The Sunday Lunch PM meets Colin D Ellis, The Getting Sh*t Done Guy

In this episode, I have a chat with Colin D Ellis, The Getting Sh*t Done Guy.

Colin is a 20-year project management and sponsorship veteran, an award-winning international speaker, trainer and author who helps organisations and individuals around the world change the way they get things done and create cultures where great work thrives

To listen to the podcast click below

For more information about Colin take a look at the following links:


Thanks to Colin for a fantastic interview, until next time remember project management is funny. 




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[0:00:00] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): right. So today, I'd like to welcome to the Sunday lunch project. Podcast Colin D Ellis. Uh, Colin is a author, a public speaker, uh, a project manager, Uh, a man with many irons in many fires, um, experience working in in places such as the, uh, shop Direct Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice in New Zealand. Um, and Trinity Group, uh, founder of a number of, uh, organisations, including the getting shit done club. Hopefully, that doesn't get me an explicit tag, uh, for the podcast, the whiskey trip. And, um is an award winning speaker and culture change specialist, uh, at the moment. So, uh, welcome to the podcast, Colin.

[0:00:57] Colin: Cheers, Nigel. Thank you.

[0:00:59] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Uh, it's great to have you on. Um, as I start with all of my, um, interviews, And I think, um, some people will will pick up the answer to this before I've even asked the question. But where were you born and where Where where did you hail from?

[0:01:15] Colin: So I was born, uh, in a place called Winston, which is about eight miles east of Liverpool. Um, so every time I'm on stage, I'm always I always tell people, you know particularly when I'm not in England, which isn't very often these days. I say I'm from Liverpool and then every now and again you'll get a scout in the audience going. You're not from Liverpool, mate. You don't talk like that. Um, but West West was where I was born. I lived pretty much all of my life in a little village called Rain Hill, which is famous for trains, Which you'll probably know, uh, which one person knew once I said that on stage, like it's famous for trains. It's the birthplace of passenger railways. And this guy came up to me at the end and, like, I think this was in Australia or maybe even New Zealand. He was like, Oh, yeah, so I know all about passenger rail. I was like, Oh my God, what have I got myself into here?

[0:02:02] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): I just knew the history. It's funny. The big world is a very small world, isn't it?

[0:02:09] Colin: It is the first, the first when I emigrate to when I emigrated to Australia. I, uh I didn't know anybody in a single person here, and so I went to a networking event and I was sat next to a guy and I got talking to him, and he was a Scouser. And I said, Mate, I was like, Where? Where are you from? He was like I was born in West. I was like, Are you kidding me? I've come all the way to Australia. I was next to someone from the same hospital as me. And we worked out that we were born three weeks apart as well.

[0:02:37] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Probably so school and stuff as well. Yeah. Yeah. So you say you emigrate. Where? Where are you now, then? Where you live?

[0:02:45] Colin: I'm in Melbourne, Australia. I emigrated to, uh we emigrated to New Zealand in 2007. Uh, I was working for little shop Direct group. I had a job that I loved. I loved it, but we just had a little boy and didn't necessarily want to bring him up in in England. If the truth be told, um and I, I randomly flew to New Zealand to see if I could get a job and got offered three jobs, all all heads of project departments in in New Zealand. So I figured that would be the time to go. Uh, given that we are. And, you know, that was just before the global financial crisis and the door shut once and for all on, um, kind of immigration in the way that it worked back then. Yeah.

[0:03:26] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): So what made you choose New Zealand, or was it just a throw a dart at the board?

[0:03:32] Colin: Uh, it was was the easiest place to get a visa for. Um, that's the honest answer. We looked at Canada. That seemed to be a lengthy process. We didn't want to move to Australia because, you know, as you're told in school in England, it's the capital of poisonous spy things where everything just wants to kill you. You know, there's a cat looking at me weird through the window now, um, and and so New Zealand seemed to be an easier route, and but But we I've got a cousin who lives there, and we've met her awake, uh, back in back in Liverpool. And she was talking about how great New Zealand was and how we should come and live in New Zealand. So we looked into it, and it seemed to be, you know, I, uh, the job that I was doing at the time was on the skill shortages list. So IT project management was on the skills short, which seems incredible. Now, um and so I think,

[0:04:24] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): yeah, yeah, I have a colleague who's just gone across, Um uh, literally in the last few weeks. And I think, uh, she was saying that that there's still a skill shortage in that in New Zealand now.

[0:04:36] Colin: Well, it's It's an obvious thing to say, Nigel, but it's only you only feel it when you get there like it's so far away Like it. You know, I just I just came back to from the US, and it took me 23 hours and 50 minutes journey time to get home from the mid year, not even the Centre of America, but like the mid North, so kind of inland northwest. And you realise just how far away it is. I mean, it's beautiful, it's safe, it's clean. It's, you know, there was a joke and said, Welcome to New Zealand. Please send your clocks back 20 years. Uh, and it is. It's a It's a lovely, lovely part of the world, but it is a long way away.

[0:05:13] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, it's about as far as I can get from here, isn't it? Yeah. So you you you mentioned you had a little and family. So tell me about your family.

[0:05:25] Colin: Yes. It's two kids, my wife and two kids. Um, so I met my wife when I was working for the mirror group. Uh, got old Trinity mirror. I think they changed their name these days. Now there's something a bit more drowsy, A bit more consultancy name now, Uh, she was there. She was working on the corporate newspaper, and I was head of projects for the mirror group. Uh, so we're both based in Canary W for for a while. So that's where we met. And, uh, yeah, I got two kids. Um, and they you know, my son was born in England, so he was one when we left. My daughter was born, uh, five months after we arrived in New Zealand, so that was a culture shock. All right, so, yeah, they've moved about a bit as well, so we're ready for a bit of stability. So Melbourne's home for the foreseeable future, Plus the fact you had a five month summer. So why would I leave it?

[0:06:08] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, Yeah, that's a fair point. Yeah. So that so. So you decided to do not many massive life change things pretty much all around the same time.

[0:06:20] Colin: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So 2007. So I resigned a job, quit a job, sold a house, bought a house, got married and had a baby. And emigrated all at the same time to a place where we didn't know anybody. So yeah, that's, uh, we we we've taken a few risks. I think it's fair to say and I always kept my risk template up to date.

[0:06:46] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): I love to see that risk meeting. Having tried to apply some of the, uh, just some simple boards in my house. It's not really worked that well, when you try to bring, bring the to back home, it takes a little while for it to sink in. I

[0:07:01] Colin: we had some success, actually, with boards, and yet one morning, I woke up and the thing was screwed up on the floor. I'm like, OK, there's the message. The project manager is becoming a dictator.

