“It started when, three days after 9-11, we went out to live with the Masai in Kenya for a week,” he explains. “I learnt more in that week than I had in the rest of my life – from leadership skills to how to live and perform under pressure and through adversity.”
This life-changing experience led him to found a charitable organisation, the Global Children’s Trust, which supports a number of global charities such as UNICEF, the Rainbow Trust and the Banana Appeal.
Prior to working with the Global Children’s Trust, Watson dedicated all of his time to Q4 Solutions, a leadership consultancy he founded over a decade ago.
But now he finds that the more integrated his charity and business worlds become, the easier it is becoming for him to achieve success in both.
Last year, when Watson went out to India for his charity work, he discovered that Q4 customers really wanted to hear about his charitable work.
“So many of our customers tracked what we were doing – it really established a new relationship with them,” he says, adding that the group he was traveling with ended up raising £150,000 for his trust as well as other charities such as UNICEF and the Rainbow Trust.
“The charity gives people an opportunity to do some good, there are all kinds of ways that people can get involved.”
For some, he says, this may be through regular donations, and for others, providing equipment or fundraising.
Ultimately, Watson sees a future where his business and charity are closely intertwined.
“Q4 has benefited hugely from my involvement with the trust. It seems the more work I do with the charity, the more work comes through to Q4,” he says. “The whole process has become self-fulfilling and self-sustaining.”
He adds that he has received an enormous amount of support from his network. “I really value my network – there are some fantastic people that I’ve come into contact with throughout the year.”
The next step, he says, is for him to find someone to take over the day-to-day running of Q4 for six months of the year.
“That’s my vision – it would allow me to spent more time with the charity and some other of my businesses. The charity work is so fulfilling that I always find time for it.”