- Case Study -

Uniserve Group

Uniserve Group

The UK’s Leading Independent Logistics and Trade Management Group.

Driven by a relentless determination to deliver value to customers, Uniserve has become synonymous with quality, reliability and innovation, all delivered at the lowest possible cost. This, allied with continuous investment, has allowed Uniserve to grow and become the UK’s largest privately owned logistics and global trade management provider.

Paul Stone,

Human Resources Director

Year Founded

Group Employees

Developing ‘Intrapreneurship’ in the Uniserve Group with the Insights Discovery© model

Uniserve have always had an ethos of continual training and development.  In recognition of the need to ‘raise the bar’ in terms of  Executive  thought leadership and development and to instill a culture of ‘Intrapreneurship’, the Uniserve Group contacted the Supply Chain Academy (SCA).

The programme had to noticeably increase Intrapreneurialism to be deemed successful by the Uniserve Group Board of directors. Entrepreneurs use their imagination and expertise to create business for themselves, assuming all of the risk for all of the reward.  Intrapreneurs however, also use their ingenuity, but with shared risk to create shared reward for their organisation.

After some discussion around Uniserve’s long-term strategy for expansion, the SCA were commissioned to construct and launch the Uniserve Development programme at all levels throughout the organization. The aim was to focus on effective communication, in order to create harmony, understanding,  support and camaraderie while at the same time, creating and maintain an  ‘intrapreneurial’ spirit throughout the organisation. The programme was designed around the Insights Discovery©  personality profiling and personal development model.

The SCA developed  a series of  events and workshops that would effectively enable individuals and teams to develop a broad perspective on the range of behaviors that are required to be truly effective team members and ‘intrapreneurs’. The effect on employee development would be measured through monitoring employee engagement in the programme – i.e. measuring how many times people talked about it, continued to  talk about it, started  to use it and continued to use it when dealing with colleagues, suppliers and clients,  as  true intrapreneurs.


The SCA team had experience of using a number of the commonly used personality profiling systems, none of which had the ‘stickability’ or flexibility in terms of use of the Insights Discovery© model  – a simple system using colours to explain personality types.

As a first step in developing the Uniserve programme, the SCA trialled the Insights Discovery© model with the Group’s Operating board, through personal profiling and a number of personal effectiveness and leadership effectiveness workshops using the model, they agreed we agreed to adopt it and the proposed programme throughout the organization.

The first step was request that all (450 at the time) Uniserve employees complete the Insights Discovery evaluator and then a attend a half day workshop at the Supply Chain Academy, led by the Academy’s in-house Insights Discovery licenced practitioner. The introductory workshops offered an introduction to the model, so that employees could begin to understand their personal profiles and themselves, to begin to appreciate others’ styles and to adapt their communications accordingly.

In order to reinforce the model, all employees, once they had attended a workshop, were issued with a set of coloured bricks, confirming their attitudinal and communication preferences, along with new security badge holders and lanyards, showing their ‘primary’; and secondary’ colours, in order to ensure that an immediate connection could be made to any other individual within the company in terms of their communication style preferences.  This was by far the most effective part of the programme (see below).

Results & Benefits

Paul Stone, Group Human Resources Director explains

“The visibility of individual preferences among employees at all levels, through the lanyards and badge holders,   is a constant reminder of individual communication preferences and has led to more informed verbal and written (including email) communication –  interdepartmental and  team meetings (including Board meetings)  are conducted in a far less adversarial way. 

Many difficult and potentially conflictual situations are resolved with humour – in fact the use of the model has led to a ‘fun’ approach to communication  in  many instances. Individuals are now more aware of their own style and how it affects others if it is overused and are beginning to adapt to meet other’s communications needs.

Teams are now able to discuss clients and suppliers as in terms of their observable preferences, rather than as ‘difficult’ and strategies for more effective communication  with such individuals are constantly being developed as part of a new intrepreneurial approach that the model has inspired.

Managers and teams now tend to talk in terms of the colours that individual members lead with and how they can tap into the least preferred energies. Teams now appreciate the dangers of ignoring the gifts that all members of the team can bring to the table.

Individual strengths and development needs are more visible and individuals are more comfortable bring them to the table. Succession planning has become far easier. The SCA continues its work on the Uniserve Development Programme and the  Insights Discovery model underpins all elements.

All of our new employees attend an introductory workshop and receive their bricks, lanyards and badge holders once they pass their probationary period, as an introduction to the programme. We are seeing real benefits from this continuing programme and the return on investment is much greater than we thought it would ever be.”

The SCA  have also adapted the programme to run sales, team, and leadership effectiveness programmes for Uniserve, using the Insights Discovery© model.

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