Robert Ellis


Facilitator, Future of Work, Leadership

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Areas of Expertise

Future of Work  •  Facilitator  •  Leadership

About Robert

With almost 30 years of experience across global companies—spanning startups, mid-stage, Fortune 500 giants, and non-profits—Robert guides leaders to take their impact to the next level at any stage of growth. His proven strength in coaching entrepreneurs and CEOs to become better leaders, think more strategically, create high performing teams, foster future-friendly cultures, and deliver compelling presentations—including several high-profile IPO roadshows—has earned him praise from one client as “one of Silicon Valley’s best-kept secrets.”

Robert teaches leadership and coaches entrepreneurs at Singularity University, and developed Level UP, the leadership curriculum for the Global Startup Program.

He is also an executive coach and the founder of Futurosity and the Coaching From Essence training program for executive coaches.

Robert has worked with numerous clients, ranging from smaller companies and startups to many of the Fortune 500.

In addition to his role with Singularity University, Robert has coached entrepreneurs in the Nasdaq Milestone Maker program, helping late-early to mid-stage entrepreneurs grow their businesses to the next level. He has also taught “Facing Challenge, Navigating Change: Leadership and ‘The Hero’s Journey,’” an 8-week course at Stanford University using Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” as a framework to explore mindsets and skillsets for leading yourself and others on a heroic journey in business and in life.

How to Make Your Culture Soar - Culture Summit 2019

Speaking Topics

  • Creating an Exponential Culture

    Most leaders and organizations will struggle in a future that is only becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). Organizational cultures will need to transform, from incremental cultures that abhor change, to exponential cultures that embrace and leverage change to create a more abundant future.

    In this talk, we’ll dive deep into an understanding of what culture really is and how it impacts an organization’s ability to create the future. We’ll look at several examples and case studies of successful culture transformations. And we’ll introduce several models that will clarify the challenges leaders face and provide frameworks for approaching culture more creatively.

  • Creating From the Future

    Whether you’re launching a startup to pursue your Massive Transformative Purpose or disrupting your existing business to go after a moonshot idea, moving from where you are now to the vision you want to create will require you to confront many choices. You’ll have to choose between countless options, bifurcation points where your decisions will either take you closer to your vision or lead you down dead ends.

    Every choice you make puts you in a different relationship to time. Are you being led by the past or the future? Are you reacting to external forces or intentionally shaping the future you envision? You’re always locating yourself along a continuum, with the past tugging at one end and the future pulling you from the other.

    You create your future by making decisions and taking action. But how do you know which actions to take?
    This highly interactive talk is a working session to help you clarify your vision, identify what’s preventing you from achieving it, assess where you are relative to your stance to past and future, and create more possibilities for action than were previously available to you.

  • How to Get Lucky

    Luck plays a huge role in success; here’s how to optimize for it. This talk will cover the skill sets and mindsets for optimizing for serendipity, or “happy chance.” We’ll cover the four kinds of serendipity and how to increase your odds of positive outcomes, whether you’re building your network, looking for more creative solutions to design problems, or looking for clarity when you—or your team—feel lost.

  • Inside Exponential Teams

    What distinguishes the highest performing teams from those that produce mediocre results? Most people think it’s about things like motivation, a meaningful vision, well-defined roles and responsibilities, and rewards and recognition. All of those are necessary, but none of them account for how some teams achieve extraordinary performance.

    This interactive session, ideal for intact teams, introduces a new way of thinking about how teams bond and produce remarkable results.

  • Leader as Guide

    In times of exponential change, leadership is the art of knowing how to journey well together. As a leader, one of the most critical skills is helping others navigate the path to the future you’re creating together.
    This working session is an intensive introduction to an incredibly simple, flexible, and powerful coaching method. You’ll learn how to help anyone create the future with six simple questions, as well as a coaching toolkit that can help someone quickly solve a problem, overcome the inner and outer obstacles that hinder the creation of their vision, and enable them to take action and create momentum.

    If you’re pursuing a bold vision and need to shepherd a team on a transformational journey, this session will give you the tools to journey well together.

  • Selling the Future

    The future is full of possibilities, but it’s also full of uncertainties. It inspires excitement—and dread. How do you weave a vision of the future that can move your organization, your team, your investors, or your customers to compel them to join you? In this highly interactive session, you’ll learn how to craft your content, tune your instrument (your body language and voice), and enhance your presence so you can present your vision with complete confidence.

  • The Leader's Journey

    This interactive session will introduce you to a version of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey,” updated for our exponential times. In a VUCA world, we have to move away from the idea that the leader is a heroic figure and everyone else is a follower.

    As an overview of a new way of thinking about leadership, you’ll learn how to respond to calls to adventure (invitations into new possibilities, some of which you choose and some you can’t refuse), how to gather allies, cross thresholds (those places where you have to face the naysayers and your internal doubts and commit), navigate the road of trials, embrace the boons (or gifts of the journey, which are sometimes disguised as “failure”), and make the return journey so you can create an impact in the world.
    Everyone is the hero of their journey. As a leader, you need to know how to help other people on their journey. Leadership is knowing how to journey well together and the Leader’s Journey provides an indispensable map.

  • What to do When You’re FUC*ED

    You’re no stranger to VUCA—volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity—the military term that describes our increasingly unpredictable world. Although it’s an apt characterization of the environment we live in, it doesn’t capture how challenging it is to navigate the VUCA world.

    If you’re an executive or entrepreneur hellbent on creating a positive impact on a billion people, you’re also no stranger to FUC*ED—fear, uncertainty, confusion, exhaustion, and doubt. Entrepreneurs are more likely to be depressed and suffer from substance abuse than the general population. They say it’s “lonely at the top” and any honest CEO will tell you they grapple with a host of personal as well as professional stresses.
    If you want to transform your organization, this talk will help you prepare yourself for the journey ahead—and prepare you to help others navigate the journey, too.

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