Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Six Months

It’s been about six months since I joined adidas and several posts ago I wrote about my experience of starting my new career here. Many of you have written me to ask why I haven’t continued to talk about what it’s like to work here now that I’ve been here for a while. To be honest I’ve been working on so many projects that I haven’t had time to write. It’s amazing though in six months how much more insight you have into an organization, it’s culture, norms, etc. So here I am, working from home this morning with a little bit of spare time to write an update about my experience here six months later.

Again—I want to premise that I’m a recruiter so it’s my job to sell the organization. I’ve lived by some simple rules though—I won’t sell something that I don’t love. If I didn’t love it here so far I would leave. The experience has been amazing so far and everyday this place grows on me more. First off—there is a realness and rawness about working at adidas. Maybe this stems from being born of sports. The culture is one where people don’t look for the barriers—we focus on where we want to go and we work hard and fast to get there. It’s very much like being on a sports team at adidas. It’s not about personal gain here. It’s about team gain. We play to win. The organization is also nimble. We aren’t this massive bureaucratic, red-tape environment. We tend to have smaller teams, bigger roles and responsibility and a lot of creative latitude. If we screw up we get back up and play harder next time. I’ve had the experience of working on fat, over-resourced teams in the past and while this is probably appealing to some—I’m really enjoying having a broad scope and nimble team with fast execution.

We have a new president that started not long before I started. He leads with a strong vision and clear goals. I can’t get into details of his specific strategy but he brings a clear path that the entire organization can work towards. With this there is a lot of change within the organization. We have built the organization on this nimbleness though and will continue to do so. If you are reading this and thinking you want to work here the more flexible you are the better. If you are mobile, can try new things and adapt quickly to strategy changes then you will thrive here. If you are the type of individual that wants to come in and do the same job for five years you will struggle. I worked in the tech PR industry before this so change is the only thing I knew—for me this is perfect.

It’s also energizing to see the love for the brand people have. Random people come up to me all the time to tell me about their first pair of adidas and what the brand has meant to them. I recently did focus groups for an employment branding project I’m working on and almost everybody universally told me that they love that adidas has always remained authentic. I understand what they mean to. Most companies I have worked for in the past overly fixate on their competitors and try to do it better. At adidas the focus is really on the customer and staying true to them. Of course I can’t say we don’t want to beat the competition but we don’t do this by replicating what others are doing. We do this by listening the customers and making product that caters to them. I think this is what makes adidas unique and not just another mass production consumer goods company. I like working in environments that are just different and unique.

I get to work on projects that have global scope. I’m on the phone weekly with other countries. It’s almost impossible to work at adidas and not interact with people from around the world. This doesn’t make the job easy but it makes it rich. The ability to have global perspective opens up entirely new possibilities and perspectives on a project that you would never otherwise get. The adidas vision is really premised on improving lives through sport. Bringing people together on a global level, getting kids to focus on the right values and becoming good teammates, improving the performance of athletes and everyday people so they can live healthier lives. We get to see this inside and outside the company around the globe. You realize we are part of something much bigger working at adidas. You get to see it first hand. This has been invaluable learning so far.

Okay, I can go on for hours about different aspects of the adidas culture. I will write more about it soon. I’ll leave you with this; I’m not going to say every aspect of the job is easy and always fun. All jobs have challenging aspects about them. What I will say is that I’m given the latitude to make real change, take on meaningful challenges and have an incredible team and support by management to achieve impossible things.

Monday, October 22, 2007

CEO of Facebook Wears adidas

I love this—the CEO of Facebook (one of the fastest growing social networks on the net) wears adidas Flip Flops. It’s the CEO’s (Mark Zuckerberg) trademark footwear. Below is an article about it and a gallery of him wearing the flip flops. I love that our brand makes such a connection with youth!

Article and Gallery (Mark Zuckerberg Wearing adidas)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Adidas HQ and Cool Kicks Vids

So I've been at adidas for almost two months now and I just got back from Germany after visiting the adidas HQ. I'm even more psyched about the company now! The World of Sports headquarters is located near a small village in Germany called Herzogenaurach. This place is SWEET! The people at HQ were awesome. They were super charged, energetic--their passion for sports was amazing. While I was there I played softball, kickball (for kicks), and was invited to play ultimate frisbee. There is literally something going on every minute. I also had meetings with team members from around the globe. You truly get a sense of what a global organization adidas is when you visit their headquarters.

