We’re delighted that we’ve been shortlisted as finalists in the ‘People’ category of the prestigious Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Awards 2021.

These awards recognise transformational work undertaken in the consultancy sector and to be competing in this category against consultancies such as PwC, Deloitte, Atkins, Curzon Consulting and Gobeyond Partners is a considerable achievement, and we are rightly very proud.

Our entry tells the story of implementing SOE® with Tata Steel Strip UK in Port Talbot. This programme has resulted in significantly increased employee engagement through better leadership interaction and creating operationally excellent habits that have ultimately contributed to a change of culture in the organisation; everyone feels happier. To read our full entry please click here

To have reached this stage is a testament to all our gang members’ hard work and commitment and it recognises the impact of the work we do, unleashing the potential in everyone.

Winners will be announced in November, so we’ve got our fingers crossed!

We’re pleased to announce that we’re now members of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA).

The MCA is the voice of the consulting industry and the representative body for the UK’s leading management consulting firms.  Engaging in public debate with businesses and government on topical issues, championing the positive force of consulting in the UK. Members are required to meet stringent criteria and are periodically audited to ensure high standards are maintained.


Greig Walker, Director of Unleash & Engage commented

We’re delighted to join the MCA. We care about how the consulting industry develops and the legacy we leave with the businesses we support to achieve sustainable operational excellence and with the gang of talented coaches we work with to deliver large scale business transformations. How U&E and other leading consultancy firms lead, innovate and behave, overtime changes and improves not only how consultancy is delivered, but how it is received by senior leadership teams and frontline workers, building greater trust in the industry and profession. The MCA is undoubtedly part of this journey of growth.”


Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the MCA, added:

“We are glad to welcome Unleash & Engage to the MCA membership which is expanding significantly this year. In challenging times like these, it is positive to see firms join the association and drive forward our shared values. We look forward to introducing them to the wider membership to support them in their business development and growth.”

To find out more about the MCA click here

Being part of a high performing team feels good: you know the expectations; you know the status and you know that you are growing. Results flow.

All of the 12 steps described over the past blog posts are not revolutionary. In fact, much of what I have described is well known, so why don’t more businesses do it? Often because they are investing so much time and money in the next great technological leap that will leave their competitors in the dust….

Sustainable Operational Excellence is not a bet on technology, it is complimentary to any technology, and you may even find that the technology being considered is not necessary. You may find that the leap forward is delivered by the team you have right in front of you.

If you want to truly engage your team and begin reaping the benefits of increased productivity, give me a call today, what have you got to lose?

Step 7. Problem Solving: Increasing performance every day.

As creating standards (step 5) becomes habitual, you will find that problem solving accelerates.

There are hundreds of problem-solving philosophies, techniques and training courses out there. Just try to understand the cause, concern and countermeasure. Let the team tackle their problems.

Solving problems lets you get to the positive side of the ‘performance curve’: check with the team each day about how they feel by showing everyone where they are on the performance curve (this is a curve that plots performance against pressure).

Problems generate pressure, so the more you solve, the happier the team. When the team knows that someone is feeling bad, they will try to help, and soon you will have the team relieving the pressure and being engaged in the well-being of each other. So productivity & engagement can only increase.

If you are ready to increase productivity & engagement within your team, speak to Ian from Unleash & Engage today about this 12-step process and the impact it can have on your business.


Step 8. Standard Calendar: Making time, every day, for the things that really matter.

Habits: if you have a Daily Stand Up Meeting, daily process confirmation and problem-solving set the time in your calendar. Respect that you and your team do this.

If you build a rhythm, a drumbeat of the business, you will find that your management will respect this and do the same. The frequency of conflicting meetings and expectations will reduce because you are generating predictability: the team will appreciate this.

If you reflect on the steps described over the last 8 posts, you’ll see that we are generating productivity by removing the negative unpredictability from our daily work. We are creating a safe working environment where expectations are being clarified and it’s OK for team members to ask for help. We’ll provide more on this theme in the next post.

