Marko Kovacevic C-Suite: IAOP PULSE Outsourcing Magazine

By: Sandy Frinton, Editor-in-Chief, PULSE 

People and Relationships Make All the Difference for Kovacevic

The best advice Marko Kovacevic ever received came from a Harvard Business School professor. Faced with a problem that seemed unsolvable for an international project in a leadership course he was taking, he was told: “Everything’s possible.”

“When we think there’s no solution or answer, you need to change your approach,” he says. “It gives me the energy to overcome any situation.”

As CEO of Trizma, Kovacevic spreads the same message to his team and practices what he asks of them. “You have to walk the talk,” he says.

People and relationships make all the difference for Kovacevic and the company he leads as he drives a new corporate culture and builds a new leadership team as Trizma enters its 16th year in business.

“My role is like driving a bicycle,” Kovacevic says. “You always have to pedal to move forward. I constantly have to focus on our mission and vision. The first thing is people and relationships. The second is our clients. The third is society. At the end of the day when you combine making your people and clients happy, the financial results will follow. You are able to share the value with people, clients and society and have performance with a purpose.”

Since its founding in Belgrade as the first independent Contact Center Outsourcer in Serbia, Trizma has transformed itself into a Business Process Services (BPS) provider for some of the leading global companies in financial services, IT, healthcare and aerospace capitalizing on its strengths of technology and talent.

“You have to walk the talk. The easiest part of building a culture is saying what you want to look like. The toughest part is making it happen. It’s an upstream battle.``
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Based in Serbia, which is viewed as Europe’s next tech talent hotspot for development work, Trizma is a company that isn’t afraid to reinvent itself, honestly admit mistakes, and continuously innovate. It is focused today on providing customers with both experience and engagement.

Trizma has built its culture around three core values of love what you do, be honest to yourself and others, and focus on quality first to deliver WOW service.

“The easiest part of building a culture is saying what you want to look like,” Kovacevic says. “The toughest part is making it happen.  It’s an upstream battle.”

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European Outsourcing Leader

Just as he has led the growth and transformation at Trizma, Kovacevic is helping shape the future of outsourcing in the European region as chair of IAOP’s fledgling European Outsourcing Council (EOC).

The EOC was developed a year ago to gain knowledge of the European outsourcing market, broaden IAOP’s reach and strengthen its brand in the region in an effort to really set IAOP apart as the organization that works to empower European buyers, advisors and providers, to improve business service models and outcomes.

“Outsourcing today still is connected with cost savings and labor arbitrage,” he says. “It is not seen as value added. This gives the industry an opportunity to work together to focus on the areas where we are the best and change the game. It’s about collaboration and synergy.”

Kovacevic says there’s been a great deal of teamwork, time and energy by the experts in the EOC to develop content that is relevant and of interest for all parts of Europe and for customers, advisors and providers.

These efforts will show themselves at EOS18, June 11-13 at the Marriott Brussels, Belgium, where the EOC has helped create the program that focuses on strategic partnerships and outsourcing relationships, AI, blockchain, the new GDPR and more.  For more on EOS18, click here.

Inspired by Curious Inventors and Leaders

Kovacevic lives by the motto of “Be yourself because everyone else is taken,” and draws inspiration from leaders who think boldly and possess great curiosity. These include Italian Renaissance inventor Leonardo da Vinci, one of the world’s biggest inventors Nikola Tesla and South African anti-apartheid political leader Nelson Mandela.

He reads books in cycles of four to grow his knowledge and enjoyment – moving from history books where he learns from the past to interesting biographies about people, onto psychology books, which give him valuable insights into people and relationships. He balances out his reading list with good novels, which he says “gives me a reason to go into another world and disconnect.”

When Kovacevic isn’t sampling fresh local food on the road during his travels that provide him with insights into the culture of the countries he is in, he enjoys a good salad and dessert at home in Serbia.

At a Glance

Kovacevic graduated from the University of Law in Belgrade and completed his MBA at the Grenoble Ecole de Management. He is currently in his graduating year of the Owners Presidents Management (OPM) Program 52nd Generation at Harvard Business School. He also holds an NLP Master Certificate. His work experience includes international relations, consulting, marketing and business development through Gorenje, American Chamber of Commerce, Atlantic Council of Serbia, Megatrend University, Telenor, Virtuoni, Dupont Carter and Insomnia Serbia. He was Executive Vice-President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) in three mandates form 2003-2006 and Vice-President of the Atlantic Association of Young Political Leaders from 2007-2009. His fields of interest are business development, international relations and new technology.

Kovacevic is the recipient of the 2015 AmCham Leaders in Change Award, which acknowledge individuals and companies that change the Serbian economic environment and society for the better, in the category of Young and Innovative Leader in Change for innovation and creative energy that brought positive change and set standards in the business environment.

Kovacevic is chair of IAOP’s European Outsourcing Council, co-chair of the IAOP Eastern Europe Chapter and is a member of the Central & Southern Europe Regional Advisory Board. He was named IAOP Member of the Year in 2017. Kovacevic will be speaking on a panel on Risks and Trends in the European Outsourcing Market at EOS18.

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