A ‘critical friend’ through a tough transition

Date: 24th Oct '14
  • NCS Young People's Programme Graduation

    NCS Young People's Programme Graduation

Elaine Lilley, Chief Executive Officer, Education & Business Partnership

“Dawn and Paul’s no-nonsense style and combined wealth of experience have been invaluable during our period of phenomenal business reinvention”

In 2001 the EBP was established as an independent organisation having been a department within the Training & Enterprise Council for the previous 10 years.  Our funding in the early days came from local and national government (85%) and the remaining 15% came from “commercial” activity.   Over the years the levels of government funding reduced and we became more responsible for generating our own income.  We are a social enterprise, not for profit, provider of services to schools and businesses.  After 2010 all grant funding ended and we were totally responsible for our business.

At the time I wasn’t sure I realised the scale of the challenges we would face - one of the biggest being a shift in mindset!  It was a steep and rapid learning curve.

As Chief Executive I was required to drive the change and challenge; Dawn and Paul have both played key roles in this.  Paul has been a mentor (I learnt from shadowing him and observing his inclusive, straightforward leadership style).  Dawn has been an executive coach, a valuable confidante and source of inspiration.

Dawn worked with my senior management team helping them to grow into their “new” leadership roles.  She carried out team building exercises enabling staff to move from A to B with more ease.  Additionally, Dawn has worked with specific project teams inspiring people to be responsible for their part in the company and their plan.  She has helped our teams think clearly about how to do what they are doing, when to do it and why they do it. Everybody has enjoyed Dawn’s training, and gained a new sense of responsibility. Staff gained a huge respect for Dawn as well as trusting her and enjoying her style; she is uplifting! 

We now have a commercially-minded business, which invests millions into the future of our young people’s employability. One example is the National Citizen Service pilot we ran in 2011 for 89, 16-18 year olds, in Lincoln & Skegness.  In 2014, our programme attracted 2,330, 16-18 year olds from Lincolnshire, Rutland, Leicestershire & Northamptonshire.  An upscaling challenge in so many ways.

Would I recommend Human Alchemy? Yes, no question!  I feel they have helped me become a more focused manager, and my team now think in a different way.