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Spotlight: We shine the light this week on Trevor Gay


Photo of Trevor GaySimplicity columnist Trevor Gay talks to about his life and work. He'd love to see a time when managers were renamed coaches, he says, and when so-called soft skills - like understanding people and their motivation - were a greater priority.

Name: Trevor Gay
Age: 55
Job title: Management consultant, trainer, speaker, coach and author

Brief description of the job that you do:

I try hard to spend at least one day per week writing (about management, business and leadership). Writing is my first love but I often fail to achieve one day per week. I deliver half-day training workshops within the NHS on patient involvement and customer care. My wife Annie and I run these and it is a real joy to work together.

As a single-handed trainer I design and deliver custom training courses on leadership, communications, customer care, time management, attitudes, priorities, organising and any other training packages required by my client.

1. Why did you become an independent consultant?

When I left my NHS management career in November 2004 I wanted to work independently. I love my new found freedom after 35 years working in a corporate setting. I am now my own boss and the person I have to 'report to' is the man I see in the mirror. That's the greatest accountability I have ever known in my 39-year career.

2. What do you love best about your job?

I love work. I want to work until I am at least 80-years-old. I love the variety I now have and the liberation after 35 years in an over-managed organisation i.e. the NHS. After three and a half years working independently I now fully appreciate how over-managed people are in the NHS. I always believed it to be the case – now I know it is true.

3. What do you find most challenging?

Saying no to work opportunities. I hate to say no. Therefore I always say yes and then find ways of making sure I can do the job.

4. What's the best advice that you would give to someone becoming a consultant?

Have a great sense of humour and smile a lot at work. Encourage others. Don't be selfish. Work very hard. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Never give up. Communicate like hell. Take jobs for less money than you thought you might get. Don't be arrogant. Talk simple language – don't over complicate things. Never be pretentious. Trust front-line staff.

5. What's the best advice that's been given to you that has helped you in your career?

I've had lots of brilliant advice from many great people – some of the best advice follows:

  • My late beloved Dad regularly told me 'You get nothing for nothing so work hard'.
  • 'Remember you are always learning' from Professor George Giarchi my life and academic supervisor – now 78-years-old.
  • The basics are the new cutting edge – in other words don't overlook the basic stuff like good manners and saying thank you.

  • 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world' – Mahatma Gandhi.

6. How do you see the training community developing over the next few years?

We've only scratched the surface of online training. I would love to see managers renamed coaches and much more training on what have (wrongly in my opinion) been referred to as the softer management skills like understanding people, motivation and encouragement of front-line employees to take on the responsibility they are more than capable of.

7. What's the best career help book that you've ever read?

Wow! A difficult question - there are so many books that have influenced me but if I had to choose three they would be:

  • 'Body and Soul' – Anita Roddick

  • 'In Search of Excellence' - Tom Peters

  • 'Screw it Lets' Do it' – Sir Richard Branson

8. What's the best event within the training community that you've ever attended?

Tom Peters seminar May 2006 – a whole day session in London with Tom delivering four 90-minute talks to an audience of 500 senior executives.

9. Who do you think is the most inspirational member of the training community and have you ever met them?

No question - Tom Peters.

10. What else would you like to share with our members?

  • I am a committed Christian and I thank God everyday for all the good things in my life.
  • I believe it is important to be in a marriage or relationship with someone who loves you as much as you love them – this is perhaps the one single thing that makes me happy in my work.
  • Don't take work too seriously - find time for yourself every day.
  • Work hard, play hard but be a nice person.
  • Always retain your own integrity and humility and challenge unfairness.
  • To read Trevor Gay's Simplicity column click on the titles below:

    Information overload - myth or reality?

    Live or let die?

    Survival tips for managers

    Click here to read the last Spotlight on Nigel Paine


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