Nick Madhavji MBE

Founder and CEO, Joskos Solutions

Doug Woodburn
clock • 4 min read
Nick Madhavji MBE

What has been your business highlight of 2022?

There have been many highlights - which is great given what we've been dealing with as a planet for the last few years. From a numbers perspective we've achieved double-digit growth. More importantly that growth has been in areas that we highlighted a strategic priority. From a people perspective, seeing my senior leadership team come together stronger than ever has definitely been a highlight for me. Nothing beats seeing a team come together that care about delivering the mission and living the values of a company in the way you do as a founder.

If you were ruler of your own country, what law would you introduce first?

I would introduce laws and initiatives that ensure no child would go hungry and every learner would have the right to an adequate and appropriate education. I believe we are born with our own special gifts. From personal experience, I was a learner with high drive, ambition and tanker loads of energy but until I was tapped on the shoulder at 15 and told I had something special inside me, I didn't believe it. The education system was not designed for or adaptable enough for dyslexic learners with a large dose of ADHD like me. We have made huge strides as a country and education system over the last 20 years; however, we still have some way to go. The law I would introduce would be that every child has the right and the opportunity to have an education that allows them to discover and develop their inner genius, their deeper drivers, their raison d'etre and that focuses on developing their innate talents. Far too much talent goes undeveloped; imagine a country where people were able to discover and live what they were best at and enjoyed the most - the economy would thrive, and mental welfare would benefit massively.

Which channel or tech leader (outside of your own company) has impressed you most in 2022?

Roger Harry of Circle IT has impressed me the most. I have known Roger for more than ten years and have seen him relentlessly build a team that has allowed him to focus on what he excels at, step away from areas where he does not excel, while still building a strong cultured business. It takes a lot for a founder to achieve what Roger has, many dream of such success. He's remained grounded, humble and does an incredible amount for charities that are deep rooted in serving those with special needs.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?

"Beware: Serious allergy to procrastination and negativity - contains a large dose of drive and optimism :)"

What was your first job?

I had my first job at the age of 12! It was a cash-in-hand job for six days a week at a wholesale shop working from 6am till 7.30am before school. My primary responsibility was to ensure everything was stocked up, priced and as presentable as possible. I learned a lot about self-leadership and resilience, especially when my alarm clock would go off at 05:30 on a freezing winter morning. I worked for the owner, Michael Graham, for three years and he was my first major influence on my outlook in business. At that age we are so impressionable, which is why Joskos is always very keen on supporting and mentoring learners. As a WW2 veteran who started a wholesale business when he left the forces, Michael taught me that service, hard work and keeping a keen eye on the numbers would stand the test of time. Valuable lessons that I have embraced and continue to practice nearly 30 years on.

What was the last book you read, and was it any good?

The last book I read, technically speaking, was Horrible Histories with my son and he loved it! The last book I read solo - which is probably more appropriate for this response was Team of Teams by General Stanley McCrystal. It is about the ‘new' rules of engagement in a complex world. It focuses on culture, creating radical transparency, expecting the unexpected, responding to challenges and opportunities rapidly by constantly adapting with agile teams. A great book.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from another business leader or mentor?

To hire people based on their attitude and then focus on training them for the skills they'll need. Of course, some specialist positions can be a different beast all together; that said, the right skills and the right attitude are a killer combination. Some of the best hires we have ever made didn't necessarily have all the skills, but they had the drive, attitude and hunger to go make it happen and they did.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

I am often told - and I don't know how to feel about it, to be frank - that I remind people of Jason Statham. Personally I think I'm better looking, but I'm sure Jason and the rest of the world (apart from my mum) would disagree! A movie of my life would have a lot of twists and turns with a large dose of fighting back and responding to an array of challenging situations so I guess Jason would likely be a good fit - however, I am unsure how he would feel about it!

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