I also found some killer old school adidas videos on YouTube. I figured I would share some of them on my blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Join the Red Ball Movement

I knew adidas had a culture built around sport and living the brand but I never realized how deep this passion ran. It's pervasive everywhere you turn at adidas. At lunchtime the halls are empty and the building becomes quiet. The steets, the fields, the courts, the fitness center, the trails are teaming with adidas employees though. One guy on my team runs six miles at lunch, showers, eats and is back at his desk within an hour. One girl bikes 28 miles into work and often swims or jogs after work. These aren't the exceptions either, they are the norm. The organization stands for team, for healthy lifestyle and for helping people win. We even look at how sport can assisant in humanitarian efforts.

So what do you ask is the Red Ball Movement? This is a movement supported by the Adi Dassler Fund to support the international humanitarian organization Right to Play. The Adi Dassler Fund was founded to support organizations that connect children with coaches who teach life values in addition to sport. When you purchase a red mini ball you will be able to support the Right To Play organization. They are cool little red soccer balls--I bought two of them for my kids and they loved them.

If you want to support the organization go to any adidas retail store and you can't miss them!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Required Transportation

Scooters are pretty much required transportation living in Portland, Oregon. I've wanted one for a while and I finally broke down last weekend and couldn't resist anymore. I bought a Buddy (I know, I know...not the most masculine sounding vehicle) which is manufactured by Genuine Scooter. Genuine Scooter also manufactures the classic Stella pictured below.

So I gave away a Vespa a few years back for a contest I put together at work. The guys at Vespa Portland let me borrow a scooter to keep in our lobby until we had the giveaway. They also let us put up one of their retro vinyl banners. They had since moved their shop to 23rd and I happened to be walking down the street last weekend and all of their shiny new scooters caught my eye. This guy named Justin works there on the weekend which is the guy that loaned me the scooter for our giveaway. The dude knows his stuff about scooters and after talking with him it was clear that I needed at least 125cc's. This thing goes 60 mph and gets over 100 mpg. It is a sweet ride! So now I work a few miles from home and I can ride my bike, jog or take my scooter into work...or I can take my scooter over the St. John's bridge and ride through Forest Park. I'm also thinking there needs to be an equivalent of Sturgis for scooters. Stay tuned for that one!

P.S. You can find Vespa Portland at www.vespaportland.com and they are located on 808 NW 23rd Ave.

Sourcing Strategist Job @ Waggener Edstrom

I told my friends at Waggener Edstrom that I would support them by posting my replacement position on my blog. This is actually a very cool role and I would be happy to share more with anybody who is interested. Feel free to click on the link to learn more about the position.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Bio 3.0

I finally found time to create a new bio for my LinkedIn profile. I was sick of writing my bio in the standard chronological format so I took a bit of a different approach. Let me know what you think...

My Bio 3.0

Current Gig: Recruiting Programs Manager, adidas North America
Mission: Build a world-class talent acquisition program
Years: Less than 1 year

If you threw some adidas originals on Doc Holiday, asked him to give up dentistry and take on recruiting and took his pistol from him and gave him the internet then you have the role of talent acquisition in the 21st Century.

Doc Holiday ventured into the wild frontiers and to survive he needed to understand the landscape he was in, had to have strong relationships, a reputation or a brand and then an ability to act on it. This made him a legend. Equally important for doc was the incredible stories that generated out of his Wild West days that have transcended cultures and times.

Talent acquisition is the wild west of the 21st Century. Think about it. You have the internet which is really like the gold rush days. Everybody is out there looking for their plot on the internet with the desire to build something great. Everybody is racing for this. You are either a bystander or you are in the game. Doc was in the game. Then you have the villains. These are all of those competitors out there looking at how they can build it better, faster, smarter. You have the struggle of staying in a top position; the landscape is constantly changing and information flows from every direction. You have to get smart about what’s relevant and what is not. This also happened during the gold rush days. Reports were coming in from all over but choosing which direction was critical. With limited supplies, harsh conditions and hostile territories you couldn’t afford to be wrong. And if you play all your cards right you make it through the struggle, defeat the villains and make your indelible mark in digital history. Welcome to my frontier—the Wild Digital West.

