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Professor Simon Guy, UA92 and Lancaster University - Starter for 10

19 January 2018

Professor Simon Guy, UA92 and Lancaster University - Starter for 10

Professor Simon Guy is currently working on secondment from his role as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University as interim principal of University Academy 92, developing a new HEI offering across business, media and sport in partnership with the Class of 92, Microsoft, Trafford Council, Manchester United and other corporate partners, located in Old Trafford, Manchester.

Simon’s previous roles include head of the school of Environment, Education and Development and founding director of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre at the University of Manchester and dean of research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Newcastle University.

Simon attended the Top Management Programme 40, which took place between April - September 2017.

  1. What is the best piece of management/leadership advice you have ever been given?
    Keep your eyes to the horizon.
  2. Who would you have liked to have worked with/for?
    Bill Shankly, the legendary Liverpool football manager, for his empathy and capacity to engage and enthuse people.
  3. What is the biggest change you have seen in management/leadership approaches?
    The use of metrics, which can induce insight or blindness depending on their application.
  4. Who has inspired you most in your working life?
    I have been fortunate to work with some inspirational leadership coaches through my career who have helped me keep learning and developing as a leader and manager. 
  5. What comes naturally to you as a leader? And what do you feel you have to work on?
    Working with such a diverse range of brilliant people is a privilege and (mostly) a joy. Keeping focused through endless meetings is more of a challenge!
  6. Who would you choose to be stranded on a desert island with?
    Kate Bush, for her capacity to create wonder and new imaginative possibilities, which will be key to island life.
  7. What will you remember most about Top Management Programme?
    The energy, commitment and good humour of the participants, particularly in my impact group.
  8. What will be the most enduring learning point?
    The need to create and empower balanced leadership teams.
  9. Thinking about your career and experiences, what advice would you give your younger self?
    There is learning in every experience.
  10. What one thing would make your job easier?
    Greater capacity and enthusiasm for organisational change.
  11. What’s been your biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it?
    Probably my current role in setting up UA92 as a new University. Meeting that challenge involves drawing together the collective genius across Lancaster University and our amazing partners. 
  12. If you could get tickets to any event in the world what would it be?
    If I could have a time machine I would like to return to the 1960s to see the Beatles and/or John Coltrane. A ticket to see the jazz pianist Brad Mehldau is always welcome.
  13. What can’t you live without?
    Music, films, good food and wine, conversation, books of all kinds and sadly my phone.
  14. What would you be if you weren’t a…. ?
    If I had the talent – a musician, painter, photographer – a creative.
  15. What’s your favourite leadership book and why?
    Not a leadership book per se, but Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi has inspired me to always keep an open mind in every situation and to see possibilities and challenges in a fresh light.
  16. What would be your priority activity if you were invisible for a day?
    A day at Downing Street to better understand what motivates our politicians.

To find out more on the Top Management Programme, please click here.


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