Let’s get building the drumbeat of your business.


Step 9. Workload Levelling: Let’s be fair.

Individuals cannot work at their best if they are not given the right amount of work. Remember the performance curve? Too little or too much work generates stress.

Let’s think about, and make visible, the team workload. Distributing the work fairly and evenly.

We must understand where demand genuinely exceeds capacity. Your team will thank you for this, and you will be able to dive straight into step 10, skills and versatility.

So, if you want the best results in terms of productivity and profitability you have to do workload levelling; it’s only fair. 


Step 10. Skills & Versatility: Developing a well-balanced team.

When you have clear expectations (standards, step 5) and you provide support to maintain these standards (process confirmation, step 6) it’s much easier for everyone to see the skills needed within the team.

Points of vulnerability and strength can be seen, and the team can support each other to develop. Problems can be reduced during vacations, absence and when people leave. A widely skilled team further supports Workload Levelling (step 9) and reduces stress points in the group.

Developing your well-balanced team means that it is becoming a great place to work. 


Step 11. Habits & Reinforcement: Building the team culture

The culture of an organization cannot be described in words: it is the collection of the habits of that organisation. Coaches of even the best performers have to continually ensure that they maintain and strengthen the essential habits of the team members.

Think of your own personal habits: in many cases they define you. You do things without thinking about what you’re doing: they are easy to follow and hard to break.

You have created the basis of the habits that are healthy for the team, so now you must maintain and strengthen them. The leader of the team must now focus on being the coach, maintaining the desirable and engaging culture.

When teams work with Unleash & Engage steps 1 through 10 not only show them how to do this but we’ve created time for this most important activity. 

Step 12. Sustainment Planning: Maintaining the productivity

In our experience, steps 1 through 11 will generate at least a 20% increase in productivity (usually more). In many cases, organisations will get outside help to assist with the changes. If the changes are still novelties, or not understood by the team, they will quickly be dropped, and the previous habits will re-emerge.

At Unleash & Engage, we plan from the outset to ensure our clients build their own transformation so that they defend it long after we are gone. Before we can leave, we need to help the leaders of the teams have a plan to maintain the great new habits they have created.

The results will already be good, so let’s plan to maintain and further improve them, maintaining the intensity and frequency.  This is after all what most businesses want, not just change but sustainable change and leaders who can coach teams and continue to develop long after we’re gone.

Unlike other consultants we only consider a project a success if it’s continuing to deliver results for clients for a long time afterwards, this sets us apart, contact Ian from Unleash & Engage on iandavies@unleashandengage.com to find out more about our client’s successes.

Step 1. Foundations for Success: Learning to be proactive.

By understanding the habits, you have and why they exist, you’ll understand that changing these habits will create huge opportunities. We must think about the neuroscience associated with how we build habits and how we get them to stick.

This is also an opportunity to challenge ourselves to establish the beliefs that we have and understand the trust behaviours that generate high engagement.

At the beginning of any transformation program we have to be realistic and appreciate the team will be thinking ‘Here we go again, is this change really going to stick?’ So, it’s essential to show how the full 12 steps to SOE look; through simulations, you can help people see how things might work and generate the belief that things will improve significantly.

So, people believe that changing habits takes a long time BUT the truth is it doesn’t, all it requires is intensity and frequency and this is what Unleash and Engage do really well. 

Step 2. Creating the Vision: How do you want to feel?

What is your purpose? What are you trying to achieve?

What do you want to have? What do you want to lose? What do you want to keep as a result of this transformation?

This can be brutal, but once a belief is established the destination is more attractive than the current position you are in. Creating a sense of purpose for everyday activities.

The vision is not a set of words that you put in reception. It’s a clearly articulated vision (not just with words) of how the future will look and FEEL!

As I said, achieving this can be brutal.

Be honest with yourself, ‘Is your vision alive?’ and more importantly, can everybody articulate it, do they really believe in it and work on it everyday? 

