Dec 05, 2019

Driving a Performance Culture Through Learning

Find out how learning plays an essential role in driving a performance culture – not only yours, but that of your team.
by Linda Evenhuisstaff

I’ve been a facilitator with adidas for 8.5 years and, back in August 2015, I wrote about my personal transformation on how sport has the power to change lives. Today I will focus on how learning has the power to transform your career.

Focus, dedication and hard work no longer seem to be enough to get ahead in our fast-paced, ever-changing working environment. In order to be successful, we’re required to be resilient, adaptable and open to transform ourselves for new, unknown challenges. I have found that learning is the key that unlocks your personal transformation. In fact, the pace of change is so rapid that I can only recommend you consider the benefits of embedding it into your day-to-day work.

The importance of learning when driving a performance culture

Performance is the engine that helps you to get the results you want, and to perform at your best, you need to constantly learn, develop your skills and potentially unlearn the things that are no longer useful.

"To drive this learning culture to lead to performance we at adidas have developed over the last few years a strong learning and development offer for our employees."

Linda EvenhuisSenior Manager Program Facilitation

While we have implemented several innovative training programs for all levels within the organization and we are ensuring that learning is accessible (24/7) for everyone, I really want to focus on two of our adidas programs that our global internal facilitation team is currently embedding into the organization: The Manager Development Program (MDE) and Director Development Program (DDE).

Developing future leaders.Developing future leaders.

What makes these two programs so special is that they are self-directed, blended learning programs that drive a transformational mindset when it comes to learning. They reflect and shape the desired behaviors of our performance culture: one being the growth mindset.

"We really see it as the participants’ job to live the program and take their learning from concept to their reality."

Mallory JohnsonSenior Manager Leadership Development

Leadership, culture and high performance

We believe that our leaders hold the key to high performance.

As anyone who follows sport would tell you, strong leadership is essential for teams to thrive. If there are any cracks, the team doesn’t gel, and the performance suffers.

On that basis, we’re keen to support the development of our (future) leaders to make sure they’re equipped with the skills they need to get their teams to deliver at the top of their game.

It really does start from the top. Leadership drives culture, culture drives behavior and behavior drives strategy, so it’s important that we get it right.

"An inner drive to learn is key to individual and team performance, which drives results. And let’s face it, like athletes, we want to win at the end – as an individual and as a team."

Nina WeihrauchMDE Participant

The culture you create within your team is what drives success.The culture you create within your team is what drives success.

Fostering an environment to learn

Leaders can role-model learning, foster a learning culture in their teams and embrace it.

"At adidas we believe in walking the talk. We expect that leaders are central to employees’ learning process and development journeys."

Linda EvenhuisSenior Manager Program Facilitation

To establish the right environment for learning, a leader needs to foster a safe and engaging atmosphere while working towards goals. A place where employees can be challenged, try out new behaviors and where employees receive the support from their peers, line managers and mentors.

My personal takeaways

As a facilitator and a leader, I get to see both sides of the coin. Learning is core to who I am, and I push myself to walk the talk too. It was important for me to role-model learning behaviors and ensure what my team delivers reflects the performance culture.

I worked to create an environment where those around me can feel psychologically safe and be vulnerable, a place where learning, knowledge sharing, joy, empathy and passion go hand in hand with delivering key results. This has set the team up for success.

"Having a manager who believes in me, who is creating a trustful and creative environment, building up a strong team with an inspirational spirit and having a clear expectation of high performance is an accelerator on this journey."

Petar MitrovicFacilitator

The right leadership approach will ensure your team performs at its best.The right leadership approach will ensure your team performs at its best.

The adidas facilitators are our brand ambassadors that bring the content alive in their own unique ways, and it has been very well rated so far by those who’ve completed the program.

The latest NPS (Net Promotor Score) at the German Headquarters is for facilitators 73 and for the programs 67, an outstanding achievement.

Of course, we’re only beginning our journey as we fully understand that instilling a learning culture within an organization takes time to master. But we know there’s already a hunger.

Learning does have the power to transform lives. How do you stay current and agile in your area of expertise? Turn learning into a habit, make it part of your daily routine and keep driving your performance.