Every leader should be able to answer the question what makes his team or company strong. In my case, the case of the adidas Group, there are many great answers to this question. But there are two factors of strength that stand out:
The first is our towering desire to win. Believe me: you can witness it in pretty much any meeting as well as in any match on one of our headquarters’ courts and pitches. It’s in our DNA.
The second factor is that we have a clear purpose: sport. Everything we do at the adidas Group is rooted in sports. Sport is our very purpose.
“We fully believe that sport has the power to change lives. We all come to work to enable and inspire people to harness this power.”Herbert Hainer
These two factors helped us tremendously when we had to accept in late 2014 that we’d not meet all our financial ambitions which we’d set ourselves in the light of the strategic business plan ‘Route 2015’ five years ago. It never feels good if you don’t reach all the goals that you had set out initially – neither in sport nor in business. But true athletes don’t retire just because they missed the world record. They take a moment to digest the disappointment.
After that, they quickly turn to appreciate reaching their personal best under the given circumstances and assure themselves that all the long hours of training were not in vain. More importantly, they get up, find out what went wrong and work on improving it. They also bethink themselves on their strengths and what went well. Their desire to win makes them strong. And that is exactly what we did.
Creating a plan – Creating the new
We reacted like a true athlete. We worked hard. We adjusted our training and laid the foundation for coming back even stronger than before.
We took all the successes and the learnings from Route 2015 because this plan created a great deal of positive change within the adidas Group already. Now, it will act as a powerful springboard to our 2020 ambition.
“Creating the new” is the headline for our next five-year strategic business plan. Here are a couple of characteristics of the plan that I personally consider especially important (besides its actual content):
- It is a plan that clearly outlines and meets our attitude. “Creating the new” is the attitude that leads us forward. This is a truly brand-led plan because it is our strong global brands that lead our way into the future.
- It is an ambitious plan because we want to accelerate our growth, both on the top and on the bottom line until 2020.
- It is a plan that was developed as a team. The Executive Board took full ownership and many members of our senior management got involved, both on a global and on a local level. So it is not my plan, it is the adidas Group’s strategic business plan.
- It is a plan with clear priorities. As a Group, we have taken three clear strategic choices that we want to focus on: “Speed”, “Cities” and “Open source”. You’ll find more contexts on these strategic choices here.
We are going to execute them in a highly focused manner across the whole organization. We will be the first sports company that invites athletes, consumers and partners to be part of our brand. We will open up so that they can co-create the future together with us. By focusing on key cities, we will gain a halo effect across markets and categories. By increasing our speed to market, we will fulfill consumer demand faster and better than anybody else. It is a plan that evolves towards a clear goal.
All of the plan’s elements will be step-change for brand desirability and brand advocacy – which in turn will enable us to accelerate our top-line growth, win significant market-share across key categories and markets and improve our profitability sustainably.
We trust our strength
We have made major progress in the last five years. We have learnt important lessons – both positive and negative – that we will now apply. We are focused as never before and firmly set on capturing the opportunities which present themselves to us.
“We are ready to accelerate our growth story and we are feeling the desire to win stronger than ever before. This is why we can be super confident about our future.”Herbert Hainer
Let me take the opportunity to wholeheartedly thank the entire team. Our employees are the main reason for my unshakeable confidence in our company’s future. We are all willed to put in what it takes to succeed. We are having it all and what we don’t have, we will earn. Together we’re creating the new.