[0:07:12] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah. Yeah, I know what you mean. Um, so you said you um obviously you You were born in, Winston. You Did you stay and grow up in that area?

[0:07:22] Colin: Yeah, did yeah. Did very much. I was a I was late to leave home because I had it too good at home, Nigel. So, um, I stayed there, you know, pretty much until I was 23. And then even when I moved out, um, I moved into the same area. It was, you know, it was a nice area of Liverpool. There was no real need. It was easy to get to. It was easy to get into the city to go go and watch Everton and go out on the on the tiles. And it was easy to get it into places like Warrington where we do where we do likewise on the beers. Mr. Smith. Mr Smith. Right down. Yeah, that was my first suit I bought for work. I remember going to Mr Smith's, and it, my mate, still gave me grief for the fact that I fell asleep in the toilet one night. It's like still getting grief for that. Like, you know, 30 years later, it's insane. Smith. Yeah.

[0:08:12] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): I. I had some friends who people who I work with, who were who were Warrenton way. And I'd heard of the rumours of of the history of Mr Smith's a little bit. And

[0:08:23] Colin: it was the hit man and her There was a V show called The Hit Man, and they used to record it there. Yeah,

[0:08:27] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, I remember that as well. So, um, so when you were growing up in Winston and, uh, live in the lap of luxury with with home, what was it you wanted to be? Did you want to be a project manager?

[0:08:38] Colin: Well, yeah. So So Rain Hill was where I grew up at Nigel and And I had I had No, no, no one. No one grows up wanting to be a project manager. Um, I wanted to be an architect. I did technical drawing for a year. No, I actually I grew up wanting to play for Everton, right? That's the standard Liverpool. No one wants to play for Liverpool because no one in Liverpool supports Liverpool. People from Scandinavia support Liverpool and Australia. So I wanted to play for Everton and then I I was I was a decent player, actually. And but then I quit because I was just playing I was playing six days a week, and then I wanted to be an architect and a technical drawing for a year. I was rubbish, like, properly terrible at it. And then, um and then I had no idea. I literally had no idea. I just knew I didn't want to stay in school. I mean, going to university wasn't the thing back in the in the late eighties, one of the thing that everybody did. And so, you know, I got you know, the the third time I was suspended from school, I had a bit of a chequered school history. Truth be told, I, um my dad helped me write a letter to NatWest Bank asking them, probably pleading with them. Can I have a job, please? And I? I did one interview in Warrington just to check. I wasn't a serial killer. Then I had a second interview in Saint Helens to check that I'd fit into the culture. But it's Saint Helens, and it would be easy to fit into that culture. And that was it. And And I got a job at 17 just writing a speculative letter. I can't imagine that happening these days.

[0:10:01] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): No, it would be, Uh, yeah, it's It's, uh it's a different different way of getting roles, isn't it? I think Yeah, very

[0:10:11] Colin: much. So many people for each role now, of course.

[0:10:13] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, that's probably true because it's I'm guessing in those sort of roles. It would have been similar to me. People weren't travelling. When you're pooling on, those are very much a local areas. Uh, the people wouldn't be travelling significant distances to get to those kind of roles. Yeah, that's

[0:10:29] Colin: right. Yeah. Yeah, definitely not my role. But bank clark sat on the front counter, people No one for that.

[0:10:36] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): You know, II, I did bank Clark as part of my, um um Oh, what's it called? Work experience. I had a week working in the TSB in a street where I grew up. And, uh, I really enjoyed the, uh when you take all the money in the back room and you count it on the machines and they do the counting and the frank of the checks. I, I actually quite enjoyed that. I thought I found it quite therapeutic, but I thought I don't think I could have stuck it for very long.

[0:11:03] Colin: Well, I remember I. I kind of got promoted to the machine room early, You know, kind of when I was nearly 18, I think, and the machines were these huge, long things. They must have been about 10 ft long, and they made the most incredible noise. And I remember the bank manager, Mr Oakes. His name was he came around. He always used to walk around with his cigar. That's the way they used to do things like Ellis. What the devil is this thing? Because the God it's it sorts the check. It franks the checks, Mr Oaks, and it sorts it like it's a bloody future. It's the future of this stuff. Yeah, he was right. Who knew?

[0:11:40] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): But the funny thing I think the thing is, you're saying that it's about 10 ft long. The one I had I think it was the size of a printer that was there. So you can tell the difference in the size of branch that you were in compared to what I was probably So So you. You you talk about, um obviously, you, um, got into project management, and, um, you were doing banking. How long was that for?

[0:12:03] Colin: Well, I did. I did banking for seven years. And you know what? I love Nigel and and, you know, I said school really wasn't my thing. It just wasn't, um and then all of a sudden, I was in an industry where I was in front of people every day and I was part of teams, and that's the first time except playing football. That's the first time I really been exposed to that where people were given thought about how to create teams. And I really enjoyed working in the bank, and I didn't really enjoy where I was working. You know, I wanted to be in the city. I wanted to work in Liverpool. So, um, you know so much to the horror of my parents, I got a job working in in sales for the Liverpool Echo, which is the local paper Now, those in those days you could get a 0% mortgage if you have staff at the bank. My mom and dad were like, Why would you leave a bank? It's got a non contributed pension 0% mortgage is like I want to work in the city and just go out straight out on the beers after work. You know, that was my rationale at the time. And I and I, you know, tell sales people always say to you enjoy the role, and I did, because the team camaraderie was great. But the one thing I learned was how to touch type. So they sent you on a three day course on in Matthew Street in Liverpool. And I learned how to touch type, which I still do to this day, which is the best thing that I got out of it. But But I But I love the team. I love the team that I was part of. I love the camera. I love the the pressure of trying to hit targets. I wasn't very good, you know. Honestly, I wasn't very good, but I loved that pressure. And in and in 97 they they put the call out because, um, NatWest wasn't year 2000 compliant. Not that that that I was much of a techie, but they put the call out for project managers and and I went and saw this guy who was there was one project manager in the entire organisation. I went to see him, and he seemed like a pretty nice guy. And he said that he enjoyed it. And But I still didn't think that I wanted to do it. And then I and then someone approached me and said, Listen, we want to talk to you about this year 2000 thing and they said, Oh, we really think you'd be a good project manager. I was like, OK, I was like, Can you just explain to me what is a project manager? And I still remember this? He said. You get a car, you get a phone and you'll be away from home on and off for four years, I was like, I definitely want to be a project manager Yeah, that's how it was sold to be, Um, But he said, I said, Why me? And he said, Oh, principally because you're good with people and you're good with teams And he said, That's you know, it was none of the Prince two stuff. None of the guy can you do a W BS? It was none of that, Um, it was good with people good with teams and and that was That was early 1997 and that changed. Everything changed everything.

