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.

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.

As Aristotle said: ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit.’ The highest performing companies are those that thoughtfully design their organisation so that the sum of its parts all contribute to building and reinforcing those habits.

Alex Lewis from Unleash & Engage describes their approach to designing ‘organisational systems’ to transform business performance.

Download the full whitepaper here…

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. 

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.




A leading speaker on Sustainable Operational Excellence, Mark Gregory presented to the Warburtons Annual Leadership Lunch & Awards Ceremony on Leadership & Engagement.  Sharing practical approaches to leadership for employee engagement.  Focusing on Difference, Logic & Emotion and Involvement.

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 your work and personal life.  To find out more contact Mark Gregory


Unleash & Engage developed and delivered a front-line leadership programme focused on practical techniques to create relationships and develop solutions to support day to day business activity at Datum.

The programme focused on strengths and current team dysfunctions working closely with the DATUM team we established a sustainable basis for team cohesion and a strategy delivery support network.

Article by Mark Gregory:

So engage the employee and it makes a difference to your customer which makes a difference to your profit. Not rocket science I hear you say! Agreed. So why don’t you do it then or worse why do you pretend you do it?

A service culture at its heart must be an engaging culture; a culture whereby every internal customer must be engaged as a whole person. This means equipping our people managers and leaders to think and behave differently and use the lean tools as customer service tools. When I help organisations embed a lean philosophy my advice is generally to think of the lean tools as an engagement vehicle and the improvement interventions as an opportunity to engender greater levels of employee engagement first and improve the business secondly. When we do this we obtain more of the whole person. The more we tap the whole person, the individual, the more engagement we obtain. Back to the Sears proposition.

So what about employee engagement mapping instead of value stream mapping or visual engagement instead of visual factory or leader prevention training instead of accident prevention training. I also often hear those who work in the field of lean philosophy talk about empowering the staff. Just imagine how easy that would be if we focus on the person before the process.

For those of you that are still not quite there and are thinking, “that’s not the real world the answer is simple, if you are not careful the internal customer is only doing what you want on the outside and my experience suggests what’s on the inside eventually appears on the outside. I am not saying this is easy as those who have tried leadership and engagement will tell you it is relentless and unforgiving, but we should be familiar with this as that’s what customer loyalty is like.

As Alan Jones, Chairman Emeritus of Toyota UK said, “Wherever you work, your job as a manager is to make your people the very best they can be – and usually they don’t know just how good they could be. It’s individuals that make the difference. For Toyota, this approach is not based on altruism – though it is based on a profound respect for its members. It is predicated on the firm belief that the most valuable asset the company has is its people, and that enabling them to have an intellectual and emotional relationship with their work, as well as a financial stake in the success of the company, is the key to continuous product and productivity improvement from the shop floor to the boardroom. Toyota’s people are their competitive advantage.”

So who is the real customer really?

Click here to read part 1..

By why, I don’t mean profit, that’s the result. By why, I mean what’s your purpose why are you doing what you do?” Simon Sinek

Article by Mark Gregory:

Over the years I have been involved in many change programmes both on the receiving end of the change or leading it. When on the receiving end more often than not these programmes never quite felt right to me.

Whilst I often understood the change at an intellectual level, the logic, often presented as some output or result benefit, cost, safety, quality, delivery etc. I found the organisations involved would fire immense amounts of detail at me; facts, figures, numbers and the customer feedback all offering me the compelling case for change. I would attend briefing after briefing were these figures would be explained and justified and re-justified. I would listen to other members of staff’s frustrations overflow in the form of some debate around what was being presented which would send the leaders into a further spiral of data and number justification. Which in turn would leave the majority of the audience talking about why this would never work.

What I observed through these experiences was that on the whole people got the numbers, they got the logic and they understood the business or economic reasons, but inside they held some emotion about the presented change that they could not quite release.

My conclusion was organisations spent a disproportionate amount of time explaining the logic and relatively no time on managing the emotion around the presentation of the logic. In the worst of these experiences they completely ignored it! Leadership just closed down and any dialogue became a one-way communication channel justified by some floored logic around consultation rules. Trust me, never a good place to be.

So when leading such activities I worked really hard to allow people to feel the change as well as intellectualise it. In my view there is never one solution to this issue but you have to focus on holding the balance of logic v emotion. A few useful principles I hold dear to help in this conundrum:

  • Take time to Understand: It is not about you or your organisation but the people within it. More often and not such programmes become about the organisational needs and the people just simply get lost. Stephen R. Covey said “Seek to understand before being understood.” This is definitely the case hear, organisations just don’t spend time seeking to understand. So think hard about this principle and how to do.
  • Leaders get lost too: Not sure about anyone else but for me to engage others I have to be engaged myself. This becomes even more critical in times of change. Leaders have emotion too and very often their emotion around change is just ignored as they stop becoming real people in the eyes of an organisation and become the logic communication vehicle. So think hard about how to manage the leader’s emotion.
  • Emotion is from a different place to logic: Emotion is about that part of our brain that visualises, it is about present and future, where imagination rules. Look at the mechanisms that connect with us here. Pictures of the future, feeling based forums and discussions, consider alternative conversational methodologies application based technologies. The focus here, think hard about creating powerful images of the future, so people can see the change.

In part one I spoke about if you want a different result then do some different stuff. My experience tells me organisations who focus on both logic and emotion are doing some different stuff.

Read more…. click to see the series 1, 3, 4

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!