CX Top Tips

257: Colin D Ellis: You need great subcultures

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Colin D Ellis Show Notes Page

Colin D Ellis gambled everything to launch a new business. As he struggled with clients not signing up, he lost his confidence and started to lose belief in his vision. Deciding to never give up he found a way to motivate himself and now helps others to invigorate their teams and transform their organizations.

Colin was born and raised in Liverpool, UK. He’s the eldest of three boys. His Dad went out to work every day, while Mum managed the household.

Growing up, he wasn’t academically gifted but flourished in a team environment. So, having flunked his high school education, he got a job as soon as he could. He loved working. He loved interacting with people but lacked having the discipline to get things done and to gain a financial reward from that.

He started his working career working as a teller for a bank. He learned how to excel at customer service and to be a good teammate. He also learned how to balance a till, which wasn’t easy for an extrovert. From there, he moved into Liverpool city to sell advertising space for a newspaper. He did this for three years before being recognized as someone who could build teams to deliver projects to address the organization’s vulnerability for the Year 2000 computer bug.

This changed everything for Colin. He loved project management and loved to build teams that people wanted to be part of. In a little over five years, he climbed the ranks to set up the first project department for the newspaper. Shortly after, he left to head up a project department for a retail company who was transforming their culture.

His family then emigrated to New Zealand where he spent six years changing project delivery cultures in government departments before moving to Australia. In 2015, he decided to quit his job and self-published his first book and has written three more since. In his latest book, Culture Fix: How to Create A Great Place to Work, Colin unravels the complexity of undertaking organizational culture change.

The legacy he’s most proud to leave behind are two emotionally intelligent children who know how to treat people with kindness and possess commonsense approaches to doing things well. And to make people laugh.

Colin currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children although he spends most of his time in the air or hotels!

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @colindellis to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“Culture is the sum of everyone’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, traditions, and skills.” – Click to Tweet

“Cultures are made up of everybody.” – Click to Tweet

“Great workplace cultures are made up of our little vulnerabilities.” – Click to Tweet

“At the heart of every great culture is an aspirational statement of the future and a set of core values.” – Click to Tweet

“Core values provide the emotional compass for people.” – Click to Tweet

“We need to understand societal contexts before we start to create this thing called culture.” – Click to Tweet

“To get great organizational culture what you need is great subcultures.” – Click to Tweet

“Silos can be really good things provided everyone’s doing something in a similar way.” – Click to Tweet

“Spend time building relationships and getting to know people, that’s foundation number one.” – Click to Tweet

“Getting to know each other, having a core vision statement, and a set of core values provides the foundation for everything else.” – Click to Tweet

“What most organizations fear is the concept of taking people out.” – Click to Tweet

“Behavior is the one thing that holds cultures back.” – Click to Tweet

“You’re only as good as the behavior that you walk past.” – Click to Tweet

“If culture is truly the most important thing it requires that you start to performance manage individuals.” – Click to Tweet

“Leadership is really managers who make the choice to become a positive difference in people’s lives.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re not aware of your own strengths or opportunities for improvement, then you’re only going to achieve what you are half capable of.” – Click to Tweet

“Too many people are constrained by their own mindsets rather than grabbing this thing called ambition by the scruff of the neck.” – Click to Tweet

“Great cultures have two things, they have highly emotionally intelligent people who care about each other and what the organization is trying to achieve.” – Click to Tweet

“Once you’ve created a vibrant culture, staying there is the next biggest challenge.” – Click to Tweet

“What we need is good followership, so anybody can lead at any time.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Colin D Ellis gambled everything to launch a new business. As he struggled with clients not signing up, he lost his confidence and started to lose belief in his vision. Deciding to never give up he found a way to motivate himself and now helps others to invigorate their teams and transform their organizations.

Advice for others

Learn to communicate a message to different personalities.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Not admitting to myself that I need to shut up every now and then and listen more.

Best Leadership Advice

You’re not the smartest person in the room and you should take on other people’s ideas and learn from them.

