Mike Maddock of PES
Mike Maddock, co-founder and MD of Sheffield's Performance Engineered Solutions, tells BQ what he believes makes a great business leader and what he has learned since launching the company...
What does your role include?
I am co-owner and MD for Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) Ltd based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in South Yorkshire. PES is a small and evolving company and so my role is as diverse as it is exciting.
The role requires, amongst other things, a focus on strategic direction, finance & marketing through to liaising with key clients and partners in collaborative research & development projects.
What is it the company does?
The company began as an Engineering Design business, operating in multiple sectors, however we found that we were a ‘solutions business’ and that engineering is just a part (however key) of the whole process.
18 months ago we also created two other strands to the businesses, under the PES brand. This came about after identifying opportunities in the market and also listening to the continued requirements of our clients. The first, PES Scanning, utilises 3D optical systems and CT technology (X ray) for reverse engineering and inspection. The second, PES Business, was again established from the demands of our existing clients to maximise further cost savings and business optimisation opportunities for their firms.
So we create innovative solutions to meet our client’s challenges, whether they be immediate or to meet the future demands of the business, by working in collaboration to develop new concepts and IP.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Consistency, clarity, consequences, approachability, a good ear and humour. You MUST also be mindful of the needs of the individuals in your team. I strongly believe that your team cannot evolve and grow unless they have the confidence to make mistakes.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
When starting a business from scratch it does not come down to one particular challenge, however the shortage of exceptional design engineers and the high investment costs of hardware and software in the technology sector has certainly been one of the greatest challenges in growing the business.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
If you have the focus to drive your business to something other than a ‘life style’ business, you need to embrace stress and enjoy the challenges you get from growing a company. You have the choices to reduce the stress at any time. Outside of the business I love spending time with my wife and two girls.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Pilot and I still do, however in my early career I ended up as a Navy Diver….work that one out.
Any pet hates in the workplace?
The ‘trouble is’ troopers. They can always find a 1,000 reasons why not to do something. There is more than one way to take on a challenge. Even if you initially fail, learn and move forward again. That’s evolution.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
The aim is for the company to continue developing and expanding year on year. There is opportunity for growth in all three areas of the business – plus no doubt other areas that we’ve yet to discover through our collaborative Research & Development projects. On particular project, we are working on, is likely to be one of the rare ‘disruptive’ technologies when it hits the market and this could have a major positive impact on the business and team.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Talk to as many people who have taken the journey. Those who have failed, succeeded, failed and succeeded again and those who have just succeeded. Understand what makes them tick, ask what they have learnt, what they would have done differently and how they managed the challenges. You must continually develop and evolve yourself - never stand still.
Don’t let anyone tell you it is easy. You must ensure you have the will and the stamina, and be prepared for the highs and lows along the way. If you have a family then ensure you have their full support. Build yourself a trusted & challenging network of people and don’t try to do it alone.
Look to identify those things that could have an adverse effect on your business, even if you have absolutely no control over them. Think, contingency. I am amazed how many organisations, including our own Government assumed the outcome of Brexit, had no contingency in place to lead us forward, and then spent months looking back rather than getting a strategy in place.
Where did you start your career?
I originally started in the hospitality industry and hotel management.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far: