The ideas that inspired Denis Oakley Strategy Consulting came from my experience in startups and running sales and marketing teams.
The business world has changed massively since I left university in the early 90’s. Software enables us to do so much more – faster – cheaper – more effectively – more efficiently – but it has not boosted business productivity.
When we go back 150 years we see the same with the introduction of the steam engine. It takes 50’s years for economies to be transformed. The same with the telegram and the telephone. And again with electricity.
What I do at Denis Oakley Strategy Consulting is to work out how we can use process, systems and technology to massively boost the effectiveness of businesses. How can we get the ‘monkey work’ out of every job and make work a more rewarding, fun and profitable place
I use machine learning, artificial intelligence, process automation, a deep understanding of business processes and human psychology to help business make radical changes in response to the business environment or in an attempt to change it.
My customers come from many sectors – they range from small startups working out how to get a functioning marketing and sales process together, to growth companies needing that additional help to scale, enterprises looking to cut costs and businesses that need to change radically after their industry is disrupted.
When I was at school there was a block of Shropshire sandstone embedded into one of the walls. On it was inscribed
Some people see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not?”
One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star
These two thoughts have driven me through a varied career where I have continually sought to find new and better ways of doing things.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Was a phrase that echoed and reverberated through many of my early working years. I frustrated managers with my insistence that there was always a better way or something different to try.
I have an MBA from Warwick Business School and a degree in Philosophy. I’ve studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at degree level and and Systems Engineering at masters level. I’ve spilt my blood in startups and my sweat endurance racing (The Everest Marathon is a favourite – hence the background picture).
Above all I read voraciously, I steal ideas and I experiment. I use what works, measure and repeat. And this creates massive positive change for my customers.
Denis Oakley’s Background
I went to Shrewsbury School, an English boarding school where I struggled with authority and conformity. My escape came from climbing in the Welsh mountains and reading vast amounts of science fiction. On leaving I got a place to study Chemical Engineering at Bristol University. On my Gap year I worked for the British government developing military strategy and then in a hospital in Jerusalem looking after handicapped children. When i got to university I switched to a philosophy degree. I was passionately interested in the history of ideas. I didn’t entirely appreciate analytic philosophy and spent much of one summer trying to translate Summae Theologiae from the Latin.
This passion for trying to understand things led me to RailTrack where I reorganised their engineering records and then to a role as a designer of safety critical railway systems. These were in many ways the logic systems of my university days applying to very concrete real world problems. With more experience I ended up spending a lot of time in Brussels and London working on the technical aspects of EU Directives and determining how to implement them in the UK.
I then developed anti-fraud and business continuity systems for power utilities before striking out as an entrepreneur. Founding Oakley Steel with Senay Oakley led me to Malaysia where we set up a steel trading business specialising in heavy steel plate. After a few years I focused on additional ventures, including Beyond Transition. This was a triathlon focused startup and one of my many learning experiences. In the process of trying to understand my successes and failures I started giving advice to other entrepreneurs.
This lead to the formation of Denis Oakley Strategy Consulting. This has focused on my three key areas – strategy, marketing and growth, and operational improvement.
How I can Help Your Business
My value comes from
- Seeing things differently and finding opportunities for change, growth and success
- Looking for ways to disrupt your competitors and the industry you compete in
- Finding paths to optimise and improve your processes to do things faster
I start the process of change in your business helping you to find new ways forward. As it starts I design new processes and systems and remodel the old to get things done faster.
Above all I do it with a sense of humility, fun and above all passion for your business and your success.
Why Chose Me?
Many people think I’m the smartest person in the room. I am not convinced by that. I have a diverse range of interests and a passion for tools that help me see the world clearer. I use these continuously – in my personal and my professional life. They make a profound difference to my customers, friends and colleagues.
When you work with me I start looking at your company, your vision and your problems through many different lenses. I distill who you are and what you want to be down into its pure essence. Then I help you reassemble the pieces into elegant strategies that transform.
What People Have Said about Me and My Work
Denis is sensitive to not just the commercial logic of a business but also the passion that underpins/supports these.
He shows this in the interest he has for not only for your business idea(s) but also what drives them & where they came from.
As a result, he helped me fine tune our business model with a strategic approach that balances my passion for a sense of community & service to it with a need for sustainable profitability and commercialism.’
Denis has been a tremendous help!
He’s extremely knowledgeable across key areas of building a business, which allowed him to see, explain and guide me through a “glass ceiling” the business was coming up against.
I didn’t have the experience to fully understand the problem beforehand, but Denis helped clarify it to me and provided actionable steps to gather data and analyse it. To help me make the best decision with the full information.
Thank you very much Denis, I really appreciate your time and expertise with this.
Denis has the unique ability to quickly give you not only a succinct strategy but the right one. He’s not only passionate about helping start-ups he is generous in giving both his time and knowledge. Would highly recommend to anyone needing strategy advice and actionable ideas that work.
Denis cuts through confusion and identifies significant issues. His input is practical and always useful. I consider him an invaluable part of my team.
Denis took over management of Oakley Steel in 2012. He made a lot of changes to the business and these improved our performance in almost every respect. More leads meant more sales. Better focus meant more sales and lower costs. Process improvements cut time, wastage and errors. The productivity gains were immense.
He’s really good to work with because he’s hugely optimistic, has loads of energy and his passion for whatever he’s doing shines through. Amazing!
Denis is an archetypal ‘out of the box’ thinker – in fact he is never in the box. Give him a tried and tested way of doing things that everyone uses, and he will come up with something new – and better! Ask him a question, and he will start by telling you the question you really should have asked. His energy is seemingly limitless, but he doesn’t waste it and is ruthlessly focused on what he is really trying to achieve. I would recommend Denis to anyone as a trustworthy, hardworking and inspirational business partner.
Philippa Tebby, Director, Grant Thornton
Denis was able to motivate a diverse group of people to create a business resilience plan for a large complex division. This was despite a great deal of change taking place at the same time. He is a broad thinker and strong on initiative to drive results.
Stephen Beck, CFO, FIM Services
I was expecting him to give a more general help in our first conversation, but after viewing our business canvas, and asking a few questions to clarify some parts, his advice and help was spot on, 100% custom made for us. I took a lot out of our hour long conversation, and implemented some things immediately, and I could already see a huge difference in how people perceived us, and interacted with our brand. I appreciate his time and he’s a wonderful mentor.
Rotimi Ore, CEO Chanic