Secret to Success

My never-ending energy.

Best tools in business or life

Self-awareness.

Recommended Reading

Culture Fix: How to Create a Great Place to Work

On the Road

Contacting Colin D Ellis

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/colindellis/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/colindellis

Websitehttps://www.colindellis.com/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript

Click to access edited transcript

257: Colin D Ellis

Jim Rembach: (00:00)

Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who was going to give us the opportunity to get a little bit greater clarity around what is

 

Jim Rembach: (00:10)

company culture and how it impacts both the internal human experience and the external human experience. Colin D Ellis was born and raised in Liverpool, UK. He’s the eldest of three boys. His dad went out to work every day while mom managed the household growing up. He wasn’t academically gifted but flourished in 18 environment, so having flunked his high school education, he got a job as soon as he could. He loved working. He loved interacting with people, but lacked having the discipline to get the things done and gain a financial reward. From that, he started his working career working as a teller for a bank and he learned how to Excel at customer service and to be a good teammate. He also learned how to balance a till, which wasn’t easy for an extrovert. From there, he moved into Liverpool city and to sell advertising space for a newspaper.

 

Jim Rembach: (01:04)

He did this for three years before being recognized as someone who could build teams to deliver projects to address the organization’s vulnerability ability for the year 2000 computer bug. This changed everything for column. He loved project management and love to build teams that people wanted to be part of. In a little over five years. He climbed the ranks to set up his first project department for the newspaper. Shortly after he left to head up a project department for a retail company who was transforming their culture. His family then emigrated to New Zealand where he spent six years changing project delivery cultures in government departments before moving to Australia. In 2015 he decided to quit his job and self published his first book and has written three more cents in his latest book culture fix. How to create a great place to work. Collin unravels the complexity of undertaking organizational culture change. The legacy he’s most proud to leave behind are two emotionally intelligent children who know how to treat people with kindness and possess common sense approaches to doing things well and to make people laugh. Collin currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife, Julia and two children, Ted and Tesla. Sicily, although he spends most of his time in the air or hotels. Colin Ellis, are you ready to help us get over them?

 

Colin D Ellis: (02:27)

I totally, I’m David. That was the world’s longest bio. Uh, so that was, it was up there. That’s all 30 minutes done. Right. I’ll tell you.

 

Jim Rembach: (02:37)

Well, but you know, here’s the thing Collin, uh, and we’ll talk about this in a moment, um, is I, I uniquely do a longer bio that’s little bit more personal so we can create the human connections that are so important because if people really don’t know where you’re coming from, it’s really hard in order for us to be able to, you know, really see things in our self that we need to change and adjust and, uh, really affects the whole culture. So, I mean, if we’re reserving and holding those things back, how, how can we really connect? And so when we start talking about culture fix, I think it’s most important for us to really to ask the question, how do you define culture?

 

Colin D Ellis: (03:12)

Yeah. For me, culture is the sum of everyone’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, traditions, and skills. Jim, you know, and I think we’ve, we forget that cultures are made up of everybody. And you know, one of the things that I loved about the bio is, is that it kind of taught to my, some of my vulnerabilities, you know, the fact that, yeah, I wasn’t very good at balancing the tail and the bank, but I love talking to people and, and I think often, you know, great workplace cultures are made up of those little vulnerabilities, those little doorways that we, that we give in to open ourselves up a little bit. Also great workplace cultures or when we’re able to acknowledge that we’re not the smartest person in the room. Um, but they really are the sum of every single person within a team, uh, and, and how they work together.

 

Jim Rembach: (03:58)

Most definitely. And, and for you, you put together a really nice framework and you talk about input models, uh, and you then you talk about the output models. Uh, and so that those input models are those important pillars, uh, on being able to create a court, you know, a culture that every single organization, um, you know, really has the opportunity to impact an effective, uh, and measure, um, but oftentimes fail to do so. So if you could walk through those, those input, um, models, that input model of those six pillars.

