course and my opinion should not be seen as a generalization of any kind. But if I was nevertheless required to address three things as aforesaid, then I would say that the leaders and managers of the world of tomorrow should begin to be less afraid and more to carry out bold things. The world is changing before our eyes at an unprecedented pace. Changes have global implications. If you want to leave a mark, you must break through the noise barrier with things that have not yet been seen. Start doing bold things. What to stop doing? Well, for me it is obvious. Stop relying on victories and past achievements. That it is just irrelevant. Those who will shape tomorrow's world are people who will come without the baggage of "I did, and I did, and I did" ... these are people who will focus on the future and do for the future. And what should you continue to do? Keep being curious and keep learning. There is so much more to discover about our world and our nature.