With the fast-paced, achievement-oriented lives we live, we tend to forget that our performance builds as much on mental stability, productive collaboration and theoretical knowledge as it does on practical skills. The recent lockdown has forced many of us to pause and inwardly reflect.

The curfew revealed one question: Is trying to maintain our usual pace really setting us on the right path for sustainable personal growth?

Over the past weeks, I learned from our Retail teams: What really enhances personal growth and professional development is slowing down and taking time to learn, to stay connected with your team, as well as to strengthen inner well-being.

When the coronavirus spread throughout Russia, all adidas retail stores were closed for several weeks. From one day to the other, our 6,500 store employees in Russia were unable to get out onto the sales floor or engage with consumers.

Despite the mental unrest caused by this abrupt change of rhythm in their lives, they didn’t rest their feet. They took the lockdown as an opportunity and ended up learning from it.

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Online learning: Use the unexpected opportunities to invest in your growth. ©fizkes

1. Theoretical knowledge is half the battle

To prepare themselves for a changing retail landscape, our teams took the opportunity to engage in virtual workshops and e-learning sessions during the lockdown geared towards personal growth. Retail trainers, HR managers, store managers and territorial managers joined forces to modernize all training materials and facilitate the sessions – they held around 1,200 trainings in total! The benefits? Those who couldn’t work during this time got the chance to develop and maintain engagement throughout a time where normality had been thrown out the window.

“The best retail experts are the ones who know the most about our products and have great interpersonal skills,” says HR Retail Manager Lili Kuznetsova. “Equipping the teams with detailed knowledge of our products through the training during the lockdown, gave our teams the perfect opportunity to focus on ways to better connect and engage with our consumers once we opened up our stores again. They could really hit the ground running when the situation began to normalize.”

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HR Manager Lili played her part in keeping the teams engaged.

2. Psychological well-being boosts performance

“When creating our webinars, we knew that people would be going through changes in how they feel during self-isolation,” explain adidas Academy coaches Aleksandr Rau and Ekaterina Kolbe. “We understand that the challenges we faced were mostly psychological, and that it wasn’t about the circumstances but the subjective internal experience and the ability to cope with it.

“So, we also set out to help our colleagues learn about resources we offered on psychological well-being and to realize how they are capable of coping with the challenges.

“Since psychological well-being positively affects the quality of work and career, we are going to continue to focus on these topics in the post-lockdown world.”

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It can be tough keeping the team spirit alive during lockdown.

3. How online connections supported career growth

During the lockdown, Taisiya Popovskaya took on her role as a Store Manager. “If you seek new learning opportunities and use the resources offered by the company to the max, the lockdown won’t slow down your career,” she says. “The weekly webinars gave me the chance to find answers to my questions on getting ready for a new role. They helped to give me confidence stepping into the new role – even in this challenging time.”

“Now that I’ve started working in a new store, I continue to learn and value collaboration – for it was collaboration that really helped us during the hardest of times.”

Woman sitting in front of a sign on the wall, adidas, employee, office, culture, sport
Taisiya used the opportunity to develop her career.

When you can’t practice your sport or profession, you can still grow in different ways, which will improve your performance in the long run. We can’t control what roadblocks we will face on our way, but we can control how we cope with them: Being flexible, open, and receptive to taking alternative routes gives you the strength to overcome any hurdle.

What did you take away from your time in lockdown? Are there any habits you want to keep post lockdown? Share your learnings in the comment section!


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by Nina Weihrauch 21.07.2020
I created a morning sport habit and finally realized that a morning run really works for me. When returning to the office, I committed to keep up that morning run routine - at least once per week.

The lock down showed me that we can be as productive even though we change or break out of our own routines - this might even increase productivity and motivation.

by Raju Nina Weihrauch 24.09.2020
During the lockdown, we need to care about our mental and physical health. We can do a home gym, playing the game with the family members. No need to go outside. great article. Hope you post more and more, thanks
by SYED AHMAD 21.07.2020
For many of us lockdown meant that we no longer have to spend time in commute, it certainly meant that outstanding personal growth projects could be prioritized better. I am glad that this time allowed me to go through optional trainings from our own company resources and external thought leaders. In addition, it meant that I could devote some more time to the family - and you know that it keeps us all healthy :)
by Frank 23.07.2020
I didn’t only learn new things (e.g. new ways to efficiently keep information flowing when working remotely) but also found strong confirmation for things I’ve believed in already before (e.g that a leap of faith often serves as a self fulfilling prophecy). I also was inspired during lock down to work on a sports skill: surfing. What? In Germany? Well, I bought a balance board and worked my pop-up - funnily enough this is sth I could have done easily anytime before, but I needed the lockdown to have the idea (thinking about: what can I do at home that is fun).
by Rupert Campbell 27.07.2020
I could not agree more with this article Maria you have touched on many important topics. Lockdown has really given us the ability to reflect on our personal growth and look at how we can enhance this. Anything that helps us to evaluate and grow as individuals must be seen as a positive even in what have been tough times
by Preet 28.07.2020
I developed a habit of working out at home 4 times a week through adidas training app , which was a big struggle (mentally) for me as I always managed to have several excuses to not being able to do it . I used to go out for regular morning walks for past 1 and a half year and I knew that if i want to see the change in my fitness , I had to do something stronger. With the lock down I told myself that if you don't utilize your little extra time which I have in hand , then I should event stop talking about the getting fitter as its only myself who is coming in the way and nothing else. Finally after my battle with my mind and body :) I managed to make a routine for workouts and saw amazing results. I am continuing to do my sessions post lock down
#personalgrowth #self-improvement