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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with George Trow

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with George Trow

Name: George Trow

Current title: Vice Chair of Corporation

Current organisation: Coventry College

Over 30 years Further and Higher Education experience and with twelve of those years at CEO level in a large organisation. Experience of takeover, merger and recovery work in each institution. Working at Non Executive Director level currently. MBA qualified with leadership and coaching awards. Level 7 Coach for Executive support work.

7 Questions with George Trow


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

In the early days of leadership it was about building the trust to let go and believe in the capability of others. Once I mastered that things became much easier. Once you understand how much talent is available in your team then it’s about being a facilitator.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I worked my way through each level of responsibility in the Further and Higher education sector. I was a Deputy CEO for several years prior to becoming Chief Executive and it was important to ‘ learn the trade’ so to speak, I believe there is great value in experience and building that cannot be rushed. I have carried out three significant recovery jobs and have enjoyed the satisfaction of rising through organisations to the level of CEO.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Firstly, I sleep well and am able to structure my days to best effect. Diary management with space to think and walk about the organisation is important. We can all easily fill our diary; it is much harder to enable free space for others.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

How to recover from perceived failures or mistakes. Listen and trust others to enable that to happen.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Empty Raincoat - Charles Handy. This book was the culmination of a shift of mindset for Handy from lists and tick sheets and formulas for success to the understanding that chaos sometimes exists and is no bad thing at some stages.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

You build trust, lead with honesty and perseverance then create a framework where learning and development are embedded as culture. Expectations that are shared are so important for success so from the support roles to executive roles everyone is important and must know the direction of travel.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

Having taken on a role In a new organisation I visited various parts of the business informally and listened. One group of workers who were particularly militant previously and they were offloaded. I gave no solutions but listened. I later found out they said he will never be back in this area again just like the others who have worked in that role. Eventually after returning and sorting some of their issues and continuing to walk the floor they told me the story that they never expected me back! However not only did you come back and face the flack, then you had a coffee with us! That was not expected at all. I learned to listen and not promise anything but soft what could be sorted and say what can’t be solved immediately or ever!

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