At adidas I am tasked with building a world class talent acquisition function, a kicking talent brand, Web 2.0 recruitment strategy and whatever and wherever else the twists, turns, clicks and crashes of the Wild Digital West takes me. The thing that Doc did not have was a pair of kick’n adidas originals which I personally believe are a necessity in the Wild Digital West.

Yes, I know, this is an odd bio but I’m not sure how else to explain what talent acquisition strategists do. We go where the wagon trail ends…or shall I say we go where the fiber optics start to fray!

Prior to adidas I spent almost seven years at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Waggener Edstrom is a global PR agency focused on innovation with clients such as Microsoft, AMD, T-Mobile, GE Healthcare and Amazon.

My role at Waggener Edstrom was to develop and implement integrated strategies to attract key talent. I served as a digital “trend spotter” for the agency’s staffing function as well as played a key role in advancing our talent relationship capabilities with CRM and Web 2.0/social networking strategies. Prior to this I lead recruiting for the Microsoft PR team. Over the six and a half years at Waggener Edstrom I have recruited for just about every business unit within North America as well as spent a small stint of time recruiting for our UK team.

I spent the first two years of my career on the agency side. The volume and intensity of agency recruitment laid the foundation for where I am today.

The Wild Digital West isn’t always a friendly place or easy to navigate but it’s a whole new frontier to explore. Maybe it’s the last great one in our lifetime. To embrace it you must accept it for what it is. As the Doc said in Tombstone, “There is no normal life, there's just life, ya live it.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

First Week at adidas

So I made it through my first week at adidas. I mean—I WORK AT ADIDAS NORTH AMERICA and it is my FIRST WEEK! I know, I know...a little dramatic…but it is exciting none the less and I don’t hold back. Company culture is an interesting thing though and it’s probably a little pre-mature to say that it’s a great place to work. Of course—I’m a recruiter so isn’t that what I ought to say? Frankly, anybody joining any organization should wait to judge or assume or lie—to themselves. Sorry—I just watched an episode of House and I love when doctor House believes all humans lie. I kind of agree with him though. So here is the thing—organization culture is a tough thing to figure out for anybody on the outside. On the outside you are influenced by media, marketing, advertising…essentially the company or product brand. This may be good or bad. So you leverage your networks and learn more about the culture. You still need to be leery though. People in your network may want you to join the organization for a host of reasons, and while they are trying to be authentic, they may unintentionally positively spin the company.

So use your vision! There is the facility, the web pages, the people you see in the halls when you walk into interview—this to me is the visual side to culture. Yes, this is important so don’t take it lightly. Think about how you would feel walking into a building with 70’s carpeting and paneling on the wall versus flat screen TV’s playing sports and holographic light fixtures. Then there are the interviews, the people interaction—you start to understand the norms, the rules of engagement, and the intellectual capital. All of this builds in understanding the culture. Hopefully, during this process, you don’t lie to yourself about the challenges ahead. You won’t really know the true challenges until you disagree with an approach after you’re hired or you try to implement something that goes against the grain, the way things have been done. This is when you WYSIWYG. At this point you will either run or accept the challenge.

So—I AM WORKING AT ADIDAS. Okay—let me be a bit more tempered here. I work at adidas but I have not had my first big challenge yet. BUT—what I see today…an amazing product brand, high energy—creative talent, state of the art facilities, incredible perks like great benefits, product discounts, sample sales, employee events at their Pearl District retail store, workout facilities, basketball courts, soccer fields, gym, flexible work environment, super flexible dress code, cafĂ©’s, line cooks, view of DT Portland and the Willamette and the list goes on. This isn’t the work though and nobody should join an organization because of this. What do you get to DO—I mean, what do YOU get to DO. This is the most important question. I have objectives that I feel SUPER passionate about. Everything else to me is secondary. SO I’M WORKING AT ADIDAS and I’m doing what I LOVE. But I don’t know what It’s truly like to work here yet because I have not challenged the norm, I have not made change, I have not disagreed with a colleague, I have not run the hardest leg of the race. The nice thing though is I can’t wait to do this!!!!!!!