 

Colin D Ellis: (04:33)

Yeah, sure. And I think Jim, you know, organizations are good. They’re either talking about the inputs or the outputs. I’ll talk about the inputs shortly. The good at talking about one or the two. But they very rarely connect the two together and say, Oh, well if we do all of this stuff really well, then we get that. Usually say they say, we’ve got this or we need to do that. And so, you know, you know, for culture fits the book. And as you mentioned, I was a permanent employee of other people’s coaches for 30 years. So I’ve got a fair bit of skin in the game. Um, is, you know, the things that I saw and when I researched the kind of great cultures around the world is that they were fundamentally six pillars, uh, in terms of input into culture. And so the first pillar is the personality and communication of its people.

 

Colin D Ellis: (05:18)

Because um, you know, if you don’t take the time to get to know each other, then you know, you’re never going to be able to create anything worthwhile. Then at the heart of every great culture is a vision and aspirational statement of the future and a set of core values and these provide the emotional compass for people. And then there’s agreement on the final three of pillars are around behavior, how we’re going to behave as human beings towards each other, collaboration, how we’re going to work together to achieve whatever it is we’ve set out to, um, and innovation, how we’re going to make time for new thinking. And all of those inputs apply to any kind of team in any country. Wherever you are in the world, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the Cleveland Indians, it doesn’t matter whether you’re working in a hospital, it doesn’t matter whether you kind of in government and in UK, um, yeah they apply everywhere.

 

Jim Rembach: (06:09)

When you start talking about those six though, I started thinking there is some potential cultural variances. Um, so when you start even thinking about emotional intelligence, you know, my myself from searching certified by MHS and emotional intelligence and one of the things that they found in their analysis of emotional intelligence is that while across the globe, there are some similarities. There are a few slight cultural differences. You know, when we start talking about loyalties and hierarchies and things like that, it can affect some of this. So when you start looking at these six inputs, what do you see does get potentially affected? You know, when you start looking culturally.

 

Colin D Ellis: (06:49)

Yeah. And, and, and that’s true of course is that, you know, um, Aaron May have found in a book the culture map, you kind of got an egalitarian approach and a hierarchal approach to coat check. And really that’s part of that personality and communication is really fundamentally understanding where everybody’s from, what kind of personality they have, but also the societal, you know, co cultural context as well. You know, being, you know, I’m originally from, from the UK, we’re very detailed in our thinking. You know, we don’t really talk about emotion much. If we want to talk about emotion, we generally talk about the weather, you know, Oh, it’s a nice day outside that Colin’s in a good mood. Um, whereas here in Australia it’s much more social, you know, kind of everything’s done over a barbecue. So it, you know, those are those societal context that we need to make sure that we fundamentally understand before we start to create this thing called culture. Because what you want to do is to create something that’s inclusive of everybody and it doesn’t hold certain cultures, um, on the exterior.

 

Jim Rembach: (07:48)

Okay. And as you’re saying that, I start thinking about, and because this is one of the things that has come, you know, quite open, uh, and I and a lot of different contexts, is that if we’re talking about a multinational organization, while they could, they could essentially set a particular tone, you know, and have a mission and vision. Ultimately culture is local and it has to be continually nurtured and focused in on locally for it to impact the global organization. Is that correct?

 

Colin D Ellis: (08:15)

Absolutely. Right. And we forget this Jim, you know, and, and I saw this at some of the organizations that I used to work at. The senior management team would go on an offsite somewhere. Really the swanky, they decide what the culture was. They would come back and they would tell you top down, this is what the culture is. And actually for me and my team, we were sat there going, yeah, nah, that’s not really our culture at all. We would do that hi EEQ thing. You’ve taken what they come back with and say, okay, how do we apply that? But to get great organizational culture, what you need is great subcultures. You know, so one of the case studies I used in the book, you know, I looked at an NFL team and if you’ve got a, you know, great attacking unit, you’ve got a great defensive unit, you’ve got a great kick in unit, quarterbacks are doing their things, all of those need to be really effective and efficient subcultures within your team.

