Are you always striving to advance yourself? Are you trying so eagerly to become a better manager that you find it tough to find inspiration for how to bring your game to the next level? Well, stop reading, because this article isn’t a ground-breaking revelation either. However, do read on if you agree that it helps to look at things from a fresh angle. This story gives a different perspective on options for how to advance your personal pursuit of being your better self – by looking at the work of an adidas team that definitely knows a lot about smart training.
To reach the top of your game in sport requires discipline and relentless focus on the long-term goal, with motivation and commitment as requisites. These foundational characteristics create the environment for success in sport and are no different to the ones required in business. With this synergy in mind, we spent some time with the people behind miCoach to see if there are some learnings from the sports coaching world that can translate to our business life.
The adidas miCoach team is headed up by Simon Drabble, Director of Product Creation, Digital Sports. The miCoach ecosystem provides athletes on all levels with knowledge and guidance on how to train smarter – through professional training plans, performance tracking and real-time coaching.
1. Splitting up your goals will allow for winning rituals
Let’s start with a no-brainer: clear goals are the basis for success. You want to know what you are doing ‘it’ for (whatever ‘it’ is). People still tend to lose track of their goals when the hectic pace of daily life takes over.
“Step One’ for miCoach users is to define what success looks like. But we also realized that knowing the big, ultimate goal might not always be enough. This is why, in August, we introduced a feature to the miCoach app that enables users to define weekly goals that build up on one another until the bigger objective is achieved.”Simon Drabble, Director of Product Creation, Digital Sports at adidas
One of adidas’ key partners, the internationally recognized fitness guru Mark Verstegen, explains the rationale behind this approach:
“Setting weekly goals initiates a change in mindset that results in much more successful personal training. Who we are and how we perform are a direct reflection on our existing habits, so much so that 90% of our daily actions run from our subconscious. Creating weekly goals allows you to create winning rituals, which become new habits in weeks. In training terms, you are behaviorally upgrading your operating system and this builds your confidence and courage to be relentless in finding ways to continually upgrade yourself and your performance in the direction of your goals.”Mark Verstegen, President and Founder, EXOS (formerly Athletes' Performance/Core Performance)
There’s no reason why this success factor in sports shouldn’t hold true for our business game, too.
2. Spending time on assessing yourself will save you time
It’s still very unlikely that two people with the same objective will be successful if they pursue it in the exact same way – because they are different, they live in different environments and they have made different experiences. According to Simon, ‘Step 2’ in the miCoach framework is to help athletes to assess themselves.
We all can do the exact same thing in business: assess ourselves. That means identifying our strengths and weaknesses by being honest to ourselves. Only then should we decide on our very own game plan.
3. Gathering feedback helps as long as it doesn’t obscure your goals
After helping athletes to define their objective(s) and to assess themselves, miCoach will create an individual training plan. On our journey to advance ourselves, we should follow this model and decide which goals to focus on first and how we plan to achieve them. Just like athletes, we could get ourselves some support, too, and ask a trusted colleague or even the boss: “Do you want to be miCoach?” (pun intended…). Getting someone’s honest feedback will help to reflect on how we are doing and if our plan needs adjustment.
In business terms that could mean asking trusted co-workers for immediate feedback instead of waiting with it until we don’t remember the specific situation anymore.
However, the miCoach example shows why you shouldn’t overdo it with feedback, either.
The solution Simon’s team came up with for miCoach Running: ‘FIT SMART’ (available in stores since August 2014). Just like SMART RUN, FIT SMART is designed to support runners throughout their workout routine to get fit in a faster, more efficient way. But FIT SMART does it in a way that’s optimized for the special needs of beginners: it offers only the features they really need – nothing more.
miCoach FIT SMART
miCoach SMART RUN
So, apparently gathering too much feedback can become contra-productive. We need to therefore understand that we can’t improve everything at once, we have to choose our battles one by one.
Bonus thought: you shouldn’t train as hard as you can but as hard as you should
“For many people, miCoach has a motivational effect, too. There is someone telling them not to slow down, to go harder. But what’s even more important from my point of view: it also will tell you when to slow down and when to take a break. You shouldn’t train as hard as you can but as hard as you should.”Simon Drabble, Director of Product Creation, Digital Sports at adidas
Inspired by that thought, we found out that it is common practice among some top managers to increase their efficiency by reserving at least five minutes in-between meetings to free their minds for a new topic. They don’t work during these five minutes and try not to think about anything work related. Some even meditate or concentrate on their breathing. Let’s think about what routine works best for us individually.
Okay, enough food for thought for now. Let’s take a coffee break, think about our goals and which strengths we can build on best to bring our game to the next level. Because success is a journey, not a destination.
If you still feel you haven’t consumed enough content on self-development, check out this article which describes how the adidas Group helps its employees to train and develop.