[0:14:44] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): So that was with that with the Trinity

[0:14:47] Colin: Group that you said? Yeah, it was was with, uh, they were. It was Trinity PLC to begin with. And then towards the end of that, we merged with the mirror and became Trinity Mirror. Um, but yeah, it was it was Trinity Group to begin with. So that was regional newspapers. So Huddersfield, Examiner, Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Belfast Telegraph, which I loved working in the, uh, cut down in Cardiff Western Mail and Echo, Liverpool Echo Middlesbrough. What? One? There was one in

[0:15:14] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): the Liverpool. E was part of that group. It was part

[0:15:17] Colin: of that group. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we had to replace systems in all of those areas, and I think we had there was, like, three project managers to cover all of it.

[0:15:26] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Jeez, Busy time, then?

[0:15:28] Colin: Yeah, it was Yeah. And I literally was home Saturday, Sunday and then gone again and fly into glamorous places like, you know, Middlesborough and yeah, I used to drive to me, but I used to fly to Belfast, but drive to

[0:15:43] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, I've done Newcastle a few times from from me down here in. And I quite enjoy that drive up the, uh, a one M road because it's always sunny when I drive up there for some reason, but yeah, maybe that's just

[0:15:56] Colin: M six and then a 66. And the A 66 was in snow in the winter, so you couldn't go that way, and then you had to find a different route. So happy days.

[0:16:07] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, right. So that kind of takes us on to sort of how and why. PM. So it was that that, um when you when you moved into that PM in what What were you thinking there as you as you, as they said, Well, we think you can do PM because from what you were saying there, the person asking you to do that obviously understood what a PM really was about. It wasn't someone who was, um, just going. We need a PM. Um, they need a tool. Um, because like you say, the the the teams and the people relationship side of it being the primary driver. Um what? What? What did you do to prep yourself for that?

[0:16:48] Colin: You know, it's a that's a really good question as I reflected on it recently. When I spoke at a conference, Uh, when somebody asked me a question, they asked me something like, Did you know how to plan when you started? And it was a great question because I hadn't really thought of it and I said, Well, no, I didn't I didn't I literally didn't know a thing. And so what was I thinking? Well, I was thinking, firstly, it sounded a bit glamorous because I was doing a lot of travel, but it sounded like a skill set that I really wanted to develop. You know, the other things that I was doing, you know, there were skills, but there was nothing really that I felt really passionately about. Then, all of a sudden, I was in this role where I was asked to be a role model. I don't think we use those words back then, but I was asked to be a bit of a role model for what we were trying to do, and I could let my personality shine a little bit. You know, I'm a I'm a high extrovert, and I think they wanted to see a little bit of that, but at the same time wanted to make sure that I was capturing the detail. And in the early days, I just wasn't capturing the detail. I didn't know how to do it a schedule. I did not, you know, kind of manage risk. And so I had a really I had a really good boss and he he laid things on the line to me a couple of times. You know, I remember once he said, you know, where's your plan? And I tapped my head and my thought here, Rob and he was like, Wait, what it's like You need to get it out of the and on to a piece of paper. And so he was. He was fabulous. He was instrumental in really helping me. And I think, you know, I was 27 then 27 or 28 and and he really put the emphasis on me doing the things that I was uncomfortable doing within my personality. You know, a lot of what I talk about, especially to project managers these days, is we very much focus on our own personality. Our own communication style were to be successful is it's doing all of the stuff The personality doesn't want to do. You know, I remember bounding. I had a team of developers and infrastructure engineers and worked with a bunch of people remember bounding in the all extra version. Literally kind of the room just clammed up, and no one wanted wanted a bar of it. And so, you know, I knew very early on that I had a challenge. You know, I had to work really, really hard to learn techniques. And we did a little prince. We did princes, too. Uh, we were, like, real early adopters. We did it. I think it was in 98 and I failed the foundation exam. I must be the only person in history to fail the foundation exam. They make it that easy because I tried to apply it practically which sounds like a terrible thing to say. But when I answered the questions, I'm like, all right. In real life, what would I do? Um, and I very, you know, quickly found out. Well, the theory doesn't always match the reality of the situations that you find yourself in. Um, so that's a long answer to a short question, but you know, what was I thinking? I was thinking is a real opportunity for me to stretch myself and develop a career into something that you know because I love the variety. It's something that I can see myself doing long term.

[0:19:48] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, because I think that just as you said, the PM, the variety point there and I know that's been an attraction for me for project management is that, um whilst the variety of what you're trying to do is is quite often good, the variety of people is often good, But sometimes the, uh, the repetitive nature of some of it can be, um, the downside of it isn't it is that you know what's gonna happen with the project, Um, and that that on the face of it, looking in it looks like you're gonna get lots of variety. But it's a lot of variety of the same thing, if you know what I mean.

[0:20:25] Colin: It is. It is Nigel. That's a really good point. But but But it's, you know, it's really what you create it. You know, I often poke fun at people the project managers to say I don't like the administration side of it. Um, you know, I don't like writing reports. I don't like updating my schedule. I'm like, Look, every job's got its bits of it that are more mundane than the rest. And if you don't like writing reports, go and be a BA. I still don't know what those guys do. Um, go and be a B A um, but, you know, you've got to accept that there, you know, with every job there's a little bit of it that you won't prefer do. But you've still got to do that really, really well, because it's part of what we do. If you don't like maintaining a schedule, don't like, don't be a project manager, you know, And and one of the things that I did later on in my career and I developed a bit of a name for myself for doing this is Well, I you know, I used to meet with lots of my peers, particularly in New Zealand, and they would be like, Oh, how do you get people to get their reporting on time? I'm like, Well, if they don't get the reporting on time, then they get performance managed. How do you do it, he said. What do you mean, performance manager? I'm like, Well, it's their job to get their If they can't get a report in on time, what chance do you think they've got to getting a project in on time? And it's It's kind of those little things those little disciplines that I definitely developed early on, Um, and kind of I, I guess, reassured myself that that that was the trade off for all of the other variety stuff, um, is with the travel and with the different people with the different issues. Um, you know and I loved planning. I loved planning so much. I love trying to get as much certainty as possible because I knew that as soon as you get into delivery, it's easy for me. Um, and yet that's a skill that we seem to be losing within the profession these days, you know, and II I poke fun at sponsors all the time because I think they're to blame. You know, these Nike project sponsors Just do it, Just do it. Just do it and you never get time to plan anymore. Um, and the way that they're trying to circumvent that now is by going agile. That's a whole other thing.

