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David Cottrell

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Best-selling author, speaker and award-winning leadership expert teaching managers how to lead more effectively

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About David

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Keynote speaker David Cottrell is a committed presenter and leader. He is the one who teaches Managers, Directors, Team Leaders and Supervisors – anyone who leads people - how to lead more effectively. David Cottrell knows what is expected from leaders and transmits his messages in a convincing and inspiring way.

 “Leadership is about influence. It exists throughout the organization –not just in executives, managers and supervisors.”


Leadership Expert
Speaker and author David Cottrell has created a legacy of leadership excellence. During his three decades of leadership experience in corporate America, David lived the obstacles, frustrations and issues today’s leaders face. The best-selling business author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books, David has been a featured expert on television and has shared his leadership philosophy and lessons with more than half a million managers and leaders worldwide. He is currently President & CEO of CornerStone Leadership Institute, one of the nation’s largest publishers of management and leadership resources.

 Unprecedented Awards
David has walked in leaders’ shoes. David started his career as one of the youngest sales managers in the history of Xerox Corporation. After a decade with Xerox, David joined FedEx where he was elected multiple times to the President’s Club. To this day, David is the only person to have been chosen District Manager of the Year for two consecutive years. In sales and executive management positions with FedEx and Xerox and the successful turnaround of a Chapter 11 company, David created a legacy of leadership excellence. David’s tremendous leadership achievements were the result of his deep belief that he could expect the best from people by investing in them. His wisdom and sincerity come from one who has “been there.” David’s depth of knowledge and experience make for content-rich learning experiences that few other speakers can match.

Cornerstone Leadership Institute
David now puts his proven leadership skills into practice at CornerStone Leadership Institute. CornerStone’s mission is to provide affordable people-development tools to anyone aspiring to be a leader in their field. Their reach has extended globally to more than 15,000 businesses, associations, government agencies and educational institutions.

Professional Speaker, Trainer and Facilitator
A speaker, trainer and facilitator for many of today’s most successful organizations, the impact of David’s presentations is immediate and long-lasting. His leadership philosophy and lessons have become the guiding force for some of the top companies in existence today. Laced with energy, humor and audience engagement, his presentations provide practical tips that attendees can use in their everyday lives. Past clients include Walmart, Southwest Airlines, ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Yum! Brands, ClubCorp, Cigna Healthcare, Duke Energy, Land’s End, Aflac, Raytheon and the Social Security Administration. These groups will tell you that David changed not only their perspectives, their energy levels and their attitudes, but he changed their lives.

Best-Selling Author                               
With more than three million copies of his books in print, David is most well-known for authoring the ground-breaking, best-selling books Monday Morning LeadershipMonday Morning MentoringTuesday Morning Coaching, and LeaderShift: Making Leadership Everyone’s Business. His books have been adopted by organizations in numerous countries as trusted leadership training tools. In addition to a wealth of information on leadership, his book and presentation topics include: success principles; coaching; accountability; communication; sales; customer service; presentation skills; and time management.

See keynotes with David Cottrell

    Keynote by Speaker David Cottrell

    Monday Morning Leadership- 10 Principles to Becoming a Great Leader

    What would be the impact on your organization and your business if every one of your leaders spent dedicated time with a mentor? Now they can. In this program based on his best-selling book, Monday Morning Mentoring and Monday Morning Leadership, David delivers up to 10 key success principles that equip leaders to confront and overcome their daily “people” challenges.

    Keynote by Speaker David Cottrell

    Leadershift –  Making Leadership Everyone’s Business

    The model for leadership has shifted. For sustained leadership success in any organization, every employee must lead right where they are right now. It is not impossible, Pollyanna or wishful thinking. It is essential. In this program, you will learn how to use a successful leadership philosophy: LeaderShift. You will discover how you can create a purpose-driven, leader-supported and employee-led culture … right now. LeaderShift provides a solid foundation for conducting business in a new way—one that aligns the organization around a common set of principles. In this interactive keynote, you will learn that success as a leader can come down to practicing six shifts. Shifts that will help create an atmosphere where any team can prosper.


    Keynote by Speaker David Cottrell

    Make the Choice: Go From Everyday to Extraordinary – Learn to Make the Right Decisions to Achieve Great Success

    Why does success seem to come easily to some and not to others? Success is ultimately realized by those who make more right choices and quickly recover from their wrong choices. Based on the book Monday Morning Choices, this program creates a foundation for organizational and personal success… how to achieve it, how to keep it and how to enjoy it by consistently making better choices. David Cottrell has spent much of his career seeking answers to what separates the successful from those who fail to reach their level of success. His findings incorporate 12 choices that lead to success.


