I have been with adidas for almost 17 years now and have worked in Marketing and Sales in several markets and headquarters. Through various positions and locations I learned that moving out of my comfort zone was a great way to explore different fields of work and gain new business skills.
Take a risk and experience the unknown
It all started when I decided to move out of my personal comfort zone to explore the opportunities available in this company. I originally went from Sales and Key Account Management in Australia to Product Marketing. In doing so, I was exposed to another part of the business which allowed me to develop different skills. After this, I took the opportunity to move from Melbourne to Herzogenaurach to become the European Category Merchandising Manager for the Running and Training Business Units. It gave me the chance to work at our headquarters and cross-functionally with senior managers across the organisation. And by working on a big business in an area that was previously unknown to me, it really stretched my capacity and taught me a lot.
If you have never done it before, then why not give it a go?
I’ve learned a lot in every position. One key learning is that each time I tried a new role that was in an area I was not experienced in, the skills and abilities I had learned and developed previously served me well in any setting when I trusted my instincts, asked the right questions and had strong support. I learned from doing, from trying, from succeeding, from failing. There are great tools provided by the company and great people (managers, peers and your direct reports) to learn from. But you have to be proactive. You have to ask for it. And I have found it helps your boss when you identify for yourself what you need to develop and grow.
There are many great opportunities for growth and learning when you keep an open mind
Recently, I was very fortunate to take up the role as Managing Director for adidas in India. Moving away from friends and family to the other side of the world 13 years ago is probably one of the boldest things I ever did in my career. It taught me that sometimes reward comes with sacrifice. That taking chances when they come along is important. There are many great opportunities for growth and learning when you keep an open mind and you look for them. Different locations around the world offer an opportunity to learn and to work with different people and in different cultures.
People come from different backgrounds and have differing perspectives. Although these cultural differences are important and not to be underestimated, there are some things that unite us all. Our passion for sport and for winning is two of these things – especially if you work at a great company like adidas.
Whether it’s Rugby in Australia, Football in Europe, Baseball in Japan or Cricket in India, people have great passion for sport no matter where in the world you are. I feel very fortunate to be a part of that every day and to have experienced that over the years with great people and in many different places.
SO WHY NOT GO FOR IT?
Try new things. Extend yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Be open to new ideas, surroundings, people and ways of doing things. When you fall over, get up and keep moving forward. Take what you do seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. Love what you do. And never settle for second place!