[0:22:26] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, that's a yeah II. I can I know what you're saying. It's that kind of thing of great. We don't have to be sure on what we want And, you know, you do need to be sure on what you want. It's just a different way of getting to that being sure on what you want. And And I think some people see agile as we can change our minds and having having recently been on a product owner course, um, from the scrum stuff and and kind of it gets dropped into my mind how that that, um, product owner role within an organisation, being given the right level of authority and the right level of power to own that product is fundamental to making an agile project work. Because without that, you might as well just randomly pick what you're doing.

[0:23:24] Colin: Well, well, that's right. And you know it's only suitable for certain things, and we've still got organisations are like all right, everything's agile now. It was like it's gonna fail. You're gonna fail. Um,

[0:23:36] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): you don't use a hammer to screw something in or paint a wall, do you? Yeah, that's right. Make sure you're using the right tool.

[0:23:43] Colin: We've got the site. We're in the cycle of waterfall bad, agile. Good. Make some best projects I've ever been involved in were waterfall projects. The difference was we had competent people who knew how to do it in the right way, you

[0:23:54] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): know? Yeah. Yeah, I know what you mean. I know what you mean. So talking of the your projects and so you You mentioned your year 2000, um, projects that you your first projects you jumped into. Tell us a bit about that.

[0:24:09] Colin: Yeah. So, um, you know, we were doing I was doing pretty much three projects at once and that really, uh I really enjoyed that. Not only that, I used that model as I headed up my own project departments moving forward. So I was managing one in initiation, one in delivery, one in closure. And so, you know, I would spend a week, you know, one day, the the the implementation I was three days on one side. I remember My favourite one was Huddersfield. So I was working at the Huddersfield exam and they didn't have an office for me. I was working for regionals, so there's a bit of a kind of sideways look at these people coming in from regionals, you know, especially me with my suit on. And, um, so they didn't have it anywhere, anywhere for me. So they they hired a porter cabin and put it in the car park. So I was in a porter cab. Me and Sue if you're listening to, um me and Sue were in it with a porter cabin in a car park, and and it was it was such great for I used to have a squirrel that used to come and visit, and I used to feel it's no wonder I went nuts and very good. And so, you know, we had so many different stories, but it But it was a great It was a great lesson for me because the stakeholders were quite different. You know, I remember that the sponsor in In Side in Middlesbrough was quite a hard ass, you know, He he he was a tough guy to get along with, but I found a way to do it. You know, I worked really hard at that much much easier in Belfast. Um, lovely, lovely people in Belfast welcoming, accommodating would do anything. And And so what we have to do very quickly, Nigel was establish a team and then also communicate really, really well because what we were implementing, of course, for those those people that remember Y2K is we weren't implementing just a fix. We were implementing a whole new way of doing things, you know? And I see people now doing new ways of working. I'm like, Well, you don't need new ways of working. What you need to do is work with the teams to get new ways of behaving, because when you get new ways of behaving, you naturally get new ways of working. And so that's what we had to do. Were we always successful? We got a lot of pushback, you know? I mean, especially newspapers. We were We were replacing page makeup systems advertising systems like very traditional old fashioned business. Um, so we faced a lot of challenges, but we just kept communicating in different ways. We had to be really good at things like planning, um, risk management issue management. Um and it was tough. It was you know when I think back now it. I had to hit the ground running and cliche. I know I had to hit the ground running. I had to learn the entire profession, probably in about four weeks, and then just learn on the job. There was no hide in place. If you got something wrong, you have to hold your hands up straight away. There was an element of vulnerability in order to create connections with people. Empathy was high because we knew that what we were doing was effectively going to change the livelihoods of some people. But most of all, it was about courage and discipline. Um, and really, as a team, finding ways to do things, um, that, you know, we we would say And we would say they're innovative these days. They weren't back then, um, it it was just about literally What can we do now to fix this problem? And we would be there till midnight. And no one ever said We want overtime. We want more pay. No one ever did that because we were so invested in the team and in being successful, um, and we just love We just love mixing and, you know, we love socialising and all of all of the things that great teams do and so that, you know, I I It was a great grounding for me because I learned the difference between management and leadership because I worked for a leader and then latterly I worked for a manager, and I started to see the difference and decided that I would want to be a leader and then got great at creating teams. You know, we don't teach people how to be great at team building. Um, so, yes, I learned how to do that. Really? Well, too,

[0:28:05] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Berlin. So in with, with that just more more personal curiosity, really, because I I was involved in some Y2K stuff when I was working at Barclays around the same sort of time. What? What was your approach with that? Because I'm guessing similarly at my more back office or, um, services that we were looking at. So there was There was less, um, absolute criticality on the day to day operations that I imagine some of the other things you were talking about there, Um but there was like, chief accountant department and things like that so they were quite keen for the accounts to be right. Um what What did you How did you approach that? Because I'm guessing you had a a set up system and all that. That's print in the newspapers. And you can't interrupt the printing of the newspapers on those days Have ridiculously dead tight deadlines. Um, how did how did you approach that?

[0:29:00] Colin: Well, we had to create almost an entirely separate business. And I don't mean with all of the people. Uh, but, you know, we kind of mirrored day to day operations, Nigel, and created something new. You know, we call them environments these days, but we had a completely different environment. Because, of course, what we can't do is interrupt anything with regards to getting the newspaper out.

[0:29:23] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, And I suppose I was gonna say sorry to interrupt for people who are listening who are young and and they may or may not be. The problem was, is that the 2000 year 2000 thing was that most dates were stored as 99 S and then would reset to 01 and wouldn't recognise the fact that it goes to 2000 or 2001. Sorry, we moved to 2000, not 2001. And that was the problem. Was making sure that all the services still operated on the day that we ticked over. That's just contextualised, for if I've got some young listeners, which I doubt, but

[0:29:58] Colin: I What I what I love about that and I tell this joke all the time on stage is that people always say, Oh, yeah, it was a red herring. Nothing happened. Yeah, because of people like us that a lot

[0:30:09] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): of work put in place to stop,

[0:30:12] Colin: we save the world, everybody, you're all welcome. Um,

[0:30:16] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): I'm not gonna claim that much, because I'm not sure I said much like

[0:30:23] Colin: so, yeah, we we had to create a completely separate environment, and, um, and in those days as well, Nigel, we were getting four editions out of the newspaper. It wasn't just one. It was four editions, and most of them were printed on site, so we had to create a separate environment, and then it it was big bang. And so we would switch everything off. Um, you know, so the different days for different sites we'd switch everything off on a Friday night and we would redo everything on Saturday. It was It was so stressful. Um, kind of making sure that everything came back up and everybody's P CS were working. Not only that, and and yet and yet the thing that I remember most of all, um, that was our biggest challenge was getting the advertising systems to balance. That was the hardest thing of all to get it to balance exactly to the penny. Because that's what the accountants, you know, definitely wanted. Um, yeah. So we created a separate environment, and it was full on Big Bang, and we switched everything off on a Friday, and we switched the new stuff on early hours of Saturday morning.