    Keynote by Speaker David Cottrell

    The First Two Rules of Leadership – Don’t Be Stupid. Don’t Be A Jerk.

    Don’t Be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk are the two greatest rules for leaders to achieve extraordinary results with class. Based on his latest book, David Cottrell’s keynote is direct and simple: think your decisions through and take care of your team. It is grounded on solid principles that apply to businesses in every industry. If you are searching for a speaker who will provide your team with tried and proven techniques that improve employee morale, decrease turnover, improve results plus help them have a whole lot more fun leading, this is for you.


Interview with David Cottrell

Can you provide three practical leadership tips for everyday life?

In a nutshell, positive leadership is the result of creating a positive environment which influences people toward a common goal.

Leadership is an evolving state that must adjust quickly and with precision when the marketplace dictates a change.  So, one of the most important aspects of leadership is to drive positive change throughout the organization. That is probably the biggest challenge most people face … leaving a comfortable situation and venturing into the unknown. I think leading positive change begins long before the change is identified, analyzed, and a strategy for making the change has been created. Here are three practical leadership traits that are a common denominator for great leaders. Without any of these three, your leadership role will be temporary.

Integrity – Have you earned trust? Integrity is the master switch that controls every part of leadership. It doesn’t matter what you say to people if they don’t trust you. It doesn’t matter how committed, optimistic, skilled or courageous you are if people do not believe you. Without integrity, you eventually will be alone; everyone will flee from you. Your integrity check — constantly asking yourself, “Am I consistent in my words and action?”— is required for long-term success. Guard your integrity like it’s your most prized possession, because that’s exactly what it is.

Organization – Prioritizing priorities can be overwhelming at times. Many things come at you from different directions, making it difficult to separate the important from the trivial. It is like playing a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole. As soon as you knock one “crisis” down, another pops up. However, a common denominator of successful leaders is being extremely organized. They create time for their family, enjoy hobbies that help them reboot, regularly kindle their spiritual fire and live life to the fullest.

They are uncluttering experts. They know the people they want to be and prioritize their lives to become those people. Your ability to navigate through priorities in the right order is key to successful leadership. Conflicting priorities will create chaos in your team. You have to learn to identify and focus upon keeping your main thing the main thing: The overriding priority toward which all of your team’s energy and attention should be directed at that moment.

Communicator – I have observed that most people do not quit their jobs; they quit work relationships. For example, a relationship at work sours due to miscommunication, unclear expectations, or a misunderstanding. People become disappointed in the person they work for, so they go somewhere else to try another relationship. Most of the time, communication is not the problem. People are being communicated to from multiple sources every hour of every day.

Connecting is the problem. There are six communication needs of everyone on your team: What is really important, How am I doing, Does anyone care, How is our team doing, What difference do we make, and Is my leader worth following. If you do not answer all of those questions, assumptions will be made that will lead your team to a place you do not want to go.

You say, in order to be successful, leaders need to create positive energy at work. What is the best way to do that?

The best way to create positive energy at work is for you to bring positive energy to work. People follow people. People follow you. I am not sure exactly where I heard the sentence “Something can be done, and there is something I can do.” for the first time. Whoever shared it with me gave me a wonderful gift; it has been a source of comfort and strength throughout my life.

Something can be done — whatever hole you are in is not permanent — something can be done right now. And, there is something you can do; you get to make the next move. Not everything that happens to you is going to be great; you don’t live in a Pollyanna world. But, you can react to whatever happens to you in a positive, optimistic manner.

Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?

I have been a public speaker for over 20 years. During that time, I have probably seen about everything that could happen. I have learned that my best friend at every event is the audio visual expert who finds a way to fix almost everything. I love to speak to large audiences, but one of my favorite experiences was speaking to a small group at Stratford Upon Avon where Shakespeare was born and raised. The historical significance of that venue is among the highlights of my career.

What do you personally gain from being a public speaker?

At every event, I learn more than the people in my audience. It is amazing to discover that everyone has a story and almost everyone I meet is doing what they can to help others along their journey. Ideas for content of future books are generated by listening to issues faced by people at every event.

How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

I love humor and know that it is good for the soul and my audience. However, I am not a standup comedian. I tell stories that contain humor but more importantly the stories are interwoven learning points. My goal is to have each participant relate to the story, remember it, and take action. The most important element is to take action … do something different to become better at their chosen profession.

See keynotes with David Cottrell
Non-binding request for David Cottrell

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Keynote topics with David Cottrell