Every team sets targets for the year: sales numbers to meet or beat, opinions to change, visibility to increase. My business development team at adidas was no different in 2015. But one of our performance targets was radically new…it was fitness.

Why did you do this, you might ask?

“Having experienced it myself, I know how a fitness target can improve your performance and also increase your well-being.”

Especially when you work in an environment that is constantly changing and work pressure is high.

And that’s exactly what my team in Business Development is facing every day – long working hours, pressing deadlines and last-minute deliverables. The first thing that was usually sacrificed was the time for sports. Nothing new here even though we work for a sports company.

Not prepared to give up and accept this as ‘the way it is’, we sat down with the team and tried to figure out how we could make this work.

t's as easy as 1...2...3: Doing sports together has a huge impact on the team's spirit and performance.

Making fitness ‘official’

We quickly realized that we needed to make it more ‘official’ and part of our weekly team agenda, if we did not want to slip back into our old ways.

“The outcome of this new focus had an effect on our team dynamics.”

Everyone shared their fitness achievements with each other, the beginners benefited from the tips of the experienced people, the experienced coached the unexperienced and it boosted our team spirit and performance.
I am almost at the point where I can see if someone was exercising or not during the week – I feel that performance in critical situations is more stable and my team mates were able to remain focused in stressful situations.

How to overcome performance lows

Although everyone was fired up for the whole fitness topic, of course, there were also lows. Let’s face it, at some point you get caught up in your day-to-day struggle again.
But at every team lunch or meeting there was someone still going strong with their own goals, motivating the rest of the team. This is how we got back on track again, being reminded ourselves of how we are all in it together and what you can achieve as a team.

Being part of a team driven by sports helps to overcome individual lows.

How you can make fitness ‘official’ in your team:

  • Add your ‘sports project’ to your weekly meeting updates
  • Schedule regular team runs, workouts or games (football, tennis, basketball…)
  • Determine individual fitness goals – walking 1km a day or running a marathon a week, it doesn’t matter as long as you are committed

Is it time your team found a fitness target?

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