Highlights from interview with Josh Stewart, CEO of X-Jet


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Thrive Forum:  The Thrive Forum is a peer group of like-minded business owners focused on having better businesses and better lives.  They meet with me every 2 months.  During the year we meet with successful people who have an interesting story and pick their brains.

In June 2016, we met with Josh Stewart, founder and CEO of X-Jet, who started the company in 2004 and has created a pioneering business valued at over €1Billion.

Background:  Josh grew up in Belfast.  He studied in London City University and then joined the RAF where he became a pilot – spent the early part of his career flying primarily in Africa but also in other areas of the world.

He decided in 2003 to make some changes.  He went to Denver, Colorado where he connected with his cousin who suggested he do an Educo seminar.  On this seminar, Josh learned how to make better use of his mind and he also crystallised the idea for a new business, with a vision to create a company that would become the no. 1 private aviation company in the world.

He succeeded in raising over €30 million US dollars in capital to get the business started and proceeded to create the model, opening first of all in Denver.  XJet is the company that he created which has already been acknowledged as the no. 1 private aviation company in the US.  Josh has created a 2020 plan to fulfil his vision of becoming no. 1 in the world which includes opening up hubs in London, Paris, Dubai and Macau (Asia).

Here are some of the highlights shared with the Thrive Forum in discussion:

  • Importance Of A Compelling Vision: Josh discussed how critically important it was to have a clear vision which had very tangible elements to it.  He discussed three different elements around his vision.

    1. The mental vision he has in terms of pictures which he plays in his mind all the time, but particularly in the morning first thing before he looks at or does anything else.

    2. A written document which allows him to share this with other people including investors and employees (partners).  This document outlines in precise format exactly what the desired picture looks like in 2020 in every area.

3. His vision has both business and personal elements to it – the personal he keeps private to                     himself.

  • State Of Mind: Josh is a big believer in the power of the mind and the importance of keeping your state up.  One of the phrases he repeatedly used during the discussion was the importance of keeping things light.  This means ensuring that his own state never got caught up too much with heavy thoughts or negative thoughts.
  • Health & Fitness: Josh looked to be somebody who actually lived by what he said in terms of keeping a healthy body and a healthy mind.  He said that he goes to the gym 3-4 times a week and stays on a relatively strict diet of fat and protein based around the educogym system, although he does like the occasional pint at the weekend. 🙂
  • One Directional Mind: Josh spoke at length about how before he did the Educo seminar he felt that his mind was divided in terms of its attention, focus and energy and as a result, the results were lesser than they are now.  He feels that he is so clear on his vision that his mind is just very much one directional in going after this very exciting compelling vision.
  • The Right People: He spoke about how his biggest challenge over the entire course of the business of running XJet has been getting the right people on board and getting them to do the right things.  So he spoke about how they have a 3 month induction/testing programme for all new employees. 50% of employee’s performance is measured on KPI/Metrics which are linked to financials and the other 50% is linked to their contribution to the overall vision.
  • Finding A Passion: Josh spoke at length about how he believed that everybody has their own purpose, talent and passions within them but you have to take time out to reflect on them and find out what they are.  And that as soon as you do you have to build a career and life around these because then you’ll have more than most people. He believes that everyone had different passions, purposes and talent to express.
  • Rewards: He mentioned that all employees in the business were incentivised to give more than they get paid for and in his words to help move the business even an inch closer to its vision but also to make sure they were rewarded in the same thing.  His intention is to give some equity rewards when the vision is achieved but also along the way all staff are incentivised financially to exceed targets and are rewarded in line with that.
  • Pacing Growth: Josh spoke about how he was very particular about pacing the growth of the company and has often been given advice from partners not to give away too much equity – because you’d lose control of the business and the vision. The most important thing in his mind around success is having control of the vision.  So for that reason, even though he has been given opportunities financially to move faster, he believes it would have been at the expense of control of the vision – which ultimately would have derailed the success that he believes is going to happen.  So he has a very clear road map and is quite happy to pace at a certain level of growth to ensure completion of the vision and also control.

For more information on Josh’s inspiring journey, read this article.

For more information on my Thrive Forum, go here.