DFS Leadership & Management Case Study Acceler8

Supporting an Iconic Brand with Management Transformation


Project Lead: Chris

Chris Scott - Consulting Director Acceler8

If you’ve ever purchased furniture, you will be familiar with the name DFS. As an organisation they really value their people and invited Acceler8 to support them with their ‘Manager Designate Programme’.

The Challenge

The programme had been delivered for a number of years and needed a renewal phase. The content of the programme was good but the delivery style benefitted from a robust review and refresh, to focus on engagement and learning transfer.

DFS Leading Virtual Teams Case Study Acceler8

The Journey

DFS is a business that values human relationships. It was important that we reflected that and built on that relationship with their people. We decided at the get-go that we would make sure a consistent team worked on all of the DFS project work and the Manager Designate Programme was no exception.


We set about learning everything we could about DFS. Their tone of voice, their values, their business and their people – we got to know it all. We figured out really quickly that this was helping us have real credibility in the wider business and would mean that participants would be really enthused about attending a workshop.


The subject matter experts retained those elements of the programme and continued to do a brilliant job. At Acceler8 we developed the key people focussed sessions of Coaching for Performance, Engagement, Planning for Success, Interviewing Skills and Presentation Skills.


We re-looked at all the relevant content, made our proposals and got to work. The inspiring learning content was developed alongside some gorgeous creative learning tools that added real value to the learning experience, and allowed us to showcase the importance of quality in our learning approach.


Each of the workshops grew as the programme became more established. We regularly reviewed content, updated the workshops and provided DFS with an agile approach that could fit in with challenging time schedules for each cohort. The most recent delivery of MDP came to a halt in March 2020 as the pandemic struck and face to face to training wasn’t possible. By the summer of that year, we were once again delivering the MDP content in the virtual classroom – surprising participants with how engaging that can still be.


The virtual transformation remained true to the original learning experiences, with some great ideas to transform the activities into something that works brilliantly in the virtual environment. We shortened screen time and shared lots of additional self-learning resources as well. The result? A portfolio of sessions that work brilliantly online without losing any of the integrity of the face to face session.

There have been many changes along the way. Presentation Skills has evolved into a Storytelling session, giving great insight into how to present, how to engage, how to motivate, even how to sell… all with the power of stories.

DFS Manager Designate Programme Participants Case Study Acceler8

The Change

As a result of our work with the Manager Designate programme, DFS now consider Acceler8 as a trusted partner, often described as ‘part of the furniture’ – which we love! We are an extension of their talented People team and work seamlessly with all levels of the organisation.


As a result of Interviewing Skills, we’ve been instrumental in seeing an increase in Glassdoor and Indeed ratings, with employee turnover within the first 12 months falling by more than 20%. The Coaching for Success sessions have resulted in better conversations in store, with managers feeling more confident to manage performance effectively.


We continue to partner with our friends at DFS on a number of projects – they love what we do as much as we love working with them.

Absolutely cracking week with DFS and Acceler8 in Darley Dale.

All started 2 weeks ago with 25 questions with Insights Discovery, what that has produced about me and my working ways has blown me away - the traits I have always shown were brought into the light for me to develop and build upon.

Over at DFS we really are up to something bringing the best facilitators in to turbo charge our growth!

Chris Clark

Branch Manager on the

DFS Manager Designate Programme

Want your people to say similar things about your leadership programmes?