 

Colin D Ellis: (09:01)

They all need to know their job, but they all need to create great culture themselves so that you get this overall great team culture that just knows how to work too often. What I used to see, Jim, you know, particularly in government is one area would be one thing. Another area would do another thing and another area do something different. So you get these communication mishaps, um, and, and you know, we call these silos and silos can be really good things provide and everyone’s doing something in a similar way where you’re absolutely right to say that, you know, you can’t upgrade organization culture without oven breaks of coaches.

 

Jim Rembach: (09:34)

Well, even when you’re starting to talk about that, and I draw myself back into the input models, right? And I started looking at personality and communication, vision, values, behavior, you know, collaboration and innovation. Uh, and, and if I start thinking about the transformation process, there are certain things that we can actually, um, use as ways to help carry us forward. So in other words, if I have this one, you know, and I’m doing pretty well at it and I strengthened that one, it’s easier for some of these other pillars to fall in place. Um, can, is there a reserve, you know, one of these or two of these that kind of stand out to say, Hey, okay, you know, this is, this is your core foundation, hip these and then work on the others.

 

Colin D Ellis: (10:17)

Yeah, it completely Jim. And, and again, a lot of this was based on my own experience. You know, I found the F on the first week of my new job. I spent time building relationships and getting to know people. That was foundation number one. Then as a team, we needed an aspirational vision statement. You know, something that would really excite us. Not some long winded statement that really meant nothing. And then I’ve been a set of core values, things that we all held to be true. When you’ve got those three things, what you’ve created is a solid foundation to agree how your behave, work to gather and introduce new ideas or innovate without those three. What you end up doing is being kind of listless as a culture. You can alert from one state to another and this is where from an output perspective you’d go through kind of all of the quadrants, which we’ll talk about in a second very, very quickly because you just don’t have a stable base to work from. Um, so I think, you know, getting to know each other, having a strong vision statement and a set of core values really provides the foundation for everything else really.

 

Jim Rembach: (11:23)

Okay. All right. So that’s very helpful. And then also when I look at the model and you start talking about those first three, which is what you were talking about, being some of the, those, those core foundational pillars and then transitioning into the behavior collaboration and innovation is that this is one of the areas that is of most, um, constraint for organizations is that they may be able to do a lot of this, you know, high level thinking stuff and put together, you know, a nice mission statement and all that stuff. But when you flip into execution and start hitting the whole behavior component, that’s where they oftentimes fall flat on our face. So how can they, how can they create, uh, a much better bridge to transition?

 

Jim Rembach: (12:03)

Yeah, it’s a advice I was given to an organization in the UK recently who said that they’d got a lot of the stuff I want. I’d read the book, they’ve got a lot of this stuff in place, you know, how do we start holding people to account, you know, and I said, you literally have to do a reset. I think most what most organizations fear is this concept of taking people out. They talk about cultivating the most important thing, but what they don’t want to do is take people out of work and prove that it’s the most important thing. I think once you agree, a set of core behaviors, what you’ve got is something to hold people to. If you don’t have that, then what people do is end up making excuses for behavior. And we’ve seen it for decades now. A gym, you know, particularly with behavior.

 

Jim Rembach: (12:43)

It’s the one thing that holds cultures back is, is either we don’t challenge poor behavior. We, we excuse it. You know, and I often say that you’re only as good as the behavior that you’ve walked past. Um, but you know, it really demands if, if culture truly is the most important thing, it really demands that you stopped performance manage individuals, which will mean doing the thing that we often fear most, which is going through a process of kind of performance management would hate John. Often they don’t want to go through either because that then sends the message that actually we’re deadly serious about this coat’s thing and we’re not going to allow anybody to behave in a way that gets in the way of what we’re trying to achieve.

 

Jim Rembach: (13:23)

Well, and you mentioned that in a book and you mentioned a couple things that are really key points in that, and that was one of them is that managers, you know, do not, you know, eh, actually set the expectation for one, um, and then therefore measure to that expectation, which could potentially include coaching up or coaching out. Right?