[0:31:29] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Some sleepless nights leading up to that,

[0:31:33] Colin: Or Sunday morning. It was It was Sunday morning. That's right.

[0:31:35] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah. So, with, um, with that project, that being your first one moving on now, looking at your stalking you on LinkedIn, as I do with all of my, uh, uh, uh, interviewees, um, there's AAA vast array of different projects and and, uh, roles that you've been doing, um, thinking about the the projects you've done. Um what was the What would you say was the largest, um, project. And when I when I say largest, I don't mean what was the biggest value, What was the biggest, um, number of resources? It It's what felt the biggest to you. And that might have been impact on the end customer or impact on the business you're in, or whatever or impact on the people involved. Whatever felt like the the most significant project to you and and in that project, what did you learn?

[0:32:37] Colin: I had a bit of a rapid rise, Nigel I There are some project managers out there who managed, like a billion projects. I didn't manage a billion projects. I was very fortunate in at the end of the Y2K stuff. The mirror group, as it was then said, We need to establish a central what they call programme office at the time. That was in 2003 and you're the guy to head it up. Of course, I didn't know what I was doing that either. So I was making that up because I I went along. So in terms of the biggest project, because because, you know, I went on to programme management. I did a fair bit of programme management. We had some big initiatives. Then we specifically within the the Mirror group. We wanted to go from the biggest to the best, Uh, because we weren't the best newspaper group, but we were the biggest. So we had a number of programme initiatives and I did some programme management within there. But I haven't managed billions and billions of projects. But the ones that I did, I managed really, really well, the biggest learning curves definitely came at the start because I didn't know what the hell I was doing. And I decided early on to become the best at project management better than anybody else. That's what I decided and what I what I found. I'm not suggesting for one minute that I was the best, by the way, um but I decided that I wanted to become the best, and so I researched it and I learned it and I learned all of the techniques, um and I I just wanted to I was like a sponge. And and so all of the things that I did, the definitely the early projects were definitely my best and the whole leadership thing was really, really interesting to me because I'd worked for some people that I just didn't like, and I didn't like them because it was a personality clash or whatever. Um, but I also didn't like it because they didn't set work in the way that I wanted to. And I had a great boss who I watched, and I used to write things down. I still do this now and write things down that I see that I like and think, OK, how can I do that? You know, particularly when I watch watching, watching people speak or hearing people talk about culture. And so the biggest thing that I learned was definitely early on in my career is by watching people and their interactions with others and finding out what's effective. And that's how I learned to communicate in different ways so that it's again early on in my project management career. But still, one of the things that I learned was how do I change my style depending on the person that I'm talking to? Because when I first started as a project manager, I had a group of developers and they just weren't listening to me and my and I. I went to my boss. I'm paraphrasing now. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I was like, These guys are idiots, like none of them are listening. None of them do what I want to do. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah what we need to do He's like, maybe maybe you're the idiot. I was like what he's like. Maybe maybe you're the idiot. Have you thought about the fact that they might not like the way that you they might not like the way that you're talking to them? I was like, I'm not being rude. He's like, No, no, no, I'm not saying that he's like, But have you ever thought that actually, the way to motivate somebody is to find a way that they like to communicate and and speak like that? I've never thought of that before. Never thought of that before and And so I learned how to communicate, probably in about four different ways, which, you know, I later find out, matched Carl Jung's work of theory, personality and all that stuff. Um, and that was the best thing that I learned that if you can change the way that you communicate and if you're resilient, Um, that eventually, what you can do is build teams that everyone wants to be a part of because, uh, they know that not only do you respect what they know but that you also respect the way that they do things. And and we call it empathy these days. Um, but yeah, that that was possibly the most important thing I ever learned. Yeah,

[0:36:20] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): it's It's It's, um it sounds familiar that I picked up I was I was given a book many years ago. Um, and II I think the guy's name was Dr Robert ROM. And he talked about the, um, the disc behavioural model. And, uh, and then subsequent to that, I started listening to a podcast called the manager tools. Um, which is, uh, two guys, Mark Ozanne and, um uh, Mike. Uh, horseman Michael. Yeah. Um, Mark Horseman. Sorry. Um, and, uh, they go into incredible depth around, um, the behaviours of the the the through. The four models, those and they I think they map on to those Carl Young things as well. And, uh, and and and it and they They really to emphasise the fact that you've got these behaviours, how you'd like to be communicated to what your defaults are and the fact that everybody else's defaults are different and and how simple things you can do by considering other people's, um, way of communicating, um, can make life so much easier for you, especially with things like email, because they talk about. They talk about the fact that, like me, I'm a I'm a fairly flaky, um, at the best of times. And if someone sends me a long email with lots of detail, I go, Oh, I'll read that in a minute. I'll give that some attention and it it it goes on the back burner. If I trust the person and I've got a few guys who have worked for me before now, who said we should do this and I've gone? Yeah, do it and and it's like, Hang on. I haven't told you all the details yet. You'll have made you'll have done that. I trust you to have done a much better job about whether it's the right decision or not than me, and, uh, I'll take your word for it. and quite often if you present that to people, they'll go well, yeah, you said it's the right thing to do. I've got the background. I can pick that up later. Um, but the problem is you you'll send someone a long, long email they've got to read all the way through it. And at the bottom, they asked for a decision and you got to read it again and as well. And it kind of there's lots of little things they give you tips on on just to, as you say, adapt to other people's way of communicating rather than th thinking. Everyone's happy with your wonderful way of communicating

[0:38:42] Colin: Well, you know, and and often, Nigel, you know, I used to inherit teams and they were like, Oh, this guy is a poor performer. This guy's a poor performer and you dig into it and they're technically very good. But no one's ever changed their style to meet their style. And so I was just going to my teams, you know, create a career of doing things slightly differently. I would say I don't like email. Don't send me any emails. Like literally. Don't send me any emails If you want a decision to come and talk to me, that's my preferred style. If you feel the need to explain yourself, do it face to face. Don't do it on an email. Don't copy me into any emails. I set up a rule. If you copy me into an email, it goes straight into into my trash. I put it

[0:39:22] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): into a separate thing as well.

