Accumulating a broad experience in both supply chain and SaaS software, Joe Juliano has led various leadership roles in multiple companies. Over the years Joe has demonstrated expertise in optimizing go-to-market strategies by achieving high levels of customer satisfaction and accelerating revenue growth. Today, he is the President and CEO of MercuryGate International, Inc.
Prior to MercuryGate, he was an Executive-in-Residence with Summit’s growth equity team to identify innovative, high-growth application software businesses. Before that, he served as President and CEO at IQNavigator, a provider of SaaS solutions that enables businesses to source, manage, and pay contingent workforces. He has also given his contributions in various companies including, RedPrairie, and PrimeRevenue. Apart from these roles, Joe has also led all commercial efforts of two publicly-traded companies, Ariba and FreeMarkets.
Joe has switched software industries multiple times and thus for him, learning the dynamics of a new industry has been a major challenge. Now, he is constantly learning the specifics of an industry which are essential in building of a new company. According to Joe, determining when to make changes is another challenging task. Hence, Joe asserts, an individual needs to be careful about when and how he/she makes changes. Understanding how much change the organization can withstand is critical. Analyzing those changes can determine if the right solution poorly implemented or it is actually the wrong solution.
Joe believes that one has to be patient and quick on his feet at the same time. At times, it is incredibly frustrating to wait, delegate, see change, etc. But a sense of urgency is also important to keep the momentum.
According to Joe, accessing people initially is another stumbling block. Some people are positioning right out of the gates, some sit back and wait and observe, some come forward and align with their colleagues, some start with a negative attitude and can obstruct change, and some people are more political than others. However, Joe believes that it takes time for them to get comfortable with each other. One needs to see how people do their jobs, manage their teams, react to things, before accessing them and acting. Rather than having suggestions from others, Joe suggests to rely on experiencing things by self.
Specifying the Role of CEO
Joe mentions, the CEO must understand the importance of “being a leader”. He adds, being a leader involves taking responsibilities, empowering people, being authentic, building great teams, and getting alignment across the organization.
It is critically important that everyone in the organization understands the overall strategic approach of the CEO. A CEO is required to develop supporting parameters which strengthens the strategy and should align departmental and individual performances accordingly.
As a CEO, one needs to be honest with people and true to their intentions. “Be true to yourself. Be yourself. Don’t be someone you are not. You must have difficult conversations with employees, customers, shareholders, etc. You have to make and communicate tough decisions, most times without complete information – you are often alone, and you have to deal with things straight on. Never shy away from a difficult conversation or decision.” Joe adds, also, one should not rush to the judgments. After hearing all kinds of things, one shall triangulate and experience things themself in order to form their own opinion.
Having worked for all enterprise software companies in different industries, Joe has found lot of commonalities. Some people are intellectually curious and want to understand the reason behind the certain way of doing things. Taking into consideration the good as well as bad leadership, and good as well as bad decisions, all have been informative in his experience. According to Joe, be it successes or failures, one should always continue to be open-minded and willing to learn, and in result, the experience will become a massive advantage.
Joe has been part of different work cultures and industries, although all in software. In his opinion, there are various small aspects that make company successful including culture, leadership, hiring structure, thorough knowledge of market, priorities, incentive, competitive landscape, the way of capturing the market, and candidly a little bit of luck of being in the right market at the right time.
When it comes to being a first-time CEO Joe asserts, “This is not to say that a first time CEO can’t be successful. How many CEO’s are serially successful? It isn’t a big list. I’ve seen many one-time CEO’s that haven’t been able to recreate the magic, I think it is because they were in the right place at the right time and what worked for them before is not necessarily universal. Each company is different; there are not “standard plays.” You have to understand each company has a set of unique things.”
A Strive to be the Best
As per Joe’s belief, one can do all the right things and still fail, as well as, one can make mistakes and succeed. One has to understand that many things are out of control sometimes. However, a leader must strive to be the best and must have the ability to build great teams. For that the individual be transparent, prepared to course correct, and should recognize the path. Joe advices to enjoy the journey; as many people focus only on the result and the desired results can be achieved by working on all the little things experienced in the journey. He believes if one does the fundamentals right, positive results become a bi-product.