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How Managers Change Roles during the War. Episode 2. Serhii Pozniak
07.04.2022
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3min
How Managers Change Roles during the War. Episode 2. Serhii Pozniak
People. Leadership and management. Culture
In 2014-2016, Serhii Pozniak, a graduate of the Presidents’ MBA and the founder of FinStream financial company, participated in joint forces operation in the eastern part of Ukraine. Later, he was in the operational reserve. Therefore, on February 24, there was no “to serve or not to serve” question for him. Serhii was mobilized again. He told us about the service, the work of his business and the future victory.

In the war

When the war broke out, it was a shock to all of us, not only to the civilians. Just on the eve of the onset, I talked to acquaintances on the contact line, and they told me the enemy was celebrating February 23 and drinking. However, the country’s leadership most likely knew. After all, our air defense was ready and 90% of the missiles were shot down from the first volley. However, the military enlistment offices were not prepared: no one had ever seen such an inflow of volunteer fighters. As Kyiv was attacked from the very beginning, men from other cities came here. The machine guns were “entered” directly into the passports!

For me, the decision to join the army was obvious, because I am a soldier. Besides, I love this thing. The first days were cool. Straight away, the National Guard formed experienced military units (consisting of such men as myself). I was assigned to RSP-2 (a special purpose company). We got weapons, put on bulletproof vests (we didn’t even have time to change into uniform) and started overall searches: we eliminated fire spotters, and saboteurs, put the roofs in order, and took control of the intersections…

At first, it was difficult, a couple of times I could even die, in particular from a helicopter. Then it became easier. Our army is in good condition, we have great uniforms, modern weapons, and good training. I have learned a lot of new things; let’s say that a cruise missile is the slowest target after a helicopter for our air force.

Now my schedule is the following: a week I perform a combat order, a week we train recruits at the training ground, and then I have 4-5 days of rest (it’s a relative one because sometimes we have to accompany the evacuation).

This war has united us all in a single organism. Everyone is doing something. We all seem to be pulsing in the same rhythm

 

The state of the business

It is difficult to combine the roles of a military and a manager. Only once a week, when I’m teaching recruits at a unit facility, I can meet with my employees over Zoom. However, if the business is systemic, this does not interfere much with its effective operation.

The FinStream team survived, although people have moved into different places. They are already back to work. At first, like many, we thought the war would last for several days. Just in case, people were paid a double salary at once. But the reality proved our expectations to be wrong.

Our business practically did not pause. Counterparties continued to meet their obligations, and we resumed paying dividends to investors. Now, we are assessing the scale of the losses (they will certainly be, we understand that).

I was surprised by small and medium-sized businesses that said they were not thinking of stopping their work. According to our survey, we keep 80% of the portfolio. Moreover, there are investors who, after we announced the resumption of payments, said we should better transfer this money to the Armed Forces. It’s breathtaking!

Changes in each of us and in all of us

I think the war has already changed us. This is the border state through which, as Volodymyr Morenets told us at kmbs, the worldview is expanding. Indeed, the price is high. But I’m sure it will be followed by a breakthrough. Now everyone is laying the foundations for working to the maximum for the revival of business, economy, for the proper use of funds. It is important to remember this state.

And we have lost the feeling of inferiority as a nation. We have realized that we are the coolest in Europe in the struggle for freedom. We have stood between Russia and Europe with our bodies and our lives. The next stage is another feat, this time the economic one.

This war is much tougher than the anti-terrorist operation. There are lots of losses I’ve never seen before. As my guys say, “ATO is like a bar fight compared to the current war.” But I am holding strong due to combat missions and thanks to the support of my near and dear ones.

It is very painful for me that my children have left, that they are refugees. But there is also good news, I have just become a dad for the fourth time! My wife is now in Lviv. She gave birth there. My daughter is returning from France. She says she doesn’t want to be abroad. However, I think we have to wait a little longer, there will be a “second episode.”

When will everything be fine? Everything is already fine. We have already won. Now our main task is to live to see the victory parade. The future is definitely ours.

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