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Colin Ellis

Culture Change and Project Delivery Specialist

At a glance

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Colin D Ellis is an award-winning international speaker, best-selling author and renowned workplace culture and project management expert who delivers speeches around the world that inspire, motivate and entertain!

Able to draw on more than 30 years of public and private sector leadership experience in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, Colin peppers his presentations with anecdotes, statistics, practical insights and plenty of English humour to ensure that audiences are engaged and laughing during and after the event! 

He gets people talking through his emphasis on people being the best version of themselves and creating teams and communities they can be proud of. There’s often an assumption that everybody knows how to do this and that it’s easy to do.  This is not the case and all too often the behaviours don’t match the positions that people hold.

Colin is originally from Liverpool in the UK and now lives in Melbourne, Australia following six years in New Zealand. He is known for his snappy dressing, sense of humour and love of karaoke.


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Colin D. Ellis helps organisations and individuals change the way they get things done. By demonstrating the why and how of emotionally intelligent leadership he is a catalyst for creating cultures where great work thrives.

What you will learn

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Telling stories and making people smile is something I’ve always loved doing and now I'm fortunate enough to do just that professionally at conferences and corporate events around the world. I deliver keynote speeches that make audiences sit up and think. I use humour, statistics and real life experiences to champion what great looks like, while bringing to light the details of why and how the way we do things needs to change.


  • I deliver a very visual presentation and use pop culture references to land my points (but I don’t use PowerPoint).

  • I incorporate music – it lifts the room, changes the mood and just sounds good!

  • I get the audience involved – whether it’s talking to the person next to them or voting in an online poll, let’s make this interactive.

  • As the keynote speaker, I set the perfect tone for your event.

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Current presentations

How to Build an Agile-Ready Workforce

This keynote provides senior executives and managers with the information they need to build an agile workforce that’s fit for the future of work.The ability to deliver products and services in a more flexible manner provides organisations with the opportunity to recoup value more quickly and respond faster to market or competitor changes. However, simply saying ‘we’re going agile’ or making superficial changes to structures or offices won’t achieve this. In this inspirational and energetic speech, attendees will gain hands-on knowledge of the skills required to build a culture that will evolve in line with an organisation's needs. Drawing on Colin's experience of culture change and agile implementation, the message is delivered through a combination of personal stories, anecdotal evidence, case studies of agile organisations that will provide attendees with the insights they need to transform the way they work.

  • What organisational agility means
  • How to spot whether your organisation is agile or not
  • How successful agile organisations have prepared their people in advance
  • The behaviours required to support an agile implementation
  • Why a ‘social contract’ is important for consistency
  • What a successful agile culture looks like
  • Five steps you can take to achieve organisational agility.

Go Team! How To Create A Culture Of Success Where Great Work Thrives

This keynote provides leaders and managers with a checklist of how to create vibrant project, department or organisational cultures.Culture is still the number one contributing factor to organisational success and as Peter Drucker said, 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast.' Despite this, organisations don't commit time or money to develop a vibrant culture, choosing instead to restructure or change the office layout in the hope of a quick fix.Drawing on his experience of helping organisations around the world to build vibrant cultures, Colin provides leaders and managers with the information and actions they need to start creating the right culture, right now.

  • The four cultures and how to spot where you are
  • Why a vision is critical for team engagement
  • The three pillars of great teams: behaviours and why they’re important
  • The three pillars of great teams: collaboration and how to do it well
  • The three pillars of great teams: innovation and how to make time for it
  • How to build and continually evolve a vibrant culture
  • How to spot when the team is dysfunctional
  • Why being the best version of yourself is central to great teamwork

Nailing Project Leadership: How To Exceed Expectations Every Time

This keynote introduces the audience to a project management approach that works – one that puts the emphasis on leadership and culture rather than blindly following a prescribed process.For the last 15 years, project management has focussed its efforts on the implementation of methods despite the fact that less than 30% of projects are considered successful. While methods are important tools for delivery, it’s leadership and the cultures they create that make projects memorable. This inspirational speech incorporates the practical elements of leadership, culture creation and methods that anyone in the audience can immediately apply to their work, whatever their role, level of experience or sector.

  • A full understanding of what makes projects successful
  • Why leadership is a choice not a program
  • How to be self-aware and emotionally intelligent and why it’s important
  • Why behaviours matter
  • The definition of culture and how to build a team that everyone wants to join
  • Understanding the kind of team that you’ve built
  • Why the plan is all important
  • Why not following the process is a performance management issue.

Say What? How To Deliver A Message So ThatEveryone Gets It

This keynote provides everyone with simple strategies on how to communicate effectively to any audience.We have more communication tools at our disposal than ever before. We communicate more than we have ever done. Yet the quality of these communications – the impact they deliver – has diminished. Great leaders understand that effective communication is not one approach for all. It is nuanced and tailored to the needs of the individual. This highly informative, engaging and entertaining keynote introduces the principles and practicalities of variable communication and how to do it well.

  • Understanding how communication underpins everything we do
  • Why great communication starts with self-awareness
  • Artificial intelligence and its impact on communication
  • What great communicators do
  • The role of empathy in communication
  • Why the ‘one communication’ approach doesn’t work
  • Understanding the four types of communication and how to do them well
  • Why asking for feedback is key to improving communication

Digital Transformation Starts With You

This keynote takes a deep dive into the human side of digital transformation and the behaviours needed to do it successfully. A recent Deloitte report found that 65% of companies surveyed had no significant programs to provide their people with the skills required to lead digital transformation projects, despite them being critical to the future of their organisations. As a leader and manager, digital transformation starts with you and your behaviours. In this practical, energetic and inspirational speech, Colin will provide a blueprint of the skills you need to lead digital transformation projects to success. These skills are applicable and immediately actionable regardless of role, sector and location.

  • Why most transformation programs fail
  • Understanding the Transformation Triangle and why it’s the key to success
  • The difference between emotional capital and emotional baggage
  • How to be a role model for others
  • How to use a large program to change the organisation’s culture
  • Why simply saying ‘we’re going agile’ won’t work
  • Keeping the problem in mind is more important than the solution
  • Understanding the steps needed to get the value from your investment.
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Wow, Wow and Wow! Colin delivered a truly motivating, real and thought-provoking talk. I don't believe we have ever had a speaker who has had such a profound effect on colleagues, the energy he ignited on the day continues more than a week later.

In a different league! Outstanding presentations – highly visual, engaging and inspiring.

Red Bull
Colin has an outstanding way of delivering a powerful and engaging message through strong research, thought-provoking delivery and good old English humour!

Finite Recruitment
Colin the opening keynote speaker at our sixth annual Digital PMSummit in Memphis, TN and he was excellent. His energy was perfect for an opening spot, as he set the tone for a couple of fun and insightful days.

Digital Project Management Summit USA
Colin's session was inspirational, incredibly impactful, and so much fun! His passion was contagious and had the 600 members of the audience on the edge of their seats for the entire 45-minute session!

CiscoLive Barcelona

Connect with Colin

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