 

Jim Rembach: (13:43)

Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. And, and you know, I, I talked about this in the book and you know, I talk about it a lot as often I feel for managers because, you know, for the last kind of, I don’t know, millennia, I suppose we’ve been pro promoting people based on length of tenure. Um, rather than that, our ability to really inspire and motivate people, which is what management and leadership is all about. Leadership really is it managers who make the choice to become a positive difference in people’s lives. You know, they choose to put themselves in service of others. Um, but a big part of that is learning how to set expectation and then how to hold people to that. And often we don’t, we don’t teach people how to do that. You know, we, we kind of learn from the people around us.

 

Jim Rembach: (14:25)

And certainly I learned from the people around us. I was very fortunate, um, probably in my 30 years of career to have maybe six people. And you know, you might think, Oh, that’s not very many one every five years. But those six people had such an impact in my life, you know, but they taught me kind of from a distance and coached me how to, how, how to set expectation, but also then how to have those courageous conversations that I didn’t necessarily want to have in a highly emotionally intelligent way. So without emotion and you know, keeping people honest to, to the promises that they’ve made and to make sure that they contributed to the organization’s success.

 

Jim Rembach: (15:01)

So when you start looking at, you know, these six, um, you know, the pillars in the an input model, um, obviously there’s some things that are outside of that, like this leadership strength component and element, uh, that are required in order for us to make impact in these particular areas. So that’s a key one. What are one of the other keys, uh, that thing that we need to pay attention to?

 

Jim Rembach: (15:26)

Well, I think self-awareness is, is, is critically important, Jim, you, you have to fundamentally understand yourself. What’s your own motivation? What are you trying to achieve? I think often people, when they do this kind of exercise, they focus on me and mine. What do I want to achieve for me without considering all of the people around them? And essentially if you, you know, kind of put the emphasis on helping olders and elevating others. So really developing those parts of yourself, then, you know, as a manager you get the payback from that because as a team you evolve and grow. But if you’re not aware of your own strengths, you’re not aware of your own opportunities for improvement, then really you’re always, that you’re only ever going to achieve half of what you’re capable of because you’re not really pushing yourself to that next level. Um, you know, and, and looking at the things that you, you know, and, and often, and you know, before we came on, we were having a quick chat. It’s one of those sacrifices that you’re going to make in order to, you know, become the person that you want to be. I think too many people are constrained by their own mindsets. Uh, rather than grabbing this thing called ambition by the Scruff of the neck, uh, developing their own purpose and, and throwing everything behind it.

 

Jim Rembach: (16:36)

Most definitely. I mean, I think to me that’s been a constant struggle all my life. And I don’t know if it’s ever going to change because I was even having this discussion earlier, I said, you know, I would rather take one step forward and two steps back cause at least I’m moving, you know, it’s, when I’m standing still, that’s a problem. Uh, and even when I started looking at people that I like to collaborate with, I don’t like people who just stand, I mean it’s like, Hey, let’s, if we, if we fail, we fail. I mean, at least that’s a, that’s a learning opportunity. But when I started looking at these input models and talking about these factors in these key points, ultimately we have to get to those output models. And I think I’m, this is probably a good time for us to talk about those.

 

Jim Rembach: (17:16)

Yeah. The output models, you know, they’re the really two thing. When you look at great organization of cultures, they have two things. They are highly emotionally intelligent people. Um, and who care, who care about each other, who cared about the team that they work at and who care about what the organization is trying to achieve. We call that engagement these days so that the high end emotional intelligence, they have high engagement. Um, when, when you have low engagement and low emotionally intelligent staff, you have a stagnant culture. You know, and in these cultures it’s quiet. There’s no consequence. No one’s holding you to anything. No ones that sat in any expectation, nobody really cares. People do nine to five. There’s lots of change aversion. You know, people actively avoid things that make them feel uncomfortable. And so nothing really happens in those kinds of stagnant cultures and just as Bateau Jim are pleasant cultures where even though we’re highly emotionally intelligent, engagement is still no so, so there’s a human factor to that.