[0:39:24] Colin: Yeah, so all of a sudden I'm getting no emails. And my all of my peers, all my senior execs are like, Why do you get no emails like, because I tell people not to send me emails? How hard can that be? Um, but for everybody else, you know, I very much communicate in the way that they want to learn. But of course, we're not taught this in Prince Two. We're not taught in in pin. We're not taught in agile. We're just taught techniques and methods. And yet, and yet the most important thing, you know, the the best projects are results of the people that lead them and the environment that they create. But that whole concept of what it what does it mean to be a leader And how do you create great teams somehow is secondary to all of the technical stuff. And yet that's the stuff that gets the project delivered, and it still baffles me to this day. I'm still on this. You know, I I've been doing it, what for? About four years now. And and I still come across these people like, Oh, well, surely if I get my P MP qualification, I'm a project manager. I'm like, Dude, that gets you a foot in the door. It gets you a foot in the door and project management. Now go and apply that, and you'll find out the real world is very, very different. They don't want to follow an eight step scoping process. That's not how it works in the real life. That's but you've got to have the badges. You've got to do all of the things right. You've got to have the badges. That's your professional development. But that's not the reality of Project management. Yeah, and

[0:40:42] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): I think it's that that concept of and I can't remember who I talked to about this right. It's like learning a musical instrument. If you're going to learn to play guitar you need to learn how to play classical guitar and learn to play it perfectly well so that a friend of mine is a guitar. So you need to be able to learn to play it. Well, so then you can start to learn to play it. Oh, the rules. You know the rules. So you know what? OK, I understand the rules. I understand why I'm doing the rules. Right, OK, so that one I ain't gonna bother with on this project because I don't need to and you kind of you adapt those tools you need and you make the right level of governance and you and again, it's it's I I'm I'm sure I was reading in Peter's book the other day. Pete Taylor is that he talks about the fact that your communication is, um, the lion's share of a project manager's job is about the communication. And and most of the tools that we look at in the Project Managers Kit bag are about different. Like Microsoft Project isn't a planning tool, it's a communication tool. You know what I mean? It it you could you. That's what it's for is to be again chart is a way of representing the timeline on a plan and the schedule on a plan. So that's inherently in. It is a communication tool. It's not

[0:42:01] Colin: a planning. Yeah, I disagree. It's It's a way of capturing information so that as a project manager, you can answer the questions. I. I used to hate it when project managers used to send gun charts around, though, right? Yeah,

[0:42:18] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): you can't paint a wall by sending someone a paint brush. You know what I mean? But you can use that you can. You can use again charts. You'll send it right. There's a again. I can talk you through it, but it's a tool you can use as part of an illustration. Isn't it absolutely so so kind of moving on from the largest you learned on that? Um, more of a juicy question here. What is the biggest crew up that you've had in your project management career? And what did you learn from that?

[0:42:50] Colin: Well, you know, all lives that is defined by scrubs, I think the biggest one ever, though when I when I went to when I my first programme office. So this is 2003 4 is, I decided gonna love this one. I still still got it somewhere as well. I decided that what we needed because, um, my boss at the time said what we need is a rigour across the portfolio. So I was heading up, I guess the programme office for the entire organisation, right, Particularly in IT we need we need a consistent way of managing IT projects. And what I did was I conveniently threw out the things that made us successful. And why Y2K all of the communication, All the team building stuff you through all of that out of the window and thought, Well, the way to get consistency is to apply a method because that's the right thing to do. Um and so I we arranged for everyone to have Prince two training three day Prince two training. I rewrote the 450 page Prince two manual into 60 pages or 58 pages. Something like that. And I've still got it somewhere and and I decided that that's what I would do is send that out to everybody. And actually, if everyone could just follow this process, it would be successful and of course. Of course, it failed massively and no one did it. And no one got anything in on time. And I blamed everybody but myself. Uh, because I'd forgotten about all of the things that actually make projects successful. Slavishly following a method just isn't the thing. I didn't make it about capability improvement. I didn't visit the sites and talk about the challenges that they faced. I didn't upskill people and how to communicate in different ways. I didn't give many instructions on how to create great teams, and so I was given the chance to correct it, which I was hugely grateful for at the time. Uh, so we started to do some of those things that a really a couple of people who who worked with me and they were awesome. And, you know, we really changed the way that we did things. Um, but yeah, that was the biggest screw up to think that that would work and and yet it was such a great thing to learn back in 2003 4, whatever it was, because it really set the tone for the way that I did things, then moving forward in my career. particularly in project management, is when everybody else was doing that. I already knew it didn't work. I already knew that that approach didn't work. I already knew that telling project managers that if you follow the system, you'll be successful just was never going to be the right thing. Um, so that was that was the biggest group. There have been lots of minor screw ups along the way, particularly around communication. Uh, not getting communication right. But they were speed bumps. And, you know, what I would do is write down what I learned, Um, in order that I could change and then work and worked hard at the change. Really? Yeah. Cool.

[0:45:41] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): So let's let's move back into a bit more positive

[0:45:48] Colin: therapy session after this.

[0:45:50] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, I I There's a few positives after this. You you'll have forgotten about that conversation. Um, through through your career. Um, there's there's gonna be some, um, deliveries that you're going to have been involved with. And, um, the the you'd have taken a lot of pride from that. That success and those deliveries And what what would you What would you highlight as being your proudest project programme delivery

[0:46:17] Colin: Uh, well, for me, it was the proudest times of when I've headed up the big teams, Um, and faced a significant challenges in that time. You know, we had we had one. My first job in in New Zealand. We weren't delivering to the, uh I guess the regulator in the way that they would like. And so the pressure was on for us to change. Otherwise we'd lose money, and obviously the knock on effect of that would be people's jobs. And and we turned that around. I was head of projects for the Ministry of Justice when we had the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand and the response of the team was absolutely fantastic. Um, so because that was a bit of a challenge. We had to literally stop doing lots of things and start doing lots of other things. And you really get a sense of people's flexibility, agility, resilience, all of those things there. Um, but, you know, fortunate to work with lots of great people who, uh, just knew how to get the job done. Really, Nigel, um, I never you know, I and I tell project managers this, you know, project managers, it's tough, but you take all of the blame and none of the credit, I think, for for for the things that are successful, the team is the one that does the real work. And it's your job to make sure that the team know what needs to get done and when. And, um so I've been fortunate to be part of some really, really great teams that have done some pretty amazing things.

