Monday, August 28, 2006

George Giarchi - my idea of a role model




I often write about how much I respect my Academic Supervisor Professor George Giarchi who has inspired me for so many years.

George is now 76 years old and still works as a lecturer at Plymouth University. He has a contract taking him to age 78. I just cannot imagine George not working beyond that date and he tells me he hopes to have an annual renewable contract at the University once he reaches 78.

Annie and I recently visited George in Plymouth.

I see George less often these days and it was great to catch up with him. Please note the red ‘L’ plate on his office wall. I have often told the story behind this. George says it is there to remind him he is still learning from his students.

When I look for the best qualities of leaders, integrity, honesty and humility always feature as the top three on my list. George has all three of these qualities and many more

20 comments:

David Wike said...

Hi Trevor,

Glad the holiday went well – can you remember that far back? I’m kinda linking several of your recent posts together here. My son went to Plymouth University. The tenuous relevance of this is that I have a habit of saying, “what really irritates me is …” at which point he has been known to chime in with, “Most things!”.

I think the reality is that even though we mellow in some respects as we get older, there is a tendency towards the ‘grumpy old men’ syndrome. I am being deliberately sexist here because I am less aware of this intolerance for things stupid amongst females.

I would endorse the toilet roll holder issue but I suspect that it has nothing to do with designers other than they probably didn’t specify where it was to go. I can imagine that the guy fitting it will place it wherever is easiest for him to fix it. Then he has done his job (in his eyes) and can move on to the next task. What has not been instilled in him is a sense that he should ‘own’ the responsibility for making sure that it is fitted somewhere sensible. But then again, I wonder if his company has made him feel like he is really a valued member of the business?

Can I add my pet hate? Am I the only one to think that whoever is responsible for the layout of white lines around traffic islands/roundabouts (take your pick depending on what part of the country you are from) - lane markings, hatchings etc, either doesn’t drive, hasn’t visited the site, is a half-wit, or a combination of all three?

Oh, and my daughter is from Barcelona – well, at least she lives there now. Fawlty Towers is shown in Spain but Manuel comes from Portugal!

Trevor Gay said...

Hi David - Phew – lots to respond to – thanks for your comments. Holiday was great – we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxation and your right - it does seem a while ago now. My MA Management was at Plymouth University and I enjoyed it – I hope your son enjoyed his time there. I wish it was just as I get older but I have always been intensely irritated by crap customer care regardless of my age but I do take your point. And yep I think females are generally far more tolerant than males. I guess by ‘designer’ I meant whoever planned the position of the toilet roll holder. It may not be the designer of the toilet roll holder but who in their right mind would authorise fitting the holder in inaccessible place apart from those with a sense of humour? I hadn’t noticed the white line school but since you’ve mentioned it I will now take a look!

Felix Gerena said...

Excellent example, Trevor. It is that courage what amazes me most from certain people.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Felix - George has plenty of stamina and plenty of courage - he is always prepared to challenge the status quo and make students ask questions. A better role model I could not possibly imagine

Anonymous said...

hi,
lovely article. i had the privelege of being taught by George in the "social work with older people" module. George is a great teacher, always inspiring and often brought a tear to my eye! he certainly instilled enthusiasm into all of us in the class. his formidable intelligence would have been intimidating, if he wasn't so thoughtful and kind at every moment. great to see others feel likewise :)
kind regards.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Anonymous - as far as I'm concerned George is a genius - long may he continue!

Thanks for your comment - I hope you will read Simplicity Blog in future too.

Best wishes

Trevor

Anonymous said...

I'm studying with George at the moment. From time to time you meet someone with that little extra sparkle, that little extra charisma, at little something that cannot quite be defined... wonderful, wonderful man. Long may he reign!!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Anonymous - I couldn't agree more - Good men are few - George is the best!

Good luck in your studies.

Best wishes.

Trevor

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Scott – great to have your perspective on this one given your considerable experience of being let down by managers.

In this case I can’t go into too much detail but, trust me my friend, some team members clearly took advantage of the trust placed in them by their manager. I, nevertheless still hold true to my principle of trusting people. You are right about the 80/20 rule and it is such a shame that the 20 make such a big impact.

This particular manager is learning all the time at a very rapid pace and is doing brilliantly. She will go far I have no doubt about that. This stuff early in her career as a manager will stand her in good stead in the years ahead.

I keep telling her this is what management is REALLY all about despite what text books and classrooms in business schools might try and teach us.

This is the real world and the best place to learn in my opinion.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mark – It’s always good to hear from you.

In this case it was a minority of team members who abused the trust placed in them and as Scott says it was probably the 80/20 rule.

The manager in question is a very effective communicator and she has very clearly laid down some ground rules (in my presence) about the issues in question – hence she feels badly ‘let down.’

I’ve told her this is what management is really about. She accepts that but feels personally let down and I quite understand how she feels.

I agree with you there are ‘levels’ of trust that might be placed in people and sadly some will abuse that trust placed in them.

I personally start from a general view of trusting people, otherwise it means I start from a point of distrusting people and that feels wrong to me.

Only time will prove who can genuinely be trusted and we all have our own ways of finding that out.

Daughter No 2 said...

Glad George (my Dad) is getting such lovely praise. I just wanted to add that he is not only amazing at work but also with his children & grandchildren. He is definitely one in a million and we all absolutely adore him. Thanks for loving him, it is great to know that he is being appreciated for the special, one in a million, person that he is.

Trevor Gay said...

Daughter No 2

George has helped me probably more than he knows.

I always think of him whenever I think about describing a perfect role model.

I am not at all surprised by your words of love and affection for George - I echo them all.

He is wonderful man who is simply an inspiration to me.

Long may he carry on inspiring so many people.

Thank you for visiting Simplicity Blog

Regards

Trevor

Paul B. Thornton said...

Trevor,
I'd like to use your comments about Prof. Giarchi's red L in a book I'm writing about the types of things leaders post on their office wall. Is that Ok by you?

I can e-mail what I'd like to use.

Also whay do you have posted on your office wall?
Thanks.
Paul B. Thornton

Trevor Gay said...

Absolute pleasure to be a part of the book Paul - feel free to use anything I write - would love to see your book - sounds a fascionating subject.

On my office wall I always have a quote that means something special to me. I change it now and again

The one I have in front of me right now is as follows:

“Cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.” Martin Luther King

I also have a picture of my wife Annie, a picture of my two Grandsons Sebastian and Reece and a very special signed photo sent to me by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Anonymous said...

Trevor,
Could you give me your e-mail address and I'll send you my mauscript so you get an idea of what I'm doing. Or sent a blank message to my e-mail PThornton@stcc.edu. and I'll then send you my manuscript.

Many thanks,
Paul B. Thornton

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Paul - I've sent an email - thanks :-)

Anonymous said...

Well it's January 2012 and we are writing an essay for George's module Ethics and Values for Social Work Practice. He put all the good back into being human and has been a true inspiration. I came across this site as I was trying to find his four way pull diagram

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Anonymous - I rest my case. George is one of the nicest people I've ever met. He is a legend in my life and thousands of students will say the same I've no doubt. God bless you George!

vermilion J said...

Erm...is this the Jesuit, and mate of Jimmy Savile?

Thomas James said...

He was my inspiration back in 1990 to 93 when he was one of my tutors. Although I have not kept in touch with him he has always been my yardstick for professional and private integrity. If only we had more of his kind.