 

Jim Rembach: (18:10)

So that’s a good thing. But there’s just no challenge. You know, we, we routinely missed deadlines. Everything is overly consultative. Um, everybody goes to every meeting. There’s document after document and process after process to try and make things happen. But really people don’t have the discipline. Then when you get to that high engagement, but low emotional intelligence, you get what we call combat and cultures. Everything here is a fight. Everything here is a battle. Lots of anxiety, lots of stress, lots and lots of poor behavior. So we generally call these coaches toxic. And so, you know, I talked about at the start, you know, we’ll, we’ll talk about the output models. So you’ll see this in the news all the time when things are broken. And there’s a pull in behavior in the workplace. But where you obviously want to be as a culture is we’re highly engaged employees who are high in emotional intelligence. These coaches have fiber. You know, you have an agreed vision, agreed behaviors, everybody’s pushed, everyone’s trying to be 5% better. Um, you know, there’s, there’s celebration, there’s laughter, you know, there’s a real desire to do things and succeed, but in the right way you carry no passengers. And, and this is where you get the results in these vibrant cultures.

 

Speaker 4: (19:23)

Okay.

 

Jim Rembach: (19:24)

And so, but when I look at this, talking about these input models and to get to the output models, uh, I often, you and I even talked, we were talking about this, talking about that off mic discussion. We started talking about timelines. This stuff does not happen quickly. I mean, what, you know, when we start talking about transformation timelines, what often do often do you see?

 

Jim Rembach: (19:48)

Yeah, it doesn’t happen quickly. That’s why most organizations don’t have the stomach for a gym. They want, what they want to do is quick fix approaches. You know, they want to go open plan. I mentioned they want to go on a field trip and copy what everybody else does. They want to bring in consultants to tell them what they already know. They want to do a rebrand exercise, they want to implement the latest system. Agile is the latest silver bullet that we’re implemented. Really, you know, only with deliberate effort can you ever change the culture and it takes between nine to 18 months and in that time what you’ve got to do is stay true to what you’ve all agreed. So I, you know, I talk about the fact that senior managers have to role model what they’re looking for and everybody else has to take responsibility for it.

 

Jim Rembach: (20:29)

And you get this meeting in the middle of like, you know, kind of likeminded souls who want to see the organization achieve. You also have to challenge those people who don’t want to be a part of it. And some of them don’t want to be a part of it cause it’s not what they want to do. That’s cool. You can go and get all the jobs or the people have to be performance managed out the business. And again, not sends the message sets the tone and you have to do something different every month, every month. So you know, for some organizations I do year long programs that I help them with. So it’s me coming back every month. For other organizations, I’ll just do a quick two day definition, but then help them map out what that might look like so that you’re getting new thinking new ideas every single month and you’re holding each other accountable.

 

Jim Rembach: (21:11)

Because once you’ve created this thing called the vibe and culture. So once you get all those inputs right and the output is a vibrant culture, stay in there is the biggest challenge, which is why you don’t get any sports teams that dominate for 15 2025 years. And in the UK and soccer there, they had Manchester United who really dominated for 20 years because culturally they got it absolutely right. You know, and they, they managed out certain players who were past their prime and they brought some new ones in and they brought younger players in. You know, there’s lots of sports metaphors, outlet book. You look at the big organizations that achieve year after year after year, it’s because they protect pay particular attention to their culture and they never stop growing and learning.

 

Jim Rembach: (21:55)

Well, I think that’s it. I mean it’s, it’s the, uh, you know, maintenance mode, that’s the continuous mode, right? Uh, okay. So we knew, and I had talked about this and you even mentioned it a moment ago, but all of this requires us to, you know, definitely, you know, have the energy and the inspiration and the sticktuitiveness and all that. And one of the things that we look at on the show or quotes to kind of help us do that. Is there a quote or two that you liked that you can share?

