Going beyond – the power of integration. This was the motto of this year’s Diversity Day at our headquarters in Herzogenaurach. It was the 5th Diversity Event and the 4th time I have organized this event – but the first time I was on stage and not behind the scenes. So it also was my very own personal going beyond!
Through speeches, discussions, workshops and info booths the event gives everyone the chance to enrich themselves, network and get inspired.
One of my personal highlight was our inspiring keynote speaker, author and mountaineer expert Helga Hengge. She captured the audience’s full attention when she took us to the highest place on earth where the earth touches heaven – to Mount Everest.
How to climb Mount Everest
Helga raised the question why so many teams fail in their attempt to climb Mount Everest. Interestingly enough, avalanches, winter storms, ice, etc. are not the main reason for failure. It’s because the people fail to deal with difficulties and challenges on the mountain which are very similar to those they also face in everyday life:
- picking yourself up after severe setbacks and getting back on track
- keeping your focus on the goal in spite of all the side steps and firefighting on the way
- …and most importantly, the need to keep up team spirit in times of difficulty.
One of my key sentences out of Helga’s presentation was that respect is something you have to earn step by step because it never comes for free.
Sometimes we get to our limits. But if we want to reach a goal as a team, we have to be ready to fight and not waste time discussing who in the team carries the ‘heaviest bag’. To reach the goal, our differences are important because a diverse team makes the strength and success of a team.
Diversity & Inclusion is a heart and passion topic for me and with all the volunteers this year I really have seen that a big step has been taken to reach the goal of getting more inclusion in our diverse work environment. It was great to see people engaged in deep discussions around how to make the adidas Group an even more diverse and inclusive place to work. We had many participants confirm that they took away new impulses and ideas and that they felt empowered to make a difference and go beyond.
The key learning is and was as always that I have to start with myself by showing that I want to make the difference. So let’s leverage our teams’ diversity.