Creative Leadership

Upping Your Elvis is a Creative Leadership capability company. We help businesses change by giving people the creativity, energy and flexibility to improve everything around them every day.

Matt Bolton-Alarcón

Matt Bolton-Alarcón

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Matt Bolton-Alarcón

 +44 7736 635 930

Matt Bolton-Alarcón

Matt Bolton-Alarcón left school and became a banker. Although he enjoyed solving customers problems he couldn’t get on with the itchy polyester suits. He therefore made an about turn and headed off to work in media for EMAP working his way up from creative writer and producer to marketing director. It was here that he learned that keeping creative and fresh whilst answering clients briefs day in day out is both a challenging and damn fun pursuit. In this time Matt worked with clients such as Amstel, ASDA and O2 and was part of a leadership team that successfully turned round one of EMAP’s oldest brands from loss to profit making in 3 years.

In 2006 Matt realised that he loved generating energy in people and pulling out their creative potential and so joined both Jim and Chris in the innovation capability team at ?What If! Matt has designed and delivered large scale capability programmes for the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Boots, Google and Abbott Pharmaceuticals.

Matt has a talent for spotting the hidden potential in individuals as well as helping businesses to get focused on what they really want. He uses humour and empathy to connect with people whether it is in small group sessions or large scale events.

Matt is a keen guitar player and singer having played to audiences of up to 70,000. He lives in Camden Town, London but loves nothing better than heading off into the countryside in his campervan and hanging out with his wife Delia and dog Taco!

“I’ve had the pleasure to work with Matt on numerous occasions over a number of years. Matt has a real passion & talent for developing Innovation capability and his ‘wit and wisdom’ are sought after and valued by all he comes into contact with. Personally speaking, I’ve not met anyone more genuine in their desire & commitment to help you get the best results.”

Chris Baréz-Brown

Chris Baréz-Brown

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Chris Baréz-Brown

 +44 7973 736337

Chris Baréz-Brown

Chris Baréz-Brown has a rather unusual view of the world in that he knows that everybody is perfect.

As we grow and develop and socialise we can lose touch with that brilliance and often become somebody we’re not. Chris specialises in helping people reconnect with their inner genius and once again become confident in being who they truly are. Although that may seem rather hippy to some, his results produce tangible returns on investment for companies such as Unilever, Coca-Cola, Nike, Roche, Diageo and WPP, who come back time and again for his unique and energetic approach to transforming their people and their businesses.

He combines an eclectic professional background including time in the army, brand management, innovation and leadership development, with his fascination for people and the more esoteric practices of Reiki, meditation, shamanism, hypnotherapy and cider drinking. All of which make his take on work refreshing, simple and inspiring.

Chris has written three bestselling books;- ‘How to have kick ass ideas’ is published by HarperCollins. ‘Shine. How to survive and thrive at work’, and ‘Free. Love your work, love your life’ are both published by Penguin.

He runs workshops from his home in Lyme Regis which have become a thing of legend amongst those who have taken part, not least for the fabulous Dorset cooking, the 35-year-old Land Rover and his rather affable cocker spaniel, Sparky. Chris is determined to inject more humanity back into business which is why he founded Upping Your Elvis in 2009, and as he does what he loves and what he is great at, has never been a happier bunny.

Jim Lusty

Jim Lusty

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Jim Lusty

 +44 7976 432220

Jim Lusty

Jim Lusty’s career began with 8 years in sales and marketing driving successful above and below the line campaigns for Diageo and Coors.

A new millennium presented a fresh opportunity in the shape of building the innovation Capability offering at ?What If! from scratch. During his time here Jim led and developed a highly successful team of creativity practitioners, delivering ambitious and effectual systemic change programmes for the likes of Sky, Google, Disney, Pfizer, L'Oreal and Tesco. Jim has also presented at hundreds of conferences and events worldwide making him a seasoned, popular and adaptable keynote speaker. His success stems from his larger than life personality and his natural ability to energise and engage those who connect with him both personally and professionally.

Jim relishes the challenge of working with individuals and organisations to help them realise their true potential. He makes it simple and fun, creating positive working experiences and achieving maximum impact. Behind his playful approach is a man with a track record for challenging and growing multi million pound businesses and consulting to board level, helping them to accomplish and embed innovative cultures.

England provides many of Jim’s passions, including its rugby team, its beer, its coastline and its fascinating history. A fresher man is hard to find.

“I have worked with Jim on and off for the last decade on a number of high profile projects. He has an acute eye for detail, a strong awareness for the needs of others and a fast mind. He balances both the strategic and emotional demands of people incredibly well and he does all this with a big smile on his face…which is always contagious”

"Jim was amazing, really inspirational, fun and entertaining. I learnt lots and look forward to more."

To develop a culture of creative leadership
we look at your population in 3 distinct groups.


Who need to set direction and create the right conditions.

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Who drive key projects, create impact and coach the rest of the business on how to inject creativity into their work.

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The rest of the people need to understand how they need to show up, get creative and learn some simple approaches.

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Chapter of "FREE"

 Please update me with news from Elvis

FREE! Love Your Work, Love Your Life.