If you read my blog and adidas is a place you want to work here is some advice….don’t assume the product brand is the employment brand. Don’t assume it isn’t—in fact don’t assume. Evaluate what you bring and what adidas offers and then align. Keep an eye on our careers page and apply for positions where your strengths can be leveraged and where your passion will show. Don’t apply randomly just to get in. If you don’t see a career that matches now then submit your resume without applying to a specific role—but keep an eye on the site for roles that you have experience in and apply to these. Network, network, network—I have a LinkedIn profile. Send me an invite—look up other adidas employees and learn about the organization. Leave a comment on my blog…join the dialogue. Remember that adidas was founded on a passion for sports. Think like an athlete—train at what you want to be good at and don’t give up.

IT”S MY FIRST WEEK and I get wear the coolest kicks now, everyday, to work!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I’m going to be a good sport here and post a video that my buddies on Waggener Edstrom’s Digital Strategies team pulled together for me. Just for the record this was not a video resume for adidas! This was a spoof on our agency values that our HR team pulled together for our annual agency business meetings a few years back. I was the only male on the HR team at the time and they needed male vocals so I really didn’t have a choice. I’m going to miss this place!

Cheers to all the amazing, talented and creative people at WE! Moments like these will never be forgotten.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My Third Stripe

I’ve joined Adidas!

I’ve been recruiting for over eight years now and it’s been a wild ride. My career started with an internship at Johnson Matthey Electronics in Spokane, Washington. My role, Human Resources Intern. My job, revamping their 200+ job descriptions. My degree was in Human Resources so this really allowed me to cut my teeth on some basic HR tactics. I quickly learned though my strength was not in HR administration but in relationship building, problem solving, innovating process and marketing.

When my internship ended I started to apply to roles throughout the Northwest and California. There were a few things that I was certain about at this point in my career. I knew I needed to get out of Spokane. I needed a larger marketplace. I also knew that I needed to work in an environment that was intense, that forced fast learning and constant problem solving. I was offered a role at a local recruitment agency in Portland, Oregon—Employment Trends. Here I quickly moved into a recruiting role and was able to build one of the agency’s largest accounts. I found that I loved recruiting. In recruiting you always have variables that create constant challenge. You can build the best process in the world but when you are working with people there are always situations that are going flip things upside down. To be good, you have to stay razor sharp on business indicators, know your clients business inside and out, be a master of relationships and know how to leverage marketing/branding to attract talent. These were the skills I learned quickly in this environment.

After two years I wanted corporate experience, greater challenges and greater resources to sharpen my craft. I moved over to Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, one of the top PR firms in the world. I recruited for just about every business within the agency and worked my way up to leading Waggener Edstrom’s Microsoft Staffing team. Here I learned how to plan for intense shifts in the business, how to continually innovative our process to stay ahead of the business, how to lead, how to amplify a brand and become a true brand ambassador. This lead me to my most recent role as Strategic Sourcing Strategist, which focuses on development, and implementation of strategies to build talent networks across the world—focusing on skill rarity and business criticality. I also am responsible for implementing the technology to support these efforts, which include a CRM build-out, a host of on-line media/social networking tools, blogging tactics…essentially evangelizing Web 2.0 to give us competitive advantage.

So now this leads me to my third stripe, Adidas North America. I just accepted the role of Recruiting Programs Manager at Adidas and will be leading the charge in developing Adidas North America’s recruiting strategy, in partnership with our global lead of recruiting, Steve Bonomo, and Adidas North America head of HR, Jochen Eckhold. There are many things I will be charged with in my new role but the thing I’m most excited about is building a world-class employment brand for Adidas North America. I’ve been fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work in PR, work around creative people who know how to solve intense business problems through strategic communications—including branding and PR. I have also worked in a culture where innovation and creative ideas are more important than profit itself—yes, this is true believe it or not. Waggener Edstrom puts people and innovation before profit—but profit always followed with this approach. This I will be forever grateful for because it taught me that no idea is too big or too bold or not worth considering. Now I plan to take this to the next level. Failure is not in my vocabulary, average is nothing, good is average—which is nothing—The only thing left is great. So my plan is to build one of the most innovative talent brands in the world. Nothing will be off the table, nothing too bold, and nothing too hard. To Adidas impossible is nothing. Impossible is nothing to me. As my former CEO used to say…”I want to work with companies that are on the lunatic fringe.” This is where I will spend my time building something great.