Step 3. Daily Stand Up Meetings: Talking about the important stuff every day

It may seem like we have jumped from 30,000 feet to being in the weeds, but this is not the case. After you have set the vision, you know what good looks like.

There are only 3 types of work: things we can control, things we can influence and things out of our control. So why not focus on the first two, making our performance clear and our problems visible and permanently fixing them

The team can design the visibility and the agenda of the meetings: they will build it.

The result is a team with the basis for self-accountability and performance. 

Step 4. Visual Management: How are we doing?

An essential part of sustaining Step 3 (Daily Stand Up Meetings) is Visual Management which gives the framework to make problems and exceptions visible.

Your Daily Stand Up Meetings may be difficult and hard to manage to begin with, but they will drive clarification of what is important and therefore should be visible and monitored. The U&E coaches do Visual Management differently to other consultants and this is the foundation for creating a high-performance environment and delivering sustainable improvement.

Find out more about the visual management techniques we are using with clients every day, simple things that make a big difference. 

Step 5. Standards: Making the implicit explicit.

When you think about it, you can’t really tell someone they have done something wrong unless you already have an explicit agreement about what is right!

If you’re getting into the habit of your Daily Stand Up Meeting, using Visual Management, you can have a conversation when you find problems or exceptions about ‘what should have happened?’

In my experience, in office-based roles, a lack of standards can be one of the biggest sources of frustration: people invest time and effort to create something that is subsequently criticized or not used because it did not meet the intangible expectations of a Manager somewhere in the business. Engagement comes when you know exactly what is expected and you can achieve it.

How do your standards stack up? Our team coach you, helping you to develop your standards and as they develop you get better and better. 

Step 6. Process Confirmation: Spend time with the team

Confirming that the standards (from step 5) are being followed is an opportunity for leaders to spend time with the team and to coach them. In order to develop people, you have to share your skills with your team: what better way to do this than to support the priorities of the day.

When handled correctly Process Confirmation is supportive, reduces pressure and helps people feel even more engaged.

Do you often wish you spent more time with your team developing their skills, improving efficiencies and communication? Give yourself (and your team) this opportunity with the support of the Unleash & Engage team, get in touch with Ian, iandavies@unleashandengage.com for more information.

Here’s my answer:

‘We help people to change their habits: Unleash & Engage helps people understand why they behave the way they do, helping them to see what the future could look like, coaching them to create new habits, and then working alongside them to embed these habits, instilling the desire to continually improve the habits incrementally day on day.’

The results are sustainable because if people design and implement the changes themselves, they will sustain the changes: ‘People Protect What They Build’.  That is what real engagement looks like!

Those changes then manifest themselves in vastly increased productivity (by whatever measure you choose to use) and increase in engagement.

We Unleash the Engagement!

Sounds easy? Changing habits requires intensity and frequency but habits can be changed quickly.  We typically expect to see results in just six weeks.

Many organisations are grappling with significant decisions about technology direction or investment in plant and equipment in order to improve their productivity. Before going down this route, they should carefully consider if they really are providing their employees with the framework to be truly engaged and as productive as they can be.

Unleash & Engage have developed a proven 12 step process which enables organisations to achieve Sustainable Operational Excellence and massive productivity and engagement improvements in just 12 weeks. Read my ‘SOE in 12 Steps Series’ on our blog to learn more.

Being involved in the expansion of Unleash & Engage into the United States is the realization of a long-held dream. As CEO, North America, it is an honor and a privilege to be working in a country that holds strong to the belief that anything is possible. And, as a native Brit, I am proud to have called this country my home for the past 10 years.

The culmination of my many years of experience as a senior manager across many sectors of global automotive OEM’s has fully prepared me for this exciting adventure. Importantly, this experience means that I have “walked in your shoes” and know first-hand the types of challenges faced by today’s business leaders.

