One reason why I enjoy IT blogging is being able to reconnect with previous colleagues I formerly have worked with as well as meeting new people.
I have been lucky enough to work with John previously and now he has launched his own firm which has really inspired me.
I wanted to explore more about John’s journey and here is what he had to say…
Who is John Dimitropoulos and what is Liberty IT Consulting Group?
Well… I’m a father of two beautiful children and a husband of twenty years. With my surname, it is not hard to guess that my background is Greek but, I have been calling Sydney Australia home for nearly 30 years. Naturally, I hold all those core values from my upbringing as these have shaped the person you see today. I have a long history in Information Technology and feel privileged to have been associated with the success of some of the nation’s largest technology and business transformation programs.
Liberty IT Consulting Group was a lifelong dream that recently became reality thanks to the support and passionate efforts of some brilliant people from Sydney and Silicon Valley. We have designed a start-up to help domestic and international corporations find solutions to their biggest technology challenges. The fresh, positive, can-always-do attitude of our people has already started to disrupt the consulting industry as we give our clients the tools to disrupt their own. We provide expert opinion and place subject matter experts to guide companies through large and complex technology transformations.
Can you explain Liberty ITCG’s strengths and how it differs from other consulting firms?
Our industry has been historically dominated by large consulting conglomerates. As information technology is now the most important ingredient of business evolution, clients are the most IT savvy they have ever been, they demand better value and better quality. Our philosophy is that brands cannot guarantee success, people bring success. I should know… I was a client myself for nearly two decades.
We have built this company on Australian soil to create jobs in Australia with the IP and wealth staying in Australia. We work with clients for an experience they deserve. We care for what our clients care about and we strongly believe that their success will always result in our success.
Liberty ITCG has built its foundations on three core principles… proven Experience, unmatched Quality and strong work Ethics. Our clients trust us to be led by these principles. For our people, we take time to find the right talent with the right attitude. We guide them through their development and growth and support them with a culture which liberates their minds to innovate and be the best they can be. We don’t think them as employees… we strive for partnerships based on entrepreneurial spirit, trust and mutual respect.
How do you plan the growth for Liberty ITCG?
The IT market in this region is relatively small and social media is making it tiny. I like to believe that people do their research and know the qualities of our people and what I personally stand for. I am truly humbled about the amount of interest we have received from people who wish to join us or partner with us. It’s a positive sign that the market recognises the potential but we work to no particular success timeline and humbly prepare for growth. We have quadrupled our number of people in a short space of time but we only want to grow slowly but steadily.
I recognise our strengths but mostly acknowledge our weaknesses… being a start-up we have a low-cost basis and enjoy the flexibility and fast decisions BUT we cannot always offer the best service to every client, everywhere, every time. So, we have reached out and carefully sought strategic partnerships. They solved the issue of scalability and given us wider geographical reach. They are culturally aligned to our core principles and together we will go from strength to strength in our target industries of FSI, Telco and public sector.
Your preferred project management methodology and why?
Waterfall, iterative, agile, scaled agile, hybrids …. so which is the right answer? This keeps many in our industry awake at night. As corporations and governments invest millions to transform their operations and technologies, they are put under peer pressure to adapt quickly and effectively the latest trend in project delivery. Just know that because an approach has worked for others it does not mean that it will work for you. Despite many similarities, each organisation has its own unique character and DNA.
I’m saddened by the fanaticism I see today and by how much our industry has been polarised over this question. It is not a new phenomenon. We saw it with Prince 2 and with PMBOK and now with Agile. But is Agile a fad?
Well, in my expert opinion there is no one answer to the question. I can tell you with confidence that no textbook and no methodology delivers projects. People deliver projects. People with insight, instinct, acumen who care for streamlined processes, elimination of inefficiencies, quality products, diligent schedule and financial control and ultimately the success of their organisation. There is a place and a time for all of the above methodologies when projects are led by experienced leaders.
What is the most frightening thing about working for yourself… what are your strategies to continue to hit your goals?
As an employee, the boss will set your hours, your goals, limits, deadlines, performance indicators and give you feedback on how you’re going. The most frightening thing about running your own business is not knowing your own limits. Where do you draw the line on how many hours you work or how much new sales to chase or how often to travel or when you have reached success? I think that if we stay true to our core principles, we will remain relevant and effective for a long time. That is our goal.
How do you manage to be a father, a husband, starting a new business and running multiple client accounts at the same time? Any hints?
I guess I’m fortunate that I am a project manager by trade… my old mentor used to say that “we live and die by prioritisation”. I think that every day, everywhere and focus on the most important things in life.
I will never consider myself successful if to achieve that I gave up coaching my ten year old boy’s soccer team or failed to take my teenage daughter for driving lessons on weekends. Family is my priority, I gain positive energy from them and my business benefits from that.
I have a great passion for what I do and even though it is hard work and long hours I never think of it as “work”. I am inspired about what lies ahead and what our people can do. At Liberty ITCG we strive to remain agile and have aligned our goals to our client’s best interests.
Do you have any spare time? what do you do with it?
Family first but other than that I enjoy coaching, watching and playing soccer and when the weather does not permit, I love a good film with a glass of Glenfiddich neat in my hand.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a start-up of their own?
Fear is what separates us from where we want to be so a little courage can go a long way. Think why do you truly want to run a company… what motivates you the most in life? Business is a roller coaster and you will often return to those thoughts when things aren’t going to plan. Not having a boss to guide you means that every day you make a decision by yourself, for yourself. You will also go back to those thoughts when you have to make a choice between lying on a beach enjoying the sun on a Saturday afternoon or work on a client proposal instead. Make sure you know why before you start…
I do hope that you have read and learnt something about John and how some of his advice can assist you with your own career development.
Keep on keepin’ on,