Q2 2024

SME News Q2 2024/ 10 appreciation, trust, and value for each other; creating thinking environments; promoting equity, equality, inclusion, and diversity; and expanding everyone’s potential to be the best. Neslyn empowers leaders to leverage their strengths, skills, and leadership performance; identify the triggers that push them off track; consistently figure out ongoing top priorities; develop their ‘self-discipline muscle’; and more. This leads to increased self-esteem; increased capacity to lead and influence shared vision; maintained high performance; effective communication; improved conflict resolution; a move from transactional to transformational, authentic leadership; and the list goes on. “I have learnt that the important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is not to try. I launched the ripple of my passion for leadership development into the ocean, that ripple became a wave and that led to my work forming the foundations for the development of the present NHS Leadership Academy.”- Dame Neslyn Watson-Druée DBE By developing leaders, this, too, improves entire organisations, with Neslyn telling us, “We pride ourselves on organisational development. We believe that meaningful organisational development and success occurs when boards and executive teams give firm commitment to: facilitating people’s growth and development; empowering people to take responsibility for the success of the organisation including the quality of the organisation’s products and services; understanding the internal and external environments, including how organisations function as systems; and enabling leadership and management styles which are capable of withstanding the turbulence of change.” Within Neslyn’s vast experience is more than 25 years at board level as a non-executive director, inclusive of over 10 years as a chairman. Neslyn harnesses this experience to bring awareness, empathy, and an understanding of relationships at executive and corporate levels into the coaching she provides. This knowledge and experience enable her to not only coach existing leaders, but also aspiring directors in preparation for job interviews and to bring about stability early on in their careers. “Success is more than just a job for Neslyn. It is her everything. She’s completely reignited my ambition and I don’t know what I would do without her. Thank you, Neslyn. It is an honour to have you as my coach.”- Diane Caddle, Ministry of Justice UK Notably, Neslyn has seen outstanding success as coaching adviser to His Majesty’s Government Civil Servants through public sector resourcing, and she has developed training programmes that have been helping people for decades. Such programmes have leveraged the capabilities of black and ethnic minority communities and include the Black and Minority Ethnic Programme, which has been running for more than 20 years in NHS hospitals and Community Trusts; the Personal and Career Development programme for 22 multinationals in London (including the BBC, HSBC, Barclays Bank, The Post Office, British Rail, London Underground, and more) through The London Enterprise Agency; and a Mentoring Development programme for the BBC. As a visionary, empowering, and transformational leader, Neslyn’s work is celebrated far and wide, having received over 25 awards for her work, and most recently being bestowed with a DBE by King Charles III in his 75th birthday honours. Neslyn was “astonished and delighted” as His Majesty recognised her significant contributions particularly towards the development of women and minorities. Alongside this, her MBE from the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was for personal and career development of staff working across voluntary organisations, local government, banking, and commerce, and her CBE was for Health Service Innovation and Leadership, in addition to the Queen’s Medal for Windrush Nurses and Beyond. The honours highlight how Neslyn has “excelled as a mentor, coach, and role model for ethnic minority NHS staff”, praising her selflessness in supporting young people in the black community, guiding them away from the influence of gangs and crime, and personally funding employment opportunities for them. This is in addition to the launch of Colourful Radio, a community radio station which broadcasts to the Greater London area and aims to help young black people. “I highly recommend Neslyn to anyone seeking an insightful, challenging yet passionately supportive executive coach. Neslyn manages to combine critical appraisal and an enabling philosophy seamlessly. This has help me to reflect personally and professionally on my own aspirations and shape my own approach to my executive role.”- Professor Laura SerrantGreen Among Neslyn’s talents, too, is public speaking, where she articulates the behaviours and characteristics that allow leaders to flourish. Her ‘Unique Business System: The Leaders’ Code™’ is used with corporate organisations to change organisational culture, encouraging people to be courageous, committed, creative, challenge issues, and not to be afraid to show they care about each other. Within her public speaking, she has previously presented to the European Parliament, public and private sector organisations, and various charities. Neslyn has also shared an international stage with Bill Walsh, President and CEO of Powerteam International; Mark Victor Hansen, speaker and author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series; Sharon Lechter, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and advocate; Erik Swanson, The Habitudes Coach; Dave Dee, entrepreneur, magician, and GKIC leader; Itzik Amiel, Global Leading Authority on Networking; Fabrice Beillard, global business expert, author, and international speaker; Irina Alionte, global entrepreneur and speaker; James Dentley, author, speaker, entrepreneur, and business trainer; Alec Stern, Vice President of Strategic Innovation for Constant Contact; and Harvey Thorneycroft of Brilliant Mind Speakers. Further, Neslyn shared a platform with the Rt. Hon. Oliver Dowden CBE, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office at the launch of the Centre for Public Appointments – Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan, where she spoke about diversity issues, ‘Stepping Stones to Achieving Diversity on Public Boards’. Also, within her portfolio, Neslyn has authored five books: ‘From Impossible to Possible’, ‘Joyful Living – The Guide to Your Purpose & Passion’, ‘Authentic Choice – Be You’, ‘Relationship Skills for Executives – 6 Conscious Blueprints for Executives to Experience Joy’, and ‘Fly High Land Safely – The Definitive Book on Career Transition for Executives’. Each book is available for purchase from her online store. This isn’t all, for she is an international journalist, having written columns on leadership for the Phoenix Newspaper, which has 8 million readers online, as well as written articles on leadership for Sovereign Magazine and the Voice Newspaper. She has been interviewed by BBC Radio, too. “I had the absolute pleasure to work with Neslyn in 2017. She is an exceptional executive coach, and our work together has been enlightening, inspirational, and has had a profoundly positive impact for me. Neslyn has many, many skills but her signature strength is to truly understand what makes people tick and to develop self-awareness to enable them to achieve their greatest ambitions.”- Jessica McDarren, Trade Finance Director, Consumer Products Division UK/Ireland, L’Oréal So, what tips does Neslyn have for businesses that are looking to be successful? Her advice is to: “build strong teams – create and sustain high performing teams who share the vision towards common goals and amplify the vision. Focus on being the best with the products and services provided. Focus on customer service and quality. Listen to customers and staff, and always demonstrate integrity. Develop your people to take pride in the business; praise people when they do a good job. Treat people fairly and let people know they matter. Address issues in leadership, communication, and performance management. Adapt, innovate, and use technology wisely, underpinned with sound financial management. Be respectful of the supply chain and the whole system.” She adds, “[And] don’t worry about the competition, focus on being your best. Cream will always rise to the top.” Now, in terms of the future of Beacon Organisational Development, Neslyn tells us that the plan over the next five years is to “support 50 SMEs to build their leadership cadre”. Within this, the organisation will be working with senior civil servant to focus on their mission, purpose, and outstanding service. Ultimately, Dame Neslyn has indeed come a long way since she was told all those years ago that she was going to be “blocked” by the person who was supposed to be supporting her to succeed professionally. And a brilliant role model she has become – for black people, for black women, for leaders who might need to have a more open mind. Neslyn didn’t listen to anybody who tried to put her