For our future clients, the timing of our expansion presents significant opportunity. In the industrial sector, whilst unemployment is at a 50-year low, vehicle sales (a perennial indicator of a buoyant economy) are experiencing a significant downturn after years of continued growth. Similar trends can be seen across all sectors from manufacturing to the service industry. This “productivity gap” means business leaders face difficult decisions about how best to direct investment to protect future growth, improve competitive edge and manage risk.

At Unleash & Engage, we believe the true route to achieving sustained operational excellence is through great employee engagement, organizational development and lean sustainment. Our approach is different because it is predicated on the belief that sustained change comes as a result of that change being designed and built by those who participate in the new way of working. In other words, people protect what they build.

I look forward to collaborating with our future clients here in the US and can’t wait to see the tangible and sustainable results we can achieve by working together. It is not uncommon for our clients to reap a minimum of $3 reward for every $1 they spend with Unleash & Engage, and whilst many consultants promise change, how many actually deliver?

There is no magic wand or quick fix for Operational Excellence, nor can somebody else put in the hard miles for you and hand you it on a plate.  What we have managed to do at Unleash & Engage is distil the very essence of Operational Excellence, built a 12-week deployment model around this, followed by a three-month sustainment phase where the new habits are embedded as being ‘the way we do things around here’

12 Steps to Achieving Sustainable Operational Excellence.

Our Sustainable Operational Excellence model consists of 12 steps in 12 weeks and is guaranteed to deliver a 20% productivity improvement. 

The main benefit we see when we work with teams is that the level of engagement goes through the roof when people are unleashed from the box that the organisation has put them in (whether intentionally or not).  This is the most satisfying part of our work and the reason why we do what we do.

Once we reach the targets that we agree at the outset, we don’t stop making progress. In our most recent engagement with a large multinational company, we achieved more than double our target levels of improvement – measured during weeks 8 – 12 of the engagement.  One of the client team members said “I’ve been involved in LEAN projects and other improvement stuff, but this is the first time I’ve seen something that’s truly transformational.  What we’ve achieved in such a short amount of time is amazing”.

Our approach contains a number of simple tools, which when combined with leadership coaching, and deployed in just the right way, produces really amazing results.  We have made it successful in project teams, transactional functions, finance teams, sales teams, white collar, blue collar, distributed teams and design teams.

None of the steps are scary and taken in isolation, they can even appear trivial. However, when built together, with the involvement of the team, and the time and commitment from the front-line Manager, the results can be truly staggering. Find out more cContact Unleash & Engage.

A leading thinker and practitioner of Lean, DW Support Services approached Unleash & Engage founder; Mark Gregory to speak about Transformational Change in Real Life.

Mark provided a pre-dinner motivational speech giving practical insights on leading transformational change.  Focusing on Difference, Logic & Emotion, Involvement, Engaging & Communicating, creating new sustainable habits and dealing with loneliness.

When Mark talks about transformational change it doesn’t follow the usual leadership textbook but instead the Unleash & Engage proven approach to achieving real sustainable change and operational excellence and how this approach can be applied in real life.  To find out more contact Mark Gregory.




Ever since Toyota made great strides in business performance using their ‘Lean’ approach the manufacturing industry has been trying to work out more about ‘Lean’ and how to capitalise on this approach.

Founder of Unleash & Engage Mark Gregory developed his early career at Toyota where he undertook their renown ‘Lean’ programme in Japan. Now a leading authority on ‘Lean’, Mark works closely with large organisations to help them understand Lean and achieve sustainable operational excellence.

Speaking at the Lean European Manufacturing Conference, Mark’s ‘Lean Engagement’ keynote presentation dispelled the common myths about ‘Lean’ providing powerful insights into ‘Lean’ as an employee engagement philosophy.  Giving clear examples of the work Unleash & Engage do using ‘Lean’ philosophy to help large complex organisations achieve true engagement and how this is a key enabler to sustainable operational excellence.

When Mark talks about ‘Lean’ it’s always a great success.  If you want to know more about ‘Lean Engagement’ and what this means in relation to Sustainable Operational Excellence, then please contact Mark Gregory