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Listening, Learning and Leading: Digital Transformation Expert Debra Aizikovitz

Published By Ryan Walton
Listening, Learning and Leading: Digital Transformation Expert Debra Aizikovitz

Planview’s platform is designed to empower its customers for success in their digital transformation efforts. However, achieving success in any digital transformation initiative necessitates the alignment of people, methodology, and governance. Clients seeking assistance in ensuring their organizations are well-prepared for success can turn to Planview’s Evolve Advisory Services. This dedicated team of consultants leverages their extensive experience to thoroughly understand organizational needs and apply industry best practices to help attain strategic business objectives.

To learn more about what it’s like to be part of the Evolve Advisory Services team, we turn to Debra Aizikovitz, who serves as digital transformation practice lead.

Explain your role as a consultant for Evolve Advisory Services and a few of your responsibilities. 

I talk with customers and learn about their organizations and what challenges they’re facing to become best in class. Once I understand how they work and what’s working and not working for them, I introduce industry practices to help their business transformations and encourage organizational change management practices to help them better utilize Planview products. I get to use my experience to become a trusted advisor for them. I also work internally to help drive organizational change management at the enterprise level within Planview.  

Tell us about your career journey to date.

I worked in management for an international elevator company for more than 30 years, with an emphasis on IT management, strategic portfolio management, project management and organizational change management. When I retired from the elevator industry, I wanted to look for something fun—and Planview is fun. I literally love what I do. I’m able to share my experiences and everything I’ve learned to help our customers, as well as our company, to succeed with digital transformation.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as you’ve moved up in your career?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I’m not always right and I need to listen to others so I can learn their perspectives. Early in my career, I wanted to be the one who was right and spoke first.  Now, I am the last to speak and I listen more so I can identify people’s core needs.

I also focus more on “what’s in it for them” than I did when I was younger. The biggest lesson is that it can make a huge difference to stop and listen rather than reacting quickly with emotion. At Planview, I’m able to practice this daily with my colleagues and customers.

Are there any experiences in your life that you feel contributed to your professional success?

For 25 years, I traveled every week. I worked in 45 states and all over Europe and the Middle East. For two years in a row, I stayed more than 290 days in a Marriott. Through all those travels, I met so many different people and learned so much. Those experiences helped me to become accustomed to quickly meeting and learning about people, and the ability to manage those relationships has been very important for my career.

What type of meetings do you prepare for? Who do you typically collaborate with?

I meet with internal teams, leadership and customers.  In most of the meetings, I am listening and capturing notes to help drive change for the topic, project or company.

What makes your team so effective?

We are very good listeners and responders to the needs of our internal colleagues and customers.  Our team is small and effective because we hear that most companies are faced with the same challenges!

Tell us about working from home – what are your tips for success?

I started working from home 29 years ago, when nobody else worked from home. To make sure I was effective, I developed a routine that I still continue. I get up every morning, workout, shower and get dressed like I am going to the office. I block time on my calendar for lunch so that I take time away. Each day after work, I take a walk so I can get out of the house. 

Also, I always make sure my work is separate from my life. My office is in a loft, so I do not go up there unless it is work hours, so I have clear line between work and play.

How do you manage your work/life balance?

I did not learn how to manage work/life balance until I came to Planview. Before, I would work long hours into the evening and over the weekend, but I still only got a small amount of work done.  Now, I make sure that I identify my daily “Most Important Tasks” (MITs), only three, and “Least Important Tasks” (LITs) for both my professional and personal life. This helps me realize that I have both to manage.  Also, I make sure that I leave my office at the end of day feeling accomplished!  

What motivates you while working?

People motivate me! I love talking to people and working closely with them to solve problems, coach, mentor or just laugh. This has been a challenge with everyone being remote, but I have managed to make it work using video calls. I will ALWAYS be on the camera regardless of the time of day or how I look! It is more important to be real and honest than to hide behind a screen.

How is Planview different from other companies you’ve worked for?

I have only worked for a few companies in my tenure. I like Planview because of the people.  You can talk to anyone and they’ll welcome you. I don’t feel like I have to hesitate if I want to talk to a senior level person. They are people too and titles are not as important as who they are and what they believe are our company’s goals and vision for the future.

Planview has a set of 5 “Core Values.” Is there one that really speaks to your experience?

Number 1, We build connections. I’ve been told that I am a “fearless collaborator,” which is true. It is important for me to bring all the right people to the table to help drive a decision for the success of our clients.

For fun, how do you unwind when you are off the clock?

My husband and I have six children and nine grandchildren ages two to 20, so I enjoy spending time with them. We have two homes and we spend winters in San Diego and summers in Montana. I love walks on the beach and in the neighborhood in San Diego, hiking in the mountains, and I love to cook. Cooking relaxes me.

Does Planview sound like a good fit for you? Now is a great time to join our team. Check out Planview’s current job openings across the globe. 

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Written by Ryan Walton

Ryan is Planview’s Social Media Manager and has over 17 years of experience in communication and community building. He’s a huge San Francisco Giants fan, dad joke extraordinaire and loves 90's rom-coms. He lives in Northern California with his two children.