You Caan do it if you put your mind to it!

Stephen Kay
Stephen Kay

STEPHEN Kay, 61, pictured, recently started a leadership and management training and coaching business from home in Markyate. Here he tells us what makes him tick.

Full name:

Stephen Alec Willis Kay

What are your business qualifications?

Middle/senior European manager for global organisations and leadership and management trainer.

Do you think business leadership can be taught or is it something that comes from a natural instinct?

Although some people have the leadership trait in them they do not always have the confidence to show it unless a situation occurs where they feel compelled to use it. The promotion to manager is not always an easy one as you suddenly have to motivate people to achieved personal and shared goals.

What is the name of your main business and what does it do?

The Proverbial Manager Ltd, provides leadership and management training and coaching.

What was the turnover of your main business in the last reporting period?

Only just started and so money not yet flowing in.

Where would you like the business to be in 10 years’ time?

A leading light in training using unique courses such as performance through proverbs, and a very successful relaunch of the book.

What positives can you extract from current economic conditions?

There are always pluses as well as minuses in any situation. Small companies like mine are more agile and flexible than the larger training organisations. Although prices may be squeezed value for money will always encourage repeat work

What motivates you to get up in the morning and go to work?

I want to make a difference in the training field where I can help people to meet their potential. I particularly like to help those at the beginning of their management career. I don’t seek money and the balance between work and family is very important to me. Success is not about how much you earn, but more about who you are and how you relate to those who care most about you.

What is the most important thing in life and why?

Love is the most important part of life. To love and be loved, and in that respect I have been very lucky

At what age do you aim to retire and what will you do after that point?

I am 61 now and expect to continue until 65 after which I intend to spend my time travelling with my future wife and enjoying our children and grandchildren.

If you have a partner, what do they do?

My partner Carol Norcott is not working but helps our families by giving them her love and supporting them when they need it.

What is the most important thing you learned at school?

How to get on with others and be involved in team sports.

What extra subject should be placed on the curriculum?

Preparation for work skills

Have you ever had to sack someone on the spot and why?


What percentage of your success is inspiration?

Inspiration is a small part (less than 10 per cent) but vital because it is the catalyst for what happens after.

What percentage of your success is perspiration?

More than 90 per cent is about going out there and doing it. We all have great ideas but it is the people who convert it into action that succeed (“fine words butter no parsnips”). You need perseverance and resilience to achieve objectives and sometimes this requires smarter thinking. Lots of people work hard but people who look at the same things but see something different often achieve more.

Who is your inspiration in business and why?

James Caan of Dragons Den fame is a modern-day inspiration as he made things happen in his career by, for example, something as smart as changing his name to that of a film star. He also has to believe in the person not only the product if he is going to invest in a business and I believe this is a fundamental principle.

What time do you get up on a working day?


How do you switch off and relax?

A lovely meal out, live entertainment, and horse racing.

How do you measure business success?

The impact it has on the area of business so that it changes the status quo. The fair treatment of the staff is also paramount in being what I call successful

What is your favourite piece of business jargon and why?

Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence people has a great saying that resonates with me and that is: “Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm”

What is the most pointless piece of red tape you’ve had to deal with?

I think when you are in a corporate organisation there is lots of red tape, which may be necessary but definitely slows down processes. In the training area there has been too much emphasis on ticking boxes to show “success” and less on quality of delivery and learner enjoyment

Where does your confidence come from?

I have always believed in myself and have a great positive attitude as well as great enthusiasm for what I do. As a child I was encouraged to do well but also to take responsibility for what I did. Some success in sport, at a young age, probably helped.

How do you ensure that people don’t go to sleep in meetings?

My meetings are always lively, interactive and usually full of humour