 

Colin D Ellis: (22:20)

Uh, it’s, it’s funny to have, you know, we were talking before, like the kind of world of inspirational quotes has really taken off. You know, and often I’m inspired by real life auctioneer. There’s a Winston Churchill quote that, that I love, which is never a, which I do love that one. That provides me with a little bit of daily motivation. Uh, you know, when I come across those little things that we all get stuck on. So I love that concept of never given up. Yeah.

 

Jim Rembach: (22:46)

No, matter of fact, I actually just quoted that one to my father earlier today who’s dealing with something that he has to change because of, uh, you know, uh, changes in his eyesight. I said, never give up that he goes, I said, I said, be a role model for your grandkids. He goes, Oh, okay, okay. So, but you know, Hey, there are times when we fall, you know, you had that transition. You talk about flunking out in your high school education. All those things are learning opportunities and we talk about getting over the hump on the show. Um, and I know that you have some good insights that you can actually share for us by sharing your story. Can you tell us about a time when you got over the hump?

 

Colin D Ellis: (23:25)

Yeah. Not too long ago, actually, Jim, you know, I quit my job in, in 2014 I was determined. I never wanted to work for myself. I thought I kinda, you know, had something that people would want to buy. I didn’t really know. I didn’t really know anything about starting a business. Um, and I, you know, saved up money for us to kind of live comfortably in a house for three months and I ain’t got nothing. I got nothing. Um, and so we, we came very close. You know, I was 40, uh, so 2015, early 2015, I was 45. We had two young kids. We came very close to it and to move back to the UK to live with offer and uh, you know, we really gambled everything. Uh, my mom had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor as well. Uh, Jim. So we had all of the stress, I lost confidence in myself.

 

Colin D Ellis: (24:16)

I didn’t really have much belief in what I was trying to do, but you know, never ever get booked by, you know, I found a way to really kind of motivate myself. You know, I, I thought that I had a good idea, you know, and I’m not the finished article. I’m only really kind of three, four years into what I’m trying to achieve here. And it’s been, it’s been pretty successful so far. Um, but that was really tough. Um, and because I had a, you know, the emotion to deal with and the kind of fact that we just asked no money. Uh, but we go through it.

 

Jim Rembach: (24:46)

Well, I mean, I would dare to say, um, and that listening to you talk about that, um, you know, there was some collaborative aspects and, and, and, uh, all of that, you know, between you and your wife. So when you start, you know, looking at an organization and when you started looking at that example and that situation, how important is team member support in your success?

 

Colin D Ellis: (25:12)

Oh, it’s, it’s crucial. And what you need, you know, we talk about leadership a lot, a Jim, we don’t really talk about followership. Um, and I think what we, what we need is good followership. And that means that anyone can lead at any time. And that we as a team all agree that whatever the leader thinks is the right thing to do, then we’ll follow and we’ll support. It’s something that I used to instill in, in, in my teams. And we didn’t used to call it followership. We used to call it being a good teammates. You know, we had this concept of being a good teammate. So every, you know, kind of big department. I lead, you know, we, we talked about what it meant to be a good teammate. You know, I often say with the work that I do and I do fly around the world, the law, which is just great and I love traveling to different parts of the world, but I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have the support back home to be able to do that.

 

Colin D Ellis: (25:59)

James. So, you know, we, we, we talk a lot. Uh, we make sure that we’re well-planned. You know, much like any great culture. There’s a lot of good planning goes into that. Uh, we make sure the different members of the team understand what’s happening and when we set expectation really when, you know, we, we kind of make sure that our behaviors are in check. So kind of a lot of the family stuff that we do here is, is learned from some of the great teams that I’ve been part of. And me and my wife, you know, strive to create the kind of environment where everyone can succeed regardless of what we’re doing.

