John de Giorgio

John de Giorgio does not believe that there are a single set of qualities that make a good CEO. Arguing that it depends largely on the context, the sector, the type of structure within the company and many other factors, the Chairman and CEO of Shireburn Software Ltd says, “in some companies, it is the CEO that creates and drives the vision, in others they may just be the implementer.”

Having said that, the CEO believes that “a good CEO needs to be trusted by the team, be an inspiration and motivation, have humility, integrity and a sense of good values.”

Meanwhile, he continues, CEOs need to be able to delegate wisely and be constantly learning, especially from their mistakes. “They may also need to step back and be strategic in their approach. They need to be decisive but aligning each decision with a clear strategy. They also need to be able to adapt.”

On building a company from the ground up

As is the case with most entrepreneurs, for John, who built his company from the ground up, moving from a one-man-band to building a team of 60 employees was probably the most difficult step he had to take.

John de Giorgio
John de Giorgio

Shireburn started off as an IT training company back in 1983 and the move into software development was obviously another key decision,” he continues, listing the key decisions that led to this point. “Subsequently, implementation of a strategy of creating software products rather than just any type of software development project. That moved us into the creation of intellectual property and the ability to scale the business,” he explains.

Yet while he described decisions to build products like the Shireburn Business Suite, the CA+ Airport solution and, more recently, the Indigo Payroll and HR solution as critical to the company’s success, he reveals that “Shireburn truly is about people, and the best decisions I have taken have been around the choice of people on the team.”

Revealing the most unexpected thing about his job, John says that in the tech sector, the unexpected is the norm. “It is a very dynamic sector. It is not a matter of being unexpected, but I find the creativity, innovation, passion and loyalty of our team the most wonderful aspect of my job.”

John’s leadership Dos and Don’ts

Don’ts: Don’t compromise your principles and values. Don’t shirk your responsibilities and mistakes, don’t procrastinate. Don’t just talk without following up with action and don’t isolate yourself from the team or your clients.

Dos: Think long-term but act short-term. Align each step with the overall strategy. Understand your market and listen to your team. Be clear with your reasonable expectations and hold people to account, including yourself. Show empathy. Inspire confidence. Communicate your vision. Thank people, then thank them some more.


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