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.

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?

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?

Article by Mark Gregory:

As I go about my daily activity I can’t help but notice (as I am sure you can’t) the ever-increasing use of technology as part of our daily routine.

How the human race has gained a new appendage that is morphing into an extension of our anatomy, the mobile device! I was recently working in Ghana and was amazed by the prevalence of this mobile technology in areas of society where my western paradigm would of spent the funds required to operate a device on something more deserving.

The statistics that are flying around with respect to the use of this technology are also staggering. In a 2012 study by PA Consulting they concluded: Every 60 seconds on Facebook there are, 510,000 comments, 293,000 status updates, 136,000 uploaded photos. Out of 6 billion people on the plant, 4.8 billion have access to social media. 4.2 billion own a tooth brush. (not sure how they established this one, but I like it). In total 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month.

So what? I hear you say. Well the point is our use of this technology has become habitual. Morning, noon, night and every five minutes in-between. Which means there is an opportunity here to help people develop and for businesses to understand that development or for those (normally badged as finance) to assess the ROI of such development.

In my simple mind development at its core is about asking people to formulate and be consistent in the application of new habits. ‘I used to operate this way, in the future I am required to operate a new way.’ A new habit requires three elements knowledge (why do?), skill (how to do?) and attitude (want to do?).

This is why organisations like Slimming World and Alcoholics Anonymous are so successful. They do not just offer knowledge and skill but offer attitude by creating a community. The use of technology has over recent times become common place in the learning and development space with online training, webinars, surveys etc. Or in other words the knowledge and skill elements of habit generation. It is however in the attitude space the habitual nature of our technology usage can be really powerful.

For example what if I could offer my boss, my peers or colleagues real time feedback on how they are developing as a leader or conversely I was receiving feedback. What if I was able to receive helpful hints, tips, messages of encouragement or powerful stories of success on my development journey, my colleague’s development journey or my organisations development journey?

(Technically in app world known as “pushings”, when you receive data, adverts etc.). All this 24/7 with a few taps on a smart screen or laptop keyboard. Could I resist the urge to look when the little icon appears? And if I did look could it help me form and maintain the attitude to formulate and sustain new habits. My consistent mirror through dialogue anytime anywhere. I could be part of the community, the in crowd, those in the know and those who are doing it!

Article by Mark Gregory:

Webinar’s have become increasingly popular mediums for training but whenever I have attended a webinar I have left disappointed. I don’t seem to find it as easy to connect to the presenter (or perhaps their style does not suit) and the material never leaves a lasting impression. This is why when looking at online training we wanted to do something a bit different.

Unleash & Engage have teamed up with GLOE (Great Live Online Events) to create the Unleash & Engage Academy. The academy is part of the Unleash & Engage Technologies portfolio and will provide an online training platform for organizations and individuals to learn about employee engagement, lean and leadership techniques the Unleash & Engage way.

But how do our sessions differ from standard webinars?

  • Engagement – As you would expect from us, engagement is at the forefront of training. We ensure there is as much interaction and engagement as much as possible through the live online events. We have breakout rooms, polls, debates, all geared towards
  • Teamwork – Our online events always involve you, a host and a presenter so there are a number of people bouncing off each other with loads of interesting content shared.
  • Focus – All our programs are geared to achieve results and in that we know that watching the program is not enough. As well as participating in the modules, you will also be given activities and homework mid and post program to ensure you keep what you have learnt at the forefront.
  • Review – Once you have completed a session of your program you will have unlimited access to the recording and support material at our academy so you always have a reference point.

So why not join our webinar revolution! You can find out more about the Unleash & Engage Academy here.

Our next open program is ‘The Power of the A3’, watch this space for more details!

It is perhaps not the context that inspired the Beatles classic but in employee engagement, it really is all you need (well sort of)…

Article by Mark Gregory:

I was reading a really interesting and fantastically challenging article on the Forbes website recently. The article was written by a business transformation expert called Ann Latham and was entitled ’10 Reasons Your Employee Engagement Program is Hurting Your Company’. Ann goes on to explain within the article her belief that employee engagement programs are bad for business, a waste of time and drain on money. She makes some interesting and very valid points about employee engagement surveys not delivering success, however, I have to disagree with the principle argument of her article. It is not employee engagement programs that are hurting business as businesses need a framework to move their levels of maturity around this topic, it is BAD employee engagement programs. We would say that, having delivered hugely successful programs.

