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Build a high performance culture


Gilly King, Head of Human Resources, Manchester City Football Club

“With new owners and an ambitious vision the Club was looking to redefine itself both on and off the pitch. The objective was to develop City from a traditionally run football club to a high performing organisation that could develop its people to the highest of knowledge and standards, and also compete for the best talent in all fields of business.

We had to work from foundation level, and having worked with Lift in the past I knew the way they got close to the culture of an organisation to best prepare and develop any programme. City is a community club and it is essential that the ethos and values are maintained in any changes made throughout the Club.

It was this understanding that endeared Lift to everyone at all levels of the Club.  They were considered as partners and built a trust with all employees that became the building blocks of success in City’s journey of development and growth.

From building the foundations of development, leadership capability and the development of ‘City Spirit’, Lift have been with us all the way. The staff at Manchester City Football Club say ‘Thank you!’  ”


We designed a three-stage approach:

Build a strong foundation

Develop strategic leadership capability to lift performance

Identify the ‘DNA’ of the Club’s success (‘City Spirit’)

In year 1, we worked with the Executive Team to help them define talent & plan for success; then put in place a structured programme for new & experienced managers. We designed a straightforward Personal Development Review process and helped build Recruitment & Interviewing skills.

In year 2 we designed & delivered several Leadership Development and Coaching programmes for Executive & Senior leaders, as well as sessions across the Club to spark innovation & improve cross-functional teamwork. We also designed Personal Leadership & Customer Focus programmes for frontline employees, which increased professionalism and service levels throughout.

In year 3 we assessed the core City behaviours & attitudes that lead to success, based on what the Club’s high performing employees already do. We created a simple, straightforward & very well-received framework that focused on what high performance looks like and how everyone in the organisation could get there, whatever their role. People can now speak about what is acceptable at City, and what is not.

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