Caroline Cole: Colander

I have known Tom Taylor in many guises over the past 30 years. Firstly as a colleague in the multidisciplinary firm of Arup Associates, where he managed a group of disparate and often maverick individuals towards a common aim; then as a bright entrepreneur setting up his own Project Management firm, Buro Four, at a time when project management was an altogether new idea in the design industry and, more recently, as an inspirational speaker and teacher, running a series of exceptionally well received training modules for my organisation, Colander.

Tom has always stood out from the crowd. He has a quirky line in wit and repartee that he uses with devastating effect to disarm and enthuse people – whatever their background or preconceptions – while ensuring that they really do understand what needs to be done. Combine this with the wisdom that he has accumulated over the years and he has an unerring ability to go straight to the nub of each challenge – without flannelling. He uses humour to bring people with him, without devaluing the subject in hand.

He is great at finding a common language with his audience and has a knack of defusing potential conflict that makes him a great mediator and an effective facilitator. He is reliable, conscientious and, most importantly, creative in the way that he tackles individual challenges.

These skills are special, and I suspect that they are easily transferable out of the construction industry, as he combines an extraordinary ability to make people laugh, while driving home a serious point, and so galvanise people into effective action. He is also a compelling speaker.

Caroline Cole
Hill House
Fox Hill
SE19 2XA