Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business and leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janet du Preez, Founder of Engagement Dynamics, located in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Engagement Dynamics is an Organisational Growth Consultancy. We maximise the impact of leaders navigating change, complexity, and conflict through
- Mobilising 21st Century leader competencies.
- Revitalising disconnected, disjointed, and dysfunctional teams.
- Igniting exceptional thinking capacity.
- Optimising engagement and minimising cultural entropy.Identifying, honing and targeting leader strength.
- Designing powerful, transformative interactions.
- Crafting and implementing bold strategic and development plans.
- Enhancing the holistic well-being of people and organisations.
- Facilitating better collaborative responses to wicked problems.
- Speaking to inform, inspire and ignite action.
Our flagship solution is our Astute Leadership Programme, a transformative journey designed to foster 21st Century leader competencies. The principles of this programme shape the ethos of all our work. Our clients are organisations committed to solving important and complex problems. We work with their leaders to maximise the organisation's effectiveness, focusing primarily on their purpose, processes, and people. We love working with companies that are innovating, growing, and experimenting and with leaders who embrace systems thinking, recognise the need for new approaches, see business as art and science, and are adventurous and courageous.
Tell us about yourself
I originally completed a nursing degree. Motivated by compassion, I also learned the principles of navigating and managing complex dynamic systems. I specialised in psychiatric nursing and developed a keen interest in understanding people. My curiosity focused on learning about people's strengths, how and why individuals change, why they show up the way they do, what they believe, how they respond to challenges, and how they interact with each other and with work, inside and across organisational boundaries. When I moved out of the medical field and into business, I began to apply what I had learned as a nurse to understanding business realities such as organisational systems, organisational health, and well-being, the design of systems, processes, and interventions, change and growth, performance and especially leadership.
As I began to consult and to design and implement solutions, I honed 5 key skills - strategy development, intervention design, facilitation, coaching, and professional speaking. I built a powerful network of amazing associates with complementary skills, continued to build an extensive knowledge base and business acumen, and crafted a large toolkit of methodologies, facilitation processes, exercises and programmes. Craftsmanship and artistry are woven through all these solutions. My mandate is to craft a transformational milieu, a context in which people choose to engage and in which they are changed because they are engaged. I love the arts and seek to weave craftsmanship and artistry into everything I do, believing that all forms of art constitute one of the most transformative modalities to which we have access.
Much as business often wants fast solutions, they are seldom sustainable. I believe in tackling challenges systemically, at the root, and fundamentally. I believe in going slow to go fast. I believe that optimal returns spring from carefully crafted, strategic investments. My MSc in the Management of Technology and Innovation focused on improving stakeholder engagement in the context of wicked problems. My greatest joy derives from seeing the impact of what I do. My desire is to get more opportunities to do deeply impactful work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is changed lives. Nothing brings me greater joy than hearing that my work has made a positive difference to a leader, team, organisation, or society.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
In my business, the greatest challenge is juggling the responsibilities of sales, innovation, and delivery. I have not yet mastered this, although it is getting better. I love innovation and delivery, but sales is the engine. If I could nail an effective sales system, I would create the capacity for the other two functions.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Prioritise people. People are ultimately responsible for everything in your business.
- Be courageous. Don't bet the farm, but take reasonable risks.
- Prioritise your own health and well-being. Work smart, so you don't have to work too hard for your own good.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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