As we celebrate Earth Day today, I’m happy to have helped make the planet a little bit greener thanks to an enormous initiative I was involved in at the adidas Group. The project I was part of has removed approximately 70 million plastic bags from 14,000 adidas stores across 91 countries! Our Brand Sustainability Team announced this project a year ago, and as part of our Global Sales, Retail & Franchise operation, I was given the task of ensuring a proper communication flow and coordination with our markets, including detailed individual follow-ups to make sure the whole globe was on track to fulfil our vision.
After overcoming the initial shock of being involved in this project, I embraced the challenge and learned some valuable skills on how to approach large-scale projects in a big company.
There’s no such thing as over-communication
Within a global project that affects stores across 91 different countries there is no such thing as over-communication. You have to be aware that the information you provide needs to be cascaded to the right people and often must be translated into local languages. Therefore you need to be as precise, transparent and clear as possible.
“A big company means a lot of stakeholders. Targeting key people who needed to have all the information about the project was key for achieving success.”
The project communication flow can be complex and challenging; therefore it is always good to have a communication plan in place where you outline when to communicate, what and to whom. It’s important to put yourself in the stakeholders’ shoes and try to understand what information they need and at what time in order to fulfil the project target.
Don’t trust silence – you never know what comes next
Every time we thought that we were on track we received a request from a market asking us to help solve an issue – anything from the new bag specifications to supplier sourcing, etc. What is crucial in these situations is to act quickly to make sure that everybody can work towards the deadline. Every market and every country is different in so many ways.
“You need to be flexible, quick, empathetic and solution-oriented to get the required information and decisions to the right people.”
Overall, the journey may have been long and hard – it was a massive effort especially for the markets – but as a result I can say that I am very proud of having been able to contribute to this large-scale project that makes the adidas Group an even more sustainable company. And this is my souvenir! I’ve saved the first paper bag I received from my local store – it will always have a special place in my home to remind me of my exciting and impactful start at the adidas Group.