Jason English graduated with a Mechanical Engineering Qualification in 1999 and began his working career at Kentz Engineers & Constructors. Through a career spanning 15 years with Kentz, Jason progressed from Junior Engineer through various Project Management positions to the Global Development Director for the Technical Services Divison. He worked in several countries including Canada, USA, Scotland, England, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East interacting with large blue chip organisations such as Exxon Mobil, Sasol, British Gas, Queensland Gas Company, SUNCOR and Qatar Petroleum.
Jason has been involved in more than 100 Industrial plant shutdowns varying in size and scope and has spoken at International seminars in Scotland and England. In 2012, Jason qualified with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), and joined a young, dynamic Prommac as the Chief Executive Officer where he remains today. Jason is a member of the Institute of Directors in South Africa as well as a member of the world renowned Andy Harrington Public Speakers University based out of the UK.
My Definition Of Success | Success used to mean the car I drove, the title behind my name on a business card, and the fancy clothes I could wear. As time passed and as I became more successful, the meaning of success took on a different meaning. For me success has become a combination of three primary areas which without either, I will never truly be happy and complete:
To break it down, Wealth needs no explanation; each person has a different wealth value that they need to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. “This is called our number”. Knowing this number allows me to position myself such that the business decisions I take, can be taken without worrying about the potential impact of them going wrong. Essentially having wealth allows me to take more risky decisions which others wouldn’t necessarily take and this more often than not opens up new opportunities.
Family life balance is also key to success. Without the love and support of family, success is difficult to achieve. Spending time with my family, and watching my kids grow up is important and keeps my mind, body and soul in an active state. The things we can learn from our kids is unbelievable, as they remind us of what we can achieve without having walls around us. Having a wife and family support system who understands the hard yards that need to be put in to business is also critical. I hear far too often of family break ups due to work environments, and talking about the challenges that a family will undergo is critical for stable and successful marriages during these times.
Having meaning or purpose is also a major driver for me. Making a difference in something larger than me, is humbling and rewarding on so many fronts. Whether it be staff acquiring their first vehicle or house, or me having the ability to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, the key is being able to give back to a community at large.
When I found a relationship between the three facets, my business grew exponentially and my life changed for the better.
I Am Driven By | Generally cars!!! LOL…. Isn’t that the usual sarcastic remark nowadays? But seriously when people tell me I can’t do something, that’s my injection of positivity right there and having a vision and a goal to work towards makes me wake up every morning and press the play button.
My Highlights | Wow…. I have had so many highlights in my life, where do I begin. If I had to choose one besides the birth of my first child, I would have to say that completing my MBA with distinction was a highlight when all odds were against me. I was fulfilling a demanding global business role from the USA to Australia and my boss at the time was not very supportive and believed I wouldn’t complete it. Well I proved him wrong and finished second in the course out of 1800 students who started it. I also got my helicopter license which was a major achievement for me.
A general highlight throughout my career is seeing my employees succeed. In one case I had a lady purchase her first car and in another case, I had a lady purchase her first house. I also watched how an employee who was initially employed as a general worker, progressed over 10 years into a manager earning a healthy living, owning a house and a vehicle. Knowing that I have assisted in making this happen is special and everytime I see this, it reminds me of the importance of having meaning in my life.
The Difference Between Good And Great | People who are good, do what they need to do to perform well. They go to work, they do their job and go home with the crowds. People who are great, spend hours researching, learning, enhancing their own level of knowledge and skills, and are willing and wanting to share their experiences with their teams to help everyone grow as a collective. They generally don’t follow the masses. People who are great enjoy seeing others succeed and invest in themselves.
A Key Talent | Hard work, persistence, positivity and self-belief have been the strengths that have been critical for my success. Everything I have ever done, I’ve done at full pace and rather than leaving a task for tomorrow, I’ve worked on it until it’s completed. In business and careers, we come up against challenges; whether it’s a difficult problem, a tough boss, horrible client, terrible employee…… persistence to continue doing what we do until the problem is removed is key. In my career, I’ve had some terrible bosses and colleagues, however I took a decision that each one of them had great attributes I could learn, and terrible attributes I could learn from. With the focus on the bigger picture, I took all the learning’s and these ultimately shaped me into who I am today. Everyday is a new lesson for me. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I learn, but I never lose.
How I Use My Mind | I am a believer in positive thinking and mind development. I have surrounded myself with life coaches from different walks of life to share experiences with, and I follow and read up on motivational business speakers from around the world. The problem with all motivational courses, is that they generally only last a few weeks as we slip back into daily routines. My key to keeping my mind positive is that every day, I read my affirmation and post a positive quote to get me going in my day. Regardless of the day I’m about to have, it’s like a dose of breakfast….. At least I won’t be hungry for a while, which is better than being hungry all day. By kicking off my day being motivated, my staff are immediately lifted, and generally the atmosphere is such that it becomes difficult to feel negative when there is a lot of positivity around me.
Lessons I Have Learnt | The simple lessons are…. People make your business. Build a motivated team and turn your organisation into a learning organisation where entrepreneurial skills can flare. Have the necessary systems to govern processes, but reduce red tape which frustrates people in their work place. On the bigger lessons, I have been involved in a number of acquisitions of companies of which some were successful and others not, so follow these steps: Before getting involved in a business, conduct a proper due diligence. People will sell you the stars when they are desperate. If that means spending money on professional advice…. DO IT! Too often there are so many problems which arise from taking over someone’s business, that are only uncovered after a transaction is completed. Talk to their clients, suppliers and employees in depth as well as the banks about how the account is handled. My experience has shown that it is better to pay more for a successful business, than less for a business that needs to be turned around. Although there are many philosophies and successful stories which talk about turnaround strategies, I have found them extremely difficult to execute in reality, and they also require so much time and effort, that often your core business suffers in the process. When you are in doubt about acquiring a business, then don’t. Instinct is an amazing talent within all of us…. We just don’t trust it.
Performing At My Peak |We perform at our peak, when we have a clear mind. Figure out what one thing relaxes you spiritually. I have a passion for thumping pop music and this relaxes me. To perform at your peak, you need to know what will clear your mind and get you performing. When I’m feeling frustrated or angry, there’s nothing like a dose of “I’m happy, by Pharrell Williams, or I’m alive by Justin Bieber”. Now I know the critics will be out on Bieber, but the words to his I’m alive song are so powerful, you only acknowledge them when you sing them. “Bigger, better, stronger, power… I’m alive”
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | So dreams are generally something that is never achieved and only happens in my sleep… My goals are to build a successful business, spend quality time with my family, and have more meaningful moments that I can be proud of. My plans are to build a great team around me and my ambition is to fly in a fighter jet one day.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | A simple one liner – “Knowing what you know today, would you still make the same decision you took yesterday!” This can apply to hiring of people, business transactions, personal life, or investments. If the answer is no, then do something about it. Don’t let your emotions keep you tied into a decision that you wouldn’t take again… GET OUT. It’s better to lose R100 today, than R100 000 tomorrow.
Advice On Building Wealth | Focus on those things you know and understand. Entering into unknown territory is risky. Work hard, be persistent, trust yourself and set goals which are clear and measureable. If you have spare funds….. invest in yourself. Go on courses and read articles or books of great leaders. It’s the best spent investment money can buy.
I Am Inspired By | Richard Branson – I just really enjoy his business manner and the way he does things. Jose Maciel – He built a billion rand business with no education through hard work, persistence, self belief and one client.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | One where people remember me for creating a platform from which people can grow and develop from a wealth and personal perspective.