[0:47:48] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): So outside of the actual deliveries and and what they've done what what project based achievement that you've had would would use rate as being your proudest and not not necessarily about the delivery? Um, it could be Well, don't want to lead the lead, the witness sort of thing. Um, but it what? What's given you personally? The most. So you've sat there and thought, Yeah. I'm proud of myself there. I'm proud of that. That that situation

[0:48:25] Colin: Oh, gosh, I'm not great at self reflecting and finding positives, and not that I'm a negative person, but I don't really look at myself in that way, Nigel. I think you know I'm 50 this year. Um, and kind of Yeah. Cheers. Thanks. Um, when I look back 23 years ago at what I've learned, I'm proud that I'm still relevant. I'm proud that I can talk a language that people understand. I'm proud that I can stand in front of groups of people, you know, regardless of their generation. And there's something in that message for everyone. I'm proud that I didn't stagnate, that I see lots of project managers do that They didn't stay wedded to that one thing that they knew. I'm proud that I challenge myself and move to different roles in different organisations that are different challenges. Um and you know, never stop learning, never stop meeting people. Um, you know, and I'm proud that at kind of 46 I, you know, with two kids and not a lot of money in the bank, that I decided to follow a bit of a passion and and kind of take everything that I've learned and put that back in books on stage, uh, in facilitated programmes to help organisations change the way that they get things done. So I guess there's been a series of moments over that time. I couldn't pick one thing out, but but, you know, ultimately to still be relevant in 2019. Having come from where I came from, um, is possibly the proudest thing. Um, and it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of effort. Um, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

[0:50:10] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Brilliant. That kind of leads nicely on to my next question really? Is around. How you, um what made you start with the, um, with writing and with, um, speaking and and and taking that step. What was it? What was the what was the catalyst in that? Really?

[0:50:28] Colin: I was working. I was, uh I was working in change management for the Ministry of Education in in New Zealand. I had quite a big piece of work to do, but we I was part of a small change team and the the the girl that I was working next to, she was a blogger, and I'd never really thought about blogging. So this is in 2013, and she said you should write because, you know, I talk. She should write a blog. Like, why would I write a blog? Who's gonna listen to me anyway? So she was the catalyst for me thinking about blogging. And then when we emigrate, we emigrated to Australia that year. So I had a head of projects role for another government department. And, you know, I had a little bit of time on my hands. My job was to change the culture, um, which I love doing. That's my bag. That's the thing everyone's got at one thing that's mine. And so I started writing about some of the things, of course, like zero people read them to begin with. There was like no people read them. But it was just that I had a viewpoint, Nigel, that I wanted to get off my chest, and I thought, Well, if I could write it, maybe somebody would read it and it might change the way that they thought. The real catalyst, though, was I went to a project management conference in Adelaide in 2014. It was rubbish and and I was gutted to have spent the money on it and to be completely underwhelmed, and I was massively underwhelmed. Over three days, I'm like no one here is talking about the realities that we face. No one here is talking about the actual human skills that we need to be successful. Nobody and no one here is making it entertaining and interesting to listen to. It was a bunch of pale, male, stale guys just droning on about me. The way to deliver benefits is and like we all know, right the way to deliver benefits is for the sponsor to give a damn, you know? So I'm writing down all these things, Nigel, and I'm not a moaner. I'm not like I could do better. Let's I'm gonna moan. I'm like, I'm gonna I'm gonna do it. I'm I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna become a public speaker. I've done maybe two speeches before then maybe two or three speeches, mainly because I was a practitioner. Organisations and the people invited me to speak, hoped that I would bring an army of people with me. Um, that's a cynic view. Um, and that was in. That was in 2014. And so I quit my job. We had no money. I saved up enough money for three months rent. You know, we didn't have a house or anything like that, but so I saved up enough money for three months rent and decided that I would write a project management like training course, and I would try and sell it to local businesses here in Melbourne. But we'd only been there nine months, So nobody knew me like nobody knew me. No one had a clue. I was I didn't have any position in. I wasn't really writing then much. I've done a few blogs, and so it failed, so I had to get a contract job. So I got a contract job as a PM O manager for a telecommunications company. Started to capture all of the stuff that I knew to be true. And then try it again in 2015. That was at the end of my contract. Uh, and then I I saved up four months rent this time, and my wife at this time was like, What are you doing? Like, you know, we got two young kids. What the hell is going on? I'm like, I think I think I got something. I think I got something she was like, Yeah, no, I don't think you do, because no one wants it. Um, And then it couldn't No traction. No one wanted anything and I went for an interview, a consultant's office. Now this is how I remember it. It might not have gone exactly like, but this is definitely how I remember. It is when I was in this consultant's office to have a conversation about a Project Manager role, I never wanted to be a consultant. I was happy being a contractor, like, you know, rolling my sleeves up. He he had a He had a speaker council he had. He was doing these breakfast sessions that he would invite people to speak and he had a speaker. Either I had a speaker council or something came up in the conversation where I said that I could do a speech and he was like, Are you a speaker? I was like, Yeah, definitely a speaker internationally all over the world, not a liar. You know, I was talking about the times that I've done training courses, you know, international in Liverpool and and anyway, good enough. If he gave me this opportunity, he said, What do you talk about? I talk about leadership and team building and project management as like, because they're the things that people forget about all of the time. And so anyway, he's like, OK, yeah, we'll we'll yeah, we'll give that a crack anyway. Long story short At that session that I ran for, like, an hour over breakfast with somebody from a retail company, she was like, Oh, my God, love what you're talking about. We've got this challenging transformation programme. The thing that's missing is leadership and team building. We can do all the other stuff. Will you come and work with us? And And I was like, Yes, and she said. But I'm thinking what we need is something every month. And I was like, Yeah, I can totally do that. That's the right way. You know? It's the right way to do personal development. And so the fee that I charged was my monthly rent every month for 12 months. And so I knew that I had the rent covered and I just needed to find something else to cover the food. And my wife was working and and so she was looking after that side of things and and that was it. And that was the start of it. And for and for 2015, 2016, I had two clients. That was it. I had one in Melbourne and one in New Zealand where I started a really good reputation. And that was it, Uh, and that was the start of it. And in that time, then I wrote the conscious Project leader, um, which, you know, I wanted to write a a project management book. That was real. Not that other people's books aren't real, but certainly real in the way that I had seen it and lots of humour. I wanted to do something slightly different. And yes, and And that was it, Nigel. So I got to start to get a little bit of traction from there back in 2015 16.

[0:56:19] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Brilliant. And, uh, yeah, I I'm trying to think about when I first became aware of your work, and I think it's it's in the last 12 months, so I kind of if you kind of, um uh and and I found, uh, I think I'm not sure if you were on a podcast or whether it's just on LinkedIn or whatever, but the project rots from the head. Was the next book which was the one that I remembered, uh, the title of that being quite memorable there. Yeah, that

[0:56:52] Colin: was. And because I'd read I was I wanted to write a book. I haven't written a book for project managers. I wanted to write a book from for sponsors, and I and I looked at all these books, you know? And yet you need to write a book as you well know, right? It's to write a book. You've got to read lots of books, and I read and the titles were all like a regard to sponsoring projects. 10 things sponsors need to know it like sponsors are idiots. But the reasons that projects fail is because of sponsors. And I was like, I want to make sure that the title represents that. And so there's a Chinese or a Japanese proverb that the fish rots from the head when they talk about organisations and how they fail or I'm like, Yeah, the project rots from the head. And so yeah, there was a lot. They got a lot of, um, I guess, interest in the book because of the title,

[0:57:36] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): which is good. It's ideal, isn't it? It's all about marketing, isn't it? Um, so and and there's There's two other things I'm gonna have to talk to you about before I close off this around your, um um your writing and blogging and things like that is is two other irons that you have in the fire that I I noticed. Um uh, recently, um, you're the founder and organiser of the getting shit Done club. Yeah, and the co-founder of the whiskey trip. Do you want to tell us a little bit about those two other irons you've got on the fire?

