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THE 3 Cs BEHIND GREAT LEADERSHIP

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Leadership is a skill that is learned, practiced, developed and refined over time. We can all become better leaders by tapping into the unlimited power of collaboration, confidence, and creativity.

Sports history is full of stories of underdogs rising to the occasion. Remember how Greece beat heavy favorites Portugal in the UEFA EURO final in 2004? Rewind even further, and you’ll recall the ‘Miracle on Ice’ with the U.S. men’s hockey team winning gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Why do some teams manage to achieve the impossible? How do certain entrepreneurs build unicorn start-ups from scratch?

The answer lies in good leadership. We’re tempted to explain success with All Star players, but a single MVP won’t win you the game. You need a team of versatile talent and great leadership to tie it all together and steer the team to success.

A balanced leadership style takes practice on an individual level, but organizations need to learn, too. Practice creates consistency and consistency gets you results. This is the not-so-secret formula of any high-performing team – on and off the field.

Why leadership development needs guidelines

Imagine you have a field, a group of players, and a ball in front of you. Does this mean you also have a game? No. The game begins only after the sidelines are painted on the field. The paint marks the boundaries. It provides the parameters within which to play the game.

In an international setting, this means creating a shared global language that transcends countries and cultures, offering a common vocabulary for leadership development.

How leadership affects culture

As a leader, you first need to understand and appreciate your role in affecting your company culture. Leadership builds and fosters culture, and culture drives the behavior of employees.The way employees behave influences the success of the company strategy, and eventually results.

When the leadership team is not in the office, it’s culture – reinforced by individual employees – that’s running the business. In the end, then, as a leader you’re influencing the entire company culture through your leadership skills and behaviors.

Leadership is not management

Chances are, whatever your age or expertise, you’ve experienced the difference between a manager and a leader. Managing is admin work; making sure the day-to-day tasks are getting ticked off. When you’re being managed, do you feel productive? Do you feel inspired?

Motivation comes and goes, but inspiration keeps people engaged. A balanced leadership style inspires, preparing your team to tackle any challenge. This translates into productivity and results.

Only after you’ve chosen to develop your leadership skills can you inspire others. Leaders need followers, but followership alone is not enough. It’s about getting buy-in for a shared vision, creating a leadership legacy through collaborative, confident, and creative behaviors.

A good place to start is to consider how you are living and role modeling the desired leadership behaviors in your organization. To support your self-reflection and development, we interviewed three adidas leaders on their experiences.

Portrait photo of adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted wearing a black t-shirt.

Kasper Rorsted

CEO, adidas

The adidas CEO knows that collaboration will make an organization stronger. A team that trusts each other’s abilities and talents is a team that plays to win.
Portrait photo of adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted wearing a black t-shirt.
Portrait photo of Kate Woods, Senior Director Running at adidas and former Olympian hockey player.

Kate Woods

Senior Director, Running, adidas Western Europe

Always confident to test her limits and get out of the comfort zone, the three-time Olympian has learnt valuable leadership lessons in the hockey field.
Portrait photo of Kate Woods, Senior Director Running at adidas and former Olympian hockey player.
Portrait photo of Lisann Costello, Senior Director Brand Communications at adidas.

Lisann Costello

Senior Director Brand Communications, adidas

In a matrix organization, the communications head of Women’s & Training leads by influencing. Creativity, to her, is first and foremost a mindset.
Portrait photo of Lisann Costello, Senior Director Brand Communications at adidas.

Ready to become a leader?

Leaders need to be mindful of their behaviors in all situations. Though contexts change, a clear framework provides a roadmap for leadership development.

Continue to our quick check-in below and follow the recommended path, focusing on either collaboration, confidence, or creativity, to support you on your leadership journey.

Share your leadership commitment below and become accountable for it.

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Keep your memory fit and fresh on the go.

These wallpapers, action steps, and statement cards will help you hold yourself accountable.

ACTION STEPS & 6 STATEMENT CARDS

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Find inspiration from our pool of action steps and dial up your leadership game starting today.
180702_adidas_Gameplan_A_PDF_Download_Statement_Cards
Carry nine leadership principles in your pocket. Work with them and share them. All you need to do is decide what you want to focus on first.

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