Life and work are intrinsically linked. If we want to live an extraordinary life, we have to make our work equally extraordinary.

When your work resonates with purpose, you jump out of bed every morning, excited by the possibilities the day holds for you. Everything else in your life seems to have a glow about it, and you exude much more personal shine. This book is designed to help you feel like that every day. To help you make your work work for you. To feel truly free.

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From the blog » Read all blog posts

  • 10 Tips to Becoming a Doer

    May 26, 2015

    Untold time and money is invested in trying to work out what makes a great creative leader. What is their secret? What strategies paved their way to success? At Upping Your Elvis we have spent thousands of hours working with…

  • ‘Do Wales’ Lectures 2015 – Inspiring Speakers in an Inspiring Space

    May 13, 2015

    Neither conference nor festival, the Do Lectures will take place this year from Thursday 4th June until Sunday 7th June on the edge of West Wales and Chris has been invited along to speak. The event is held on an…

  • Come and join ‘The Little Workshop of Calm’ on 10th June

    April 29, 2015

    We hear more and more about the importance of Mindfulness. Being self aware is not only good for our mental and physical health, it is good for those around us. A recent headline in The Guardian read ‘Mindfulness as effective as…

  • Infographic – Why Creative Leaders are More Effective

    April 21, 2015

    At Upping Your Elvis we know that Creative Leaders are more effective leaders. They are able to create environments which are not only more stimulating for their teams but also happier places to be. They have a workforce who are…

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How to get focused via @PsychologiesMag. Little Workshop of Calm, W1T 6AQ, 10 June, 9:30am to 1pm.

Big Upping our client love.

Impact on other people... That is what Upping your Elvis does.



John Van Vleck: “They have actually liberated me. They have brought me out of, kind of an old way of  thinking, and old way of being and helped me realize my creative potential, helped me realize my voice to express that creative potential and help me understand how do I go about landing ideas, how I go about creativity, how I go about impacting other people. That is what Upping Your Elvis has done for me.”

Coca-Cola logo



Fru Hazlitt, Managing Director, Commercial and Online; Simon Daglish, Group Commercial Director; Kelly Williams, Commercial Director; Chris Goldson, Creative Sales Director; Ross Faulkner, Creative Sales Director; Kim Gilroy, Account Director

Fru Hazlitt: Obviously, I would like to say that all the transformations that we’ve achieved in Commercial Online Interactive, is entirely due to me, but of course that would be complete bollocks. And, actually, a lot of the motivation, the ideas, and just the kind of support to transform the Commercial Team has come from this funny little company, called “Upping Your Elvis.”

Simon Daglish: Elvis has now become a term in our business, by which I mean that, the general attitude of the business is quite different, and we can see that all around us. So, we’ve done some very, very substantial pitches recently, which we weren’t expect to in, and we have done, and I think that’s on the back of the tools, and the experiences, and the learnings we have taken from Elvis.

Fru Hazlitt: Just the name did it for me. And, just the explanations to why they’re called that does it all for me.

Ross Faulkner: The biggest impact is having other people in the organization that you share the same ambitions, and you share the same goals with, and also having an understanding of what each other’s trying to do for the business.

Fru Hazlitt: When you’re trying to put a lot of people who are resisting change, don’t like change, or think they don’t like change, because they’ve had it, you know, it has to be an experience that – very quickly engages them, and very quickly makes it enjoyable. And, Jim and Chris do that in spades, and they seem like fantastic top blokes who really get it, and are prepared, most importantly of all, to make you believe they’re in the ring with you, and they make you feel like, you know, that they’re in the trenches too. And, they understand what it’s like to, you know, be in the trenches, and then have to get out and go over the top, and you know, and fight all the way.

Kelly Williams: The first thing I saw was a kind of team of people who were a bit lacking in confidence, and a little bit beaten over the last couple of years, and a little bit cynical, suddenly come alive, and get what we wanted them to do.

Chris Goldson: There’s such a big impact for people when they come back from the course, particularly the week away. You can feel that they’ve been on something different, they actually feel very changed, and it’s as they know something that other people don’t. And, the challenge again for the business really, is about how people take that as a responsibility, and share that with others, and make that part of their everyday life.

Fru Hazlitt They really make sure that those leaders, managers, people who’ve got to keep this going, because a critical thing trying to do something with a company like Upping Your Elvis, it’s all very well, but if you don’t walk it every day, you know, in front of people, demonstrating what it is that you mean by transforming the way you do business, and the way we operate, then it’s hopeless. And, what the guys at Upping Your Elvis do, is to really follow up with all the managers, and make sure that everybody is really leading by example, and they do regularly.

Kim Gilroy: Elvis just gets you thinking in a different kind of way.

Ross Faulkner: The time you spend with the people you work with every day is different to any time I’ve ever spent with those people ever before.

I guess the main thing you expect from Elvis is just, “Pow!”

