Euristiq donates all profit to Ukraine
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COO’s Role in a Tech Company During Challenging Times: Interview with Lyubomyr Lyadyk

Author
Maria Rosil
Published
November 27, 2023
Time
10 mins to read

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    In the face of the COVID pandemic, companies worldwide have transformed their strategies. Chief Operating Officers (COOs) emerged as pivotal architects of these strategic shifts. However, while many were adapting to the “new normal” and gaining control over the pandemic, Ukrainian companies continued to grapple with ongoing challenges. On February 24, 2022, russia initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In the midst of war, the COOs of Ukrainian companies transitioned into survival mode.

    In our interview with COO, we talked to Lyubomyr Lyadyk. We delved into the transformative role he plays, the responsibilities he has, and the distinctions between his duties and those of company’s CEO. We explored how he balances managing risks and driving the company forward in these exceptionally challenging circumstances.

    Read on to gain insights into Lyubomyr’s strategies, leadership approach, and his invaluable contributions to guiding Euristiq through difficult times for his country.

    Could you tell me something about your experience and share how you landed in your current COO role? What is your mission as a COO?

    My professional journey started in a hardware company where I worked as an engineer. Then I transitioned to Eleks, initially joining as a QA engineer, and eventually progressing to the role of a QA lead.

    After four years in software testing, I realized that I was passionate about streamlining processes and working with people. This encouraged me to switch to project management. Over the next four years, my journey led me from the Head of the Project Management Office (PMO) to the Director of Centers of Excellence Director.

    After getting my PMP certification, I enrolled at LvBS (Lviv Business School of UCU), embarking on a path of business education. I chose Technology Management, a realm encompassing both strategic and comprehensive financial management. This course reframed my approach to business management, particularly at the organizational level. Progressing from Chief Strategy Officer, I assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer at Euristiq.

    Why COO? First of all, it was uncharted territory for me, something new that I had not done before. Secondly, I always admired the dynamic rhythm of this position and the results it can yield. You really don’t get bored in this position, because you need to be flexible, fast at decision-making, and ensure the healthy operation of the business.

    In my capacity as COO, my mission is to manage the day-to-day company’s business operations, conduct close collaboration with all stakeholders of the company, and provide constant support to departments and employees.

    interview with lyubomyr lyadyk

    Why did Euristiq need a COO? What do you do here?

    I’ve known Ivan (the CEO) for over 15 years. Ever since he started his own business with Euristiq, he consistently expressed his intent for us to collaborate once again. For nearly 4 years now, I’ve been a part of this company.

    So, why did Euristiq recognize the need for a COO? I think the answer lies in the company’s growth trajectory. The company’s owners have realized that a shift in management approach was essential to be able to sustain and further enhance the business’s growth and development.
    This transition is a challenging step because not all business owners can delegate part of the management to other people, which is a sign of the maturity of Euristiq’s management.

    In my role as the COO, my responsibilities encompass ensuring that all business activities correspond to the company’s business model, and that all processes are supported by relevant policies. Furthermore, I am entrusted with ensuring the effective delivery of the company and the company’s financial and operational vitality.

    There is confusion between the roles of CEO and COO. From your experience (in a current role) what is the main difference?

    Briefly put, the CEO is in charge of the company’s high-level strategy and is responsible for setting a direction for “where” the company is going. The COO is responsible for “how” to get there.

    In our company, the roles of COO and CEO are well-defined, but we can provide mutual support when needed. However, we maintain a distinct separation of duties based on functions. Ivan (CEO) focuses on driving business growth and sales, while I (COO) oversee the financial, administrative, legal, HR/recruitment, and delivery departments.

    What skills should a COO in a software development company have?

    It’s worth noting that this division of responsibilities can vary across companies. In larger organizations, there are often dedicated C-level executives for finance, delivery, and other areas.

    To excel in this role, one must have managerial experience across diverse departments. Excellent leadership skills are paramount—they will help to effectively and quickly manage business operations.

    Within the tech industry, a COO should have a profound understanding of how the IT business works and what the main success metrics are. Given the COO’s collaboration with various departments—HR, Delivery, Finance, and Administration—one should have an acute understanding of how they work and how to optimize their work processes.

    It is vital to consider several moves ahead and keep the big picture in mind. Make strategic decisions spanning all departments, which align with the overall strategy of the company.
    COO
    Lyubomyr Lyadyk

    I believe that the COO should have a profound knowledge of finances in order to promptly navigate potential risks and ensure healthy financial metrics.

    Yet, one of the most crucial skills, perhaps, is the ability to work with different people and organize workflow in such a way as to achieve synergy between departments. Among the C-suite roles, the COO interacts with the largest number of internal stakeholders.

    How did your role change with the launch of the full-scale invasion of russia? What were the biggest challenges? What did you need to do differently?

    Before the invasion, a critical aspect of the COO’s role was to meticulously assess potential risks and develop a robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This plan was designed to ensure the continuity of our operations even in the face of disruptive events. Once the invasion started, it was time to put the BCP to the test.

    The greatest challenge after 02/24/22 was sustaining our business under unprecedented conditions. The uncertainty about what lay ahead made this particularly difficult. However, the combination of knowledge, experience, and intuition enabled us to respond quickly and make necessary decisions.

    Our efforts primarily encompassed two directions—our employees and clients. Reassuring them and instilling confidence in the midst of uncertainty was paramount, even though I myself wasn’t entirely certain everything would be fine.

    By the way, I clearly remember that on February 24, my phone’s battery died completely 3 times because there were that many conversations.

    In general, our approach didn’t require a complete overhaul. The key adaptation was a rapid rearrangement of priorities. We formed an emergency team, assigned specific tasks, and carried on with our work. Our primary goal was to ensure the survival and viability of the business. This was particularly evident in the fall of 2022 when mass blackouts happened.

    During this time, we managed to maintain uninterrupted Internet and electricity in our office. Interestingly, it marked the first time people returned to the office in large numbers since the beginning of the pandemic.

    Euristiq COO Lyubomyr Lyadyk is smilling

    What are some of the things you are working on now?

    At the end of the first year of the full-scale war, we realized we were capable of persevering even in the darkest circumstances. This realization encouraged us to return to planning our long-term strategic goals within the company.

    Towards the end of 2022, we made a decision to acquire company insurance. This move was prompted by the need to meet the requirements of our larger enterprise clients. To maintain the trust of our existing clients and instill confidence in potential ones, we took the step to secure our business with insurance in March 2023. We will definitely continue this practice next year because we recognize our customers’ concerns and prioritize their safety.

    While it’s hard to provide an exact count, there are relatively few similar companies, especially within the Ukrainian IT sector, that have business insurance. Nevertheless, our investment in customer security has already yielded positive results for Euristiq, and it will undoubtedly attract new customers to collaborate with our company.

    We have just achieved ISO 27001 certification. It is a huge milestone for us that we have been working on for a couple of months.

    We are also starting to think and prepare for the strategic session for 2024. We are optimistic that the war will end, russia will lose, and a period of restoration and growth will begin.

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