David Lloyd Leisure


Case Study: Stairway Consultancy Develops a culture change programme for David Lloyd Leisure


DLL is the UK’s leading Racquets, Health and Fitness Group. It has 89 clubs across the UK and Europe with over 450,000 members. DLL were aware that even though they had communicated clear values in the business, they were not influencing the behaviour needed to engage members and this was supported by the findings from their Customer Satisfaction feedback. There was a 30% gap between target member rating indices and current performance levels and they knew they needed to address issues around communication, partnering and customer responsiveness.

The Requirement

The CEO of DLL, Scott Lloyd, recognised that they needed to align employee engagement, member engagement and bottom line performance. A vision and set of behaviours were developed for the business and a major change programme initiated. The programme started with a 2 day Executive development programme focusing on their impact as leaders and what they needed to do to make their people feel engaged with the business. This was followed by a leadership programme for all 600 managers and a Train the Trainer programme that would enable employees to run workshops for all staff members on how to be their Personal Best for their colleagues and their members. The Stairway Consultancy was appointed to design, deliver and evaluate the leadership development programme. The programme was designed and delivered to all employees within a seven month period.

We used a four stage process of Defining, Engaging, Enabling and Reinforcing

DEFINING  - The Internal Brand

Stairway undertook an extensive brand mapping process which involved a ‘slice’ of the organisation being interviewed in 1 to 1s and focus groups to help identify DLL’s compelling ‘story’ – what does DLL stand for and what sort of behaviours do they need to be exhibiting to bring that story to life? This resulted in a clear Vision, brand proposition and guiding behaviours.

DLL’s Vision is “Giving our Best to help people be their Best – Personal Best” and their brand proposition is “We exist to provide exceptional service and unrivalled facilities that enable our members of all ages to enjoy active, healthy lives”. The behaviours to bring this vision to life are Enthusiastic, Engaging, Expert, Empathic and Enabling.

ENGAGING – Spreading the Word

The Executive Team and later the top 30 leaders in the business were coached to deliver the DLL story to all other 600 managers so that they were able to understand and engage with the story themselves and be in a position to own it, translate it for themselves and deliver it to their people.

The ‘story’ was the rationale for the Leadership and Employee Development Workshops that were to follow.

ENABLING – Personal Best Leadership Workshop Design

Stairway identified as part of the Definition phase that in order to create a leadership team capable of and motivated to deliver the DLL vision and modelling their Personal Best when it came to behaviours, the workshop needed to focus on some skills but also needed to be highly experiential. The leaders received feedback on their performance, behaviour and impact. The workshop focused on the following areas:

• Self awareness
• Leadership style
• Employee and Customer Engagement
• Creating High Performing Teams and Creation of Team Code
• Feedback and Experiential Learning
• Motivation
• Coaching skills
• Commercial awareness

The Executive Team experienced the workshop first so that they could create a Personal Development Plan for themselves and identify the DLL behaviours they needed to work most in order to be seen as a great role model. They also created a Team Code for each of their own teams to take back and discuss with their people.

The Executive Team were then responsible for holding pre-workshop briefings with all of their managers to help them consider their objectives for their workshop.

Between November 2012 and December 2012, all 600 managers attended their Personal Best Leadership Workshop and created a Personal Development Plan that would allow them to operate at their Personal Best and also allow their teams to operate at their Personal Best.

ENABLING – Personal Best Train the Trainer

During the Definition Phase, the Stairway Consultancy recommended that DLL take responsibility for engaging the entire workforce with the DLL ‘story’ and behavioural change through one day workshops facilitated by internal facilitators.

The internal facilitators came from all over the organisation including Holland and Belgium – some self selected as a result of their experience on the PB Leadership workshop and some were selected based on their skills and positivity about the brand.

The 40 internal facilitators embarked on a 3 week Train the Trainer.

Week one focused on giving them facilitation skills, and becoming familiar with the one day Personal Best workshop that the Stairway Consultancy designed.

Week two they were given a week to practice, practice, practice on their own so that they were in a position to present back the sessions without any notes!

Week three they divided into small support and challenge groups and presented back every session to each other for 4 days. They were given coaching and feedback from the Stairway facilitators and their colleagues to enable them to reach their Personal Best as facilitators.

On the final day of the TTT, 6 volunteer facilitators ran a dress rehearsal of the PB workshop and received feedback from their colleagues.

ENABLING – Personal Best Workshop

Two weeks later the Personal Best Workshop went ‘live’. Eight workshops in 4 different locations in the UK and Europe, ran each week for 2 months. At each workshop, 5 to 6 facilitators worked with between 50 and 60 delegates a day to give them a PB experience.

The workshop content focused on:

  • The importance of the Brand and in particular the DLL Brand messag
  •  The DLL 5 Behaviours - Enthusiastic, Engaging, Expert, Empathic and Enabling and how best to model those for our colleagues and members
  • Case Study analysis and Customer Mapping – internal and external customers and how best to influence them
  • The Personal Investment Model – behaviours that drive positive attitude and energy
  •  Action Planning to drive their Personal Best

The day was introduced, closed and managed by a DLL internal host who opened the day with the business rationale for the workshop, managed the flow of the day and closed it with a high energy activity to remind participants of their role in modelling the DLL behaviours for their colleagues and members.

REINFORCING – Integrating Personal Best into the HR Processes

The HR department have been working with the Stairway Consultancy to align their HR processes with the PB behaviours.

The Recruitment and Selection, Induction, and the Performance Appraisal processes have started using the 5 DLL behaviours either as a means of selection and performance management. DLL are no longer just looking for their current employees or future employees to be capable of the task and role but they also need to be capable of modelling the DLL 5 Behaviours with a positive attitude and high energy in order to engage their colleagues and members.

Coaching has become an important part of the development process for DLL. The Operational Executive team have embraced coaching themselves and are spending more time coaching their teams on ‘How’ they achieve their Personal Best rather than ‘What’ they have to do.

The intention is to use the 5 Es as a way of measuring managers’ behaviours through a 360 degree Feedback process and to measure the success of the workshop through the existing Customer Satisfaction feedback process and their Employee Opinion survey.


For more information about how The Stairway Consultancy can help your organisation to develop its leadership capability, contact info@thestairway.co.uk or call 01628 526535.


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"Over the years The Stairway Consultancy has become a key partner to our business. Their services have proved an invaluable tool in taking individuals forward in their careers and thus developing the organisation. Their approach to working in partnership has certainly helped us to achieve our objectives, and we value the contribution Stairway makes to the business. I always look forward to working with their professional, open and warm consultants, and would highly recommend The Stairway Consultancy to any business that is seeking to grow, inspire and develop their teams."

Learning and Development Business Partner
- Southern Housing Group
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