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Synergy Sponsorship

Synergy Sponsorship

Upping Your Elvis, was appointed to provide Synergy, the sports sponsorship specialist and part of the Engine group, with a full capability programme. This involved a company-wide event, a 5 day ‘creative champions’ programme and leadership/champion coaching.
Synergy has a 30-year history of breakthrough innovation for its clients, but it wanted to take its work to a new level.
Here folk from Synergy and Elvis talk about the process they went through and the impact this work has had including success in Synergy’s very next pitch for Aviva.


Chris Barez-Brown: So, Tim came to us because he’d heard of the work we’ve done with some of his clients. He’d heard that we’ve got more creativity, more fun, more energy happening everyday, and he said: “I’d like some of that.”
So when we got together, there was great chemistry; we knew from the off, that this was going to work.
Tim Crow: We are a sponsorship agency who work mostly in sports, for some of the world’s greatest brands.
What we stand for, is innovation. But we wanted to do, was make innovation something that we lived and breathed; that became part of the fiber of our being and our everyday business. That’s why we turned to Upping Your Elvis.
Matt Bolton-Alarcon: The synergy program is a classic for us. We started off with their leaders, help them understand what their role was in fostering more of a creative culture. We then got the entire business in one room, where we gave them the big principles for creative leadership; and then we got their nine selected champions, and took them on our crown jewels, our mastery program.
Chris Barez-Brown: When people show up on the first day, you’ve got no idea how they’re going to get to their endpoint, because they all go through their own personal journey. But everyone threw themselves into it and everyone experimented and tried things out they wouldn’t ordinarily do. So by the time they left, they were way more confident about who they were, how they created the right conditions to bring out the creative genius of others, and how to make sure that they focus on the stuff that really counted.
Jim Lusty: So our approach is very human, it’s for everyone. We focus much more on the being than the doing, and what I mean by that is, giving people the skills and the techniques to bring out the right behaviours and energy, instead of loads of structure and process.
Tim Crow: When we invested in this program, with Upping Your Elvis, I didn’t expect there to be instant results, but actually there were in two ways. The first is when the guys came back from the mastery course, you could see how energized they were, and actually that this had been a life-changing experience.
Ben Wilkinson: So Upping Your Elvis was really inspiring to me. It helped me connect with myself, and then it helped me think about how to bring the energy back to create great creative, inspirational sessions.
Adam Shapland: To get chosen to go on a course was absolutely fantastic, and a real privilege. To get a week away out the office, in that sort of environment; it was just fantastic.
Carsten Thode: We noticed a couple things. The first thing, really, is how we really hunted down ideas; really got to the bottom of the idea, rather than leaving thoughts out there.
Ben Wilkinson: And something that made a massive difference to us, was the course didn’t end when we got off the train back from Lyme Regis, it actually continued, and the Upping Your Elvis guys came in and helped coach us through some of the early briefs to make sure we were fine-tuning it to our needs, and working with it in a way that operated for us, because it is a toolkit, it’s something that can work for any individual; but it’s how you apply it that’s the secret.
Tim Crow: But also, when they came back, we had a big job on, which was the opportunity to pitch for Aviva’s rugby and football sponsorship business.
Adam Shapland: When we came back from being away, we all came flying through the door and ready to shake things up, and we had to.
Ben Wilkinson: And we had about 20 briefs going on, but the big one for us, was Aviva. The whole business got right behind the work, we brought back the learnings from Upping Your Elvis, we applied it straight away. People working day and night, and we really had to go big and bold to win that pitch. And what we learned from the course, helped us to do that, and lo and behold, we won.
Adam Shapland: And I think now, three months on, we’re the strongest we’ve ever been.

Synergy Sponsorship logo

  • The guys are exceptionally good at what they do. I was making a list of the most influential people or things in my career and this was in the top 3.

    Chris Binns, Managing Partner MediaCom
  • Working with Elvis is like Rehab. I am energised and excited by that. I know who I am and what’s great about that.

    Dean Watson, Director, Roche
  • Chris Baréz-Brown’s presentation style sparkled and inspired our team to think differently. His unique and powerful insights have the ability to transform any organization.

    Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee
  • A lot of the motivation ideas and support to transform the commercial team has come from Upping Your Elvis.

    Fru Hazlitt, Managing Director, Commercial and Online, ITV
  • It’s not the instrument that makes the music, it’s the player. So much emphasis in the world of innovation and creativity is placed on process, tools and techniques. Chris fully understands it’s the people who make the magic not the structure. Chris is a master at bringing out the creative spark in people to turn dust into something that matters, so that in the words of John Lennon, “We all shine on.”

    John Van Vleck, Global Director, Insights, Ideas and Creativity The Coca-Cola Company
  • The session was very well received. Your suggestions were referenced many times over the rest of the meeting. Your approach is a fresh of breath air in helping my team consider different approaches to work with each other and with a very diverse stakeholder group.

    Peter Yribar, Global Head Product Development Quality at Genentech
  • In a rapidly changing world what differentiates successful companies from average ones is IDEAS. ELVIS unleashes the creative power of people in my team who are enabled to provide creative leadership to help others translate insights into big ideas.

    Stan Sthanunathan, Consumer & Market Insights, Unilever