As we expand our programmes in the Netherlands and add new members to our gang, the new office in Keizersgracht, Amsterdam is the next step forward and will be our base for mainland Europe operations.

If you would like more information or interested in joining our gang, please get in touch.

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, for more information.

Over the course of a year, we worked with UK Building distribution giant Jewson to redesign their organisational system.  Starting with the Executive Team we reshaped their competitive strategy, focusing on a re-defined customer value proposition. 

With this new focus, we worked alongside front line leaders, functional experts and specialists from parent company, St Gobain, to design a comprehensive organisational system to deliver a market-leading customer experience.  This redesign aligned the structure, roles and capability of Jewson People, as well as the business’s policy and procedure, technology and infrastructure and most importantly the front line habits and behaviours; all in purpose of their strategy of customer intimacy.  We also worked with the leadership team to create a governance system through the business enabling them to prioritise key performance indicators that focused leadership attention from the boardroom to the local branches.  Through patiently engaging and involving a large group of colleagues, Jewson were able to pilot this new organisation design in four pilot ‘branch clusters’ allowing the design to be finally iterated in advance of a national roll out to their national local business network. 

Ed Smith, the Jewson Business Development Director, and programme lead said ‘Unleash & Engage have helped us to make clear strategic choices in our business strategy, and have worked with us to reshape our business in support of its delivery.  Their expertise in engagement has helped us reshape their habits, meaning that from large scale issues such as business structure to small but crucial habits such as customer greeting our whole business system is now operating with one purpose’

We are proud to have contributed to 6,000 Jewson colleagues focused on offering a superior experience for their local builder customers. 

“Unleash & Engage really helped us to unleash the potential in our great team.  The approach taken has received fantastic feedback, the teachers feel it’s theirs because it is.  This approach is different to how the archdiocese has previously worked with other consultancies and shall be the approach taken for all future work.

The time we had with Unleash & Engage was highly productive and most importantly we’re confident that the work we did together will be sustained by the considerable number of stakeholders we developed during the process and their belief and trust in the new framework. I would highly recommend Unleash & Engage.”

Tim Warren, Director of Education, Archdiocese of Liverpool Primary School Improvement Trust (ALPSIT).


The brief

The Archdiocese of Liverpool Primary School Improvement Trust (ALPSIT) wanted to support the development of teaching talent throughout their 185 primary schools, to increase teacher retention levels and develop more Head Teachers from within.


The starting point

Every Head Teacher and school worked in isolation, so teachers were being measured & developed very differently across the Archdiocese.

Identifying aspiring Head Teacher’s to take on new positions was difficult across the region with very few applications from within.


What we did

Inspired Head Teachers to join a working group to create a systematic, transparent framework to help develop employees at all levels.

Facilitated the working group to undertake a peer review to refine the framework and encourage contribution.

Supported Head Teachers to launch new Talent Development Framework to 185 primary schools and provide coaching support as the framework is implemented in schools.


The results

The Talent Development Framework is now in place for all Primary Schools in the Archdiocese and the working group are providing support and coaching to other Head Teachers to help them use it well.


The legacy

A way of nurturing talent at all levels is now available across the archdiocese providing a transparent path for all teachers to develop their careers both within a school and across the archdiocese.

Support, performance feedback and coaching are in place through the framework for those aspiring to become Head Teachers within the archdiocese.

Working with Senior Leadership Team for Europe, developed lean knowledge and expertise in support of a major construction programme.

Working collaboratively with ARCADIS we supported the development of their understanding of lean for construction, helping them deliver an approach for the benefit of their and their client’s business.

Our work involved the development of a lean construction framework that helped them both understand the concepts of lean and apply those concepts in support of client tender requirements.




Gibbs & Dandy approached Unleash & Engage founder, Mark Gregory; a leading thinker on Sustainable Operational Excellence and an experienced practitioner of Lean, to speak about Transformational Change in Real Life.

Mark gave a keynote presentation to the Gibbs & Dandy team sharing 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 he brings to life for the audience the Unleash & Engage proven approach to achieving real sustainable change and operational excellence and shows how this approach can be applied in both your work and personal life.  To find out more contact Mark Gregory

So, you can read the book, which we highly recommend, but then once you’ve done that you’ll realise getting a large team of people to follow it is another matter.   Part of our work with Marshall, focused on the delivery of a 7 Habits of Highly Effective People programme across their entire Senior Management team.

We delivered the Franklin Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Programme to the team and gave every individual in the team the knowledge and tools they need to become highly effective in their organisation.

This approach meant that every leader underwent the programme at the same time and helped each other when implementing the changes in behaviours and habits – an enjoyable programme and a great success for the team.



Working with the Management Board on the future sustainment of the F-35 was an exciting project for the Unleash & Engage team.   F-35 is one of the world’s largest defence programmes. Led by the US, with participation from the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey, it is a truly collaborative programme of which BAE Systems plays a key role.

The F-35 programme is aimed at delivering a stealthy, multi-role attack aircraft capable of operating from land and sea to nations across the globe.

Using the Unleash & Engage: Visioning Framework, our work involved leading the BAE team through a vision development process to generate a powerful image of the F-35’s future. This includes our four-stage process; Prepare, Develop, Create and Acquire.


Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment.” Dr Stephen Covey.

Article by Mark Gregory:

Over the years I have been involved in many change programmes both on the receiving end of the change and leading it. When on the receiving end, more often than not, these programmes never quite felt right to me. When leading them I often found it difficult, initially, to convince others of the need for change and the benefits of the change. I also found whilst the change was often understood at an intellectual level, it wasn’t always carried out as intended.

In Approaches to Change – 2, I explored the logic of change versus the emotion of change. I also spoke about the data and the imagery used in change, and the need for the emotional connection. While in my experience these elements all play a key role, they are not the whole answer to the ‘hearts and minds conundrum’. Another major element is the idea you have to be involved in the development of change to emotionally connect.

What Your Reaction Means

As Covey says, ‘no involvement means no commitment’. Have you presented something that you have put time, energy and effort into, which you felt was a solution to a problem, but the audience disagreed? How did you feel when it was challenged? What were your reactions? Were they ones of logic or emotion? My guess is, you had a desire to protect your ideas, quite simply because you built them. In my experience, people protect what they build. Or, put another way, the more involvement the more commitment we find we have (that is of course on the basic assumption the output is aligned with our way of thinking in the first place).

So if we buy into the principle, no involvement, generally means no commitment and people protect what they build, the question is not one of ‘should or should I not involve people?’ but ‘how do I involve people?’

Involving The Right People

Ask yourself the question, ‘why do you not involve people today?’ The answers, I am sure, are many and varied, ranging from, ‘this is not a democracy, we can’t all have a vote on everything’ to ‘we all have a job to do and we are experts, so we decide’. The reality of it is, the level of involvement from other people probably all comes down to time and effort. Does the scale of the change justify the time and effort required to generate the involvement and commitment? Remember the question here is not ‘is the solution or the change the right one?’ but ‘will those responsible for the sustainment of the new order live it as if it were their own?’

Only those charged with the change responsibility will be able to understand the full extent of the involvement opportunities and how they could possibly be weaved into the change journey. There are a few stages to consider:

  • Concept stage: How can I involve people in the conceptual thinking? Top tip, resist the urge to only present the finished ideas, that’s the point!
  • Design stage: How can I involve people in designing the solution? Top tip, involve those most affected by the change.
  • Implementation stage: How can I involve the change receivers? Top tip, the more the merrier, wildfire spreads quicker than an inferno. Leave room for improvement.
  • Sustainment stage: How can I involve people in the refinement of sustainment? Top tip, As exponents of the virtues of a lean philosophy we could not pass the opportunity for a bit of Plan, Do, Check, Act.

The Real Question

Having said all this, it only really comes down to one question – ‘How much effort am I prepared to put into the involvement for the commitment proposition?’ That depends on how much you want the change to be sustained. My experience dictates that – sustainment is a function of involvement.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this article or any of our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – click here to contact us today.

Read more…. click to see the series 1, 2,

Recognise that the world is changing and the future looks very different from the past. What worked in the past may now be obsolete. A new future requires new ideas and perspectives.”

B J Gallagher Hateley

Article by Mark Gregory:

There has been much written on the subject of change and change management. As in the past I have spent large parts of my career trying leading organisations through periods of change, I have read most of them!

Whilst these texts are sound and predicated on research and observation of those organisations that have been successful at change, I often found they did not quite fit my situation and or set of particular circumstances. As a result I found myself, overtime, modifying and developing a metamorphosis of the best of these approaches. The result was a more practical, less abstract view of change. One that I found actually worked, not just for me but those I led.

The first of these change steps I learnt was obvious, simple and just plain common sense. However, as we have probably all heard and said at times common sense is not that common!

One: If you want a different result do some different stuff.

Told you it was simple! It has over the years, however, never ceased to amaze me how many leaders and organisations embark on change programmes but just behave and act in the same way. Sometimes these leaders and organisations even fool themselves into believing they are doing different things by setting up new forums with cross functional teams and giving them a fancy title in a demonstration of difference. They may start to talk about new topics or worse, rebadge the same topic they failed to implement last time. The reality is, however, nothing different actually happens and the same old level of change success is obtained.

Change has to start with change and that means different, a paradigm shift, in as many ways as possible: behaviour, language; communication; speed; clarity of purpose; people etc. Let me give you an example in one organisation I led there was a strong trade union power base and they were led by a group of ten senior representatives. Over the years the way the organisation had interacted with this group had varied slightly but fundamentally the ten always faced off to the organisation as one group. So how did the organisation operate? They too had ten leaders to meet the ten representatives. What was the result? The same position of negotiation and impasse, us against them, adversarial relationship. Yet I heard the organisation and the trade union saying they wanted a different result. So why do the same thing? My response as the new incumbent was to meet the representatives alone. Ten of them, one of me, the result was a paradigm shift that created a different response. Yes it took time, but ultimately it started a chain reaction of events that created a different result. That’s obvious I hear you cry. Well only when you are not in the thick of it and you can be objective. You will often hear me say we only know what we know and that often rings true in change.

So the simple message hear for all those embarking on change is if you want a different result then do some different stuff…..oh and by the way difference is not what you have always done in a different wrapper.

Read more…. click to see the series 2, 3,