 

Jim Rembach: (26:29)

Well, and I, and I appreciate you sharing that because for me, I was even having this discussion with somebody earlier today, you know, we oftentimes don’t have that conversation. You, we hit, we hit this a moment ago, don’t have that conversation with those people who are trying to drag else down and say, Hey, you know, that’s not okay. Um, oftentimes we concede, you know, to those people, you know, and then we bring those that have the joy, you know, and we pull it out of him in order to make this big middle. Um, and that’s not, you know, an inclusion thing that unfortunately is going to have some longterm success with it. So when I started looking at all that you’ve done made the transition, you know, writing the books, doing the speaking, doing the, the, the culture change work and all of that. When I start, you know, thinking about goals, can you share one of your goals with me?

 

Colin D Ellis: (27:20)

Uh, yeah. One of my goals is, is to be seen as someone who brought, provided a positive contribution to the world, Jim. That’s, uh, and it feels so glib say in that, cause I never thought I’d be that guy. But you know, when I decided to start my business and it was off the back of, you know, I went to a conference that I’d paid for, as, you know, as a permanent employee that really didn’t give me anything. And I felt like it was just a bunch of people trying to sell me something. And I, you know, what I wanted to do was almost to be the antithesis of that. You know, I remember speaking to one early in my career and they were like, Oh, if you’re going to write a book, don’t write how to do anything in there. You know, that’s what you want people to buy.

 

Colin D Ellis: (27:56)

I’m like, no, I’m not going to do that. I want to, you know, I want to create something. I want to be the kind of individual that, sure I’ve got a business to grow and water, but I want to be kind. I want to be empathetic. I want to give away knowledge. I want to give things back to a community that I would have been gladly part of. So, you know, one of my goals, you know, I, I ask myself every time we post something on LinkedIn, every time we do something like this, record videos, um, you know, I’m conscious of kind of the old man and you know, with the old me say, is this, provide an a positive contribution to the world? Uh, because yeah, that’s what I want to be known as

 

Jim Rembach: (28:32)

on the fast leader. Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

 

Jim Rembach: (28:38)

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Jim Rembach: (28:57)

four slash better. All right, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time for the, Oh, okay. Call him the hump day. Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses. They’re going to help us move onward and upward faster. Colin Ellis, Allen D Ellis, are you ready to down? I’m ready now. All right, so what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? What’s holding me back is not admitting to myself that I need to shut up every now and again. In the listener, what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

 

Colin D Ellis: (29:39)

Uh, that you’re not the smartest person in the, and you should take on board other people’s ideas and learn from them.

 

Jim Rembach: (29:46)

What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Colin D Ellis: (29:50)

Uh, my never-ending energy. I look after my mind. I look after my body. I get to bed early so that I can do the best that I can throughout the day.

 

Jim Rembach: (29:59)

And what is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or lie?

 

Colin D Ellis: (30:04)

Uh, self-awareness. Uh, so that ability to be able to look at myself and say, here’s something that I’m good at. I should coach people. Here’s one thing that I need to learn.

 

Jim Rembach: (30:14)

And what would be one book that you’d rent to recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre. Of course, we’re going to put a link to culture fix on your show notes page as well,

 

Colin D Ellis: (30:23)

uh, on the road by Jack Kerouac. Cause it really opens up your mind to what’s possible in your life.

 

Jim Rembach: (30:29)

Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to a fast leader.net/colin D Ellis. Okay, Colin, this is my last Humpday hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity, go back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Colin D Ellis: (30:54)

A piece of knowledge that I would take back is how to communicate a message to different personalities. J I’m not something that I was at taught, but something that I learned how to do, which has held me in great stead for the last 20 years.

 

Jim Rembach: (31:10)

Collin, I had fun with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion how they can connect with you?

 

Colin D Ellis: (31:14)

LinkedIn is the best place you can search for me. Colin D Ellis on LinkedIn. You can find out more about the work that I do at www dot culture fix X, Y, Z. And you can also find me on Facebook. Colin DLS, Instagram, Colin D Ellis as well.

 

Jim Rembach: (31:29)

Colin D Ellis. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

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