This is where Lennon and McCartney come in (well sort of)…

As you may or may not know, we have worked with a range of companies over a number of years, from global super brands such as Toyota to incredible medium-sized business like Datum Monitoring. Using our training and wealth of experience, we have been able to develop our own employee engagement process – the LOVE Model. We want people to say I love my job, my work, my company, my boss and I LOVE ME…

We work with the companies to look at each element of the model:

L is for Leadership – We work with you to gain a thorough understanding of the leadership and how it can be engaging. People leave bosses first and organisations second.

O is for Opinion – We look at how valued peoples opinions are and how the organisation effectively hears them. We all have an innate desire to be heard.

V is for Vision – We look at what the journey so far and what future has in store for the company and how involved team members feel in shaping that future. People protect what they build.

E is for Environment – We look at the living values and internal factors that shape engagement. Are we who we say we are?

Our understanding of each individual element comes from a number of areas, including employee engagement survey techniques. However, as Ann Latham points out, this on its own will not power change. The right questions need to be asked to the right people to ensure that we can gain enough true statistical analysis to make key recommendations. We learn and value everyone’s opinion, then use the information to help create a strategy that will shape the cultural foundation of the business.

Employee engagement is an all-inclusive process it has to be and if you want real, lasting results, it has to be done with love in mind.

If you want to know more about our LOVE Model you can contact us here for an informal chat.

Have a comment to make on this article? We would love to hear your views, get in touch via email –info@unleashandengage.com

Article by Mark Gregory:

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to wish me congratulations on our 5-year anniversary of the incorporation Unleash & Engage. It certainly has been a whirlwind journey, from sitting in my dining room wondering what my business future would hold to creating a multimillion-pound business, with a gang of 40 plus consultants, doing some great work with blue-chip companies and fantastic SME’s alike.

As I watched the messages of congratulations come my way recently, I thought some of you may be interested in reading my reflections on the last 5 years, so here they are:

5 Reflections on the Business Transformation Conundrum:

  1. Don’t try and change behaviour in isolation, it never works – belief is the foundation for success.
  2. Once belief exists transformation doesn’t take long, it’s just a matter of changing habits.
  3. Habit change doesn’t take long, but building habits does take intensity and frequency.
  4. Engagement is the route to sustainment – people protect what they build.
  5. Sustainment is the only true route to profit

 

5 Reflections on my Business Journey to date:

  1.  I set out from day one to build a brand people love, not a business. There is a difference and my belief in what I was doing made me make some different choices and decisions.
  2. Cashflow is not ‘King’, it’s the full deck of cards.
  3. People buy people, so just be yourself.
  4. You can’t do good business with bad people, so don’t try. Don’t compromise your beliefs and values just to do business.
  5. There are no rules, business can be whatever you want it to be, it’s your choice

Alex recently presented to a conference of global HR Directors in New York on the Unleash & Engage 5 Key Insights on Change. C-Suite leaders from organisations such as Ford, Honeywell, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, Johnson Controls, Arcelor-Mittal and Georgia Pacific heard Alex talk about Unleash & Engage’s take on productivity and the role of true engagement.

Much of the conversation in the room centered on the paradox that despite the great advances in management science and capital investment, productivity in the US, Europe and Asia has steadily declined over the last 60 years. The biggest opportunity to drive improvement in productivity lies in engaging people, harnessing ideas and giving ownership for performance to the teams who do the work.

Alex shared with the group five key insights from the experience of Unleash & Engage:

  1. Change starts with creating a shared belief through the team: real change is only possible when there is a shared belief that the destination is more attractive than the current position and that there is a shared understanding of the journey. Too often leaders issue instructions that practices and behaviours must change, not realising that as soon as they look away we will all revert to what we have always done.
  2. Once belief exists, transformation is just a matter of changing habits: too often we tell ourselves change takes a long time, and change is very hard to achieve.  It is more effective to focus on simply changing one habit at a time – ‘culture’ is simply a collection of organisational habits.
  3. Habit change does not take long – but building habits takes intensity and frequency – nobody got fit by going to the gym once a month,  your new routine must be performed regularly and with commitment.
  4. Engagement is the route to sustainment – people protect what they build: co-creation truly is the only way to engender commitment. As the saying goes, no involvement – no commitment. If you think involvement takes more time, try disengagement.
  5. Sustainment is the route to profit: whilst top down change can deliver a short term blip in performance, sustainable change requires people wanting to maintain and accelerate improvements they have created.