Richard Watts

My Masters has shaped and influenced everything I’ve done since – that experience was all about self-direction and exploration for me, which really aligns with being an entrepreneur. It taught me how to explore ideas, connect with people and quickly analyse situations. These skills are really important when engaging with the organisations we work with, as our value comes from understanding the world from their perspective and helping them to imagine how their organisation can be changed and transformed through working with us.

People make it work has been running for 16 years now and we’ve maintained relationships with nearly every client we’ve ever worked with. When I talk to students back in Leeds, they’re really interested in what it takes to build those consultancy relationships, establish longstanding trust and really create value for clients. They always want to know practical insights to build their own businesses.

I’ve shared my experience of work through teaching on Masters programmes and talking at University alumni events, where graduates from around the world are invited to reconnect. I recently ran a workshop on how we evolve from focusing on getting our first job to thinking about our global impact and the role that relationships and networks play in realising our personal goals.

At Change Partners we’ve developed a collaboration with Leeds University Business School, working with the Executive Education team to help their corporate clients translate the great academic knowledge they get from the Business School into real business results through our consulting, change management and coaching support. Together we’re developing something that’s quite revolutionary.

My advice to students is to really think about what you want to do in life and what your values are, then seek out employers who will enable that. Interview them as well as they interview you.

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