[0:58:11] Colin: The latter first, the whiskey trip is a passion project. So I do love my whiskey. I'm a quality, not quantity kind of person. Uh, and so there are a number of great whiskey bars here in Melbourne, and what I wanted to do was to create, like, a luxury trip, because I, you know, I've had I have a little bit of success over the last couple of years, and I wanted to treat myself kind of a way of me celebrating success. And I thought, Well, what I want to do is go on like a a luxury tour where I get to take in different whiskey distilleries, but also get an experience as well, and there was nothing. And so I, uh, working with the bar, the manager of a local whiskey bar here in Melbourne. So we put together this whiskey trip, so it's a kind of unique luxury experience. We're doing Tasmania first in Australia and then hope to do Japan, Scotland, um, US. Lots of different places You can go. So that's my passion project. The getting shit done club is, uh, a little bit of a frustration for big corporate conferences. And again, having gone to conferences for 20 years, Nigel is What they would do is spend all their money on a on A on a keynote speaker, and then everybody else was practitioners. Not that that's bad or wrong, because you need that. But sometimes it just needs something a little bit different, and people just want to be motivated. Want to be inspired? I've met loads of great public speakers over the last three years, and so I thought, Well, rather than take people out of the office for three days and make them spend $1500 a ticket, um, or £1000 a ticket, let's just create a simple half day thing low cost. Um, it's all about getting shit done. And, you know, the the speakers don't take a fee, and we give all of the money after we've covered our costs to charity. Um, and people can make the time for it. It's half a day. So, you know, you you you'd be quite prepared to take half a day off work and spend $75 to come and listen to five great speakers or four of me great speakers speak about something, you know. So we cover all of the topics from HR to leadership to project management, uh, to vitality and staying fit to, you know, we're working with at we've got a speaker from at Lassie and in Sydney at lass and Big Software company. You know about how they get shit done. And so this was the plan, Really not to Just to create something different in the conference world for people who perhaps can't afford $1500 a ticket or three days out of work. And they've been pretty popular so far, so we're going to keep them going.

[1:00:38] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): So I see it. We're looking now. Um, yeah, You've got a few coming up over the next few months. I think this this podcast is not going to be going out for a little while. So it's probably not very timely to mention the one that in the fifth of June, because after that yeah, yeah, yeah, but

[1:00:56] Colin: in London, one let me know.

[1:00:58] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, that would be good. That would be good. I find the time to get down to that one. that's brilliant. Um, I've got some quick fire questions now for the end of this, which is what was the last project podcast you listen to If you listen to podcasts, I know

[1:01:14] Colin: people. Uh, I the digital PM podcast. I'm not a big podcast listener, but the digital PM podcast is the last one that I listen to. Yeah. Yeah.

[1:01:22] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): And I interviewed, um, Ben, uh, a couple of weeks ago. Nice. Really good that I think that was coming out month after next. Um cool. Um, what's the last blog that you remember reading that project blog that made any sense or or other blog

[1:01:42] Colin: I? I subscribe to Elizabeth Harron's blog. I really love Elizabeth's take on things because it's different than most other people. And so I read that every week, and she just did one yesterday. And so I read that, um, yes, last last night. So that was the last one. Or was it this morning? Yeah, it was. I think it was last night. Yeah. So that's the last one I remember reading. OK,

[1:02:01] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): and, uh, crack these ones here. Now, you if you are giving a top tip to a seasoned PM Who What what? What? What's the one thing you you're going to say that would make the massive difference to their career as a

[1:02:19] Colin: the way the way that people like to be motivated and inspired is different. So you have to change your style. Uh, and the way that we build teams today is different than it was, uh, So make sure you stay relevant and learn skills that will make you successful Now, not 10 years ago.

[1:02:36] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, cool. Brilliant. And the final one would take you back to, um when is it? January 1998 or December 1997 which whenever the conversation was and your, uh, you're starting that first day in project management on at the Trinity Mirror Group and the Y2K transformation project. What? What do you tell Colin? What do you tell young Colin there? God,

[1:03:10] Colin: what would I tell him? Don't gate crash parties in middle. Um, definitely tell him that. Uh, yeah, we did that once. That's a whole other presentation story. Um, what would I tell him, I? I Yeah, you know what? What? Given where I am? I wouldn't change where I am right now, Nigel. Um, so there's not a lot that I would tell him because it might lead me to a different position because I'm very, very happy with what I'm doing right now, and I feel like I'm making a difference. You know, I've got another book coming out. The project book is out in July, and and so maybe I would tell the young Colin to maybe start writing down some of the things that work, uh, to share them with other people and then to relentlessly get better at at the things that you know, I don't enjoy. Maybe that's what I would tell him. But I feel like I've done that for

[1:04:08] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Well, that is everything. I was gonna ask you. It's been

[1:04:13] Colin: a I talked about myself ever like, ever. I'm exhausted,

[1:04:18] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): and it's quite it's quite as you say. Hopefully, some of these I haven't managed to get anyone to cry on the call yet. So, um, that's my goal.

[1:04:27] Colin: I don't

[1:04:30] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah. And, uh, I do appreciate the amount of time you've given me today. Uh, it's been a really interesting and entertaining interview. If people want to get in touch with you, um, want to look at your work? Um, I'll include some links into the the, um uh, the show notes. But what What, uh, what would you recommend? The the the best and quickest way to get hold of you.

[1:04:55] Colin: Uh, so LinkedIn is the easiest. So call in with one L Colin D Ellis. So feel free to connect on LinkedIn. Um, and then just ping me a message that's got my contact info. My website. Uh, which is Colin? D Ellis dot com. Um, you can just google me these days, which is nice that I come up there and you know, people aren't trolling me yet. I'll get there, I'll definitely get there. Um, and I got a new book out in in July. The project book. So that will be where we marketing that. So you'll see me about the place. Uh, but yeah, You know, LinkedIn, twitter, instagram. I do all of the social

[1:05:28] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): things. OK, brilliant. Well, um, all I've got to say then is thank you again. And, um, I hope you have a lovely breakfast and have a wonderful rest of the week.

[1:05:41] Colin: Thanks, Nigel. Great to talk to you, mate. Thanks,

[1:05:42] The Sunday Lunch PM (Nige): Colin.

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