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Unleash & Engage is a global consultancy. We operate across the EMEA region from a UK office and across the USA from our Virginia office.

John Kilner,
Programme Director

I chose Unleash & Engage because I have learnt to have the confidence to just ‘do the right thing’. I fundamentally believe people want to do a good job and be authentic; sometimes having the tricky conversations and following the U&E approach gets the best sustainable results. We get to help more people and that feels great.


John has spent the last 22 years in operations excellence consulting. Prior to this, he spent almost 9 years at Nissan, which included a 2-year secondment to Japan. He has designed, delivered and embedded complex operations excellence transformation programmes in a number of sectors. Based in the North East, he has a BEng (Hons) in Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University.


  • Operations Excellence: John has been instrumental in further developing the Unleash & Engage market-leading Sustainable Operations Excellence (“SOE®”) proposition and delivery capability. With PwC, John was the driving force behind creating the Lean Performance Management System (SOE’s predecessor), delivering capability in a range of key market sectors.
  • Building Operations Leadership Capability: John has successfully used his experience and coaching style, to build operations leadership capability within his clients.
  • Simplifying Complex Transformation Programmes: John uses his experience and knowledge to simplify large and complex people-based transformation programmes, whilst bringing client teams with him.

Do the right thing


  • UK Steel Manufacturer: Leading a business-wide SOE® Transformation in the Coke Ovens, Iron and Burdening, Steel and Slab, Hot Strip Mill and Packaging Mills covering c. 3,000 people embedding a new set of operationally excellent habits and behaviours.
  • Global Investment Bank: Leading a Global SOE® Transformation. Created capacity to deliver 15% headcount reduction, in addition, John built an internal change team for the client.
  • UK Bank: Leading the design and implementation of an Operations Excellence programme within the bank’s service centres. Creating new ‘flag-ship’ ways of working, new leadership behaviours and delivering a 20% capacity improvement.
  • NHS Foundation Trust: Leading the design and implementation of a trust-wide transformation which secured c. £10m benefits through embedding a new set of habits and leadership behaviours. This project won ‘Best Consulting Project – Public Sector in the 2015 Management Consultancies Association Awards.
  • Oil and Gas Exploration and Production: Implementation lead for a multi-million-pound transformation project which delivered a 25% headcount reduction.

Previous career