More to come on my role at Adidas…. I welcome feedback from anybody out there who reads my blog, people in the creative fields, innovative recruiters, passer by’ers--to comment on what you believe to be great employer brands. What makes you want to work at an organization, what creative tools amplify this message in the marketplace. OR…if you are interested in a career at Adidas I would also encourage you to leave a comment or send mail. I will be updating my profile and contact information in the coming weeks.

Now it’s time to earn my third stripe!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Authentic Advertising

I came across this Adidas Ad on a blog and thought it was a very clever way to show authenticity and leadership with a print advertisement....

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Creative Resumes

When I first started in recruiting I was trained to look past the flashiness of resumes and screen for experience and skill. This training carried through my first few roles. When I started recruiting in the PR industry I came across resumes that were highly creative and memorable. I ran one of them by a senior member of my group and she asked me if I was going to reach out to the candidate. I said I wasn't sure because the candidate didn't have much experience in the area I was hiring for. She asked me if creativity was important for the type of person I typically hire. I said of course. She asked me why I wouldn't then at least talk to this person. Duh...she obviously had a good point. So I did and I ended up being very impressed. This is when I took a 360 when it came to creative resumes. The candidates that do this stand out to me, they break through noise and they leave a lasting impression whether they are hired or not.

I included some pictures of resumes that I have received. These aren't all of them by any means. I received a resume that was created on top of a cake using frosting. We hired this person and he is a high performing employee. I was also sent a resume that was folded into a pyramid and then had another copy crumpled in a ball in the center. One candidate sent me her shoe with a note saying if the shoe fits… I have also received some interesting thank you cards. One was hand made and had our team logo on it with a piece of gum taped to the inside—it said, “Here is something to chew on while you consider my candidacy.”

If you are going to create one you do need to have an understanding of your audience. If you are an accountant interviewing with one of the Big 5’s you probably don’t want to send one of these. If you are applying at an ad agency you are probably pretty safe. The rest most likely fall somewhere in between so proceed at your own risk. If you apply for a role with me though….you will probably capture my interest.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Coopetition, Brand & Transaction

Over the past several years of recruiting in PR I've built a pretty strong network with great people! Some of them we hired and others went to other firms or corporations. Some have come and some have gone. Others work on the next floor or a cube or two away from me. No matter where people in my network are though, whether they currently work with me or not, there are some that are like beacons in my network. They are rememberable, there is some level of attraction to want to reach out to them over an over again and when you do it's like you just left off your last conversation with them. I often ask myself why these people are different? What is about them that is different than the next person I just talked to. After all, I'm a recruiter, so I talk to 100's and 1000's of people in a given year.

I think there are few things that sets these people apart and this ultimately affects your company's brand. You may ask how I make this connection and I'll tell, but I do believe it's an underestimated impact on brand image. Those beacons in my network first and foremost are ultra authentic. It's like when you meet people when you are a kid and then lose contact with them for a while and then reconnect. Some of those people you reconnect with and it feels like you never lost touch. They are who they were. Others you feel like you don't know anymore. I don't know if this is authenticity or just that people can completely change. That being said there are those people that have so much soul and are so human and self aware that they are always who they are. These are people that I tend to trust implicitly which is the second factor. So the first is that they are authentic which leads to the second which is trust. Some of those beacons that I talked about work for competitors. That said I can still trust these people when I reconnect with them. I know our relationship is important to them and that they will protect this first. This leads me to my third factor which is that each encounter is building upon a relationship and not a transaction. If I'm working with a candidate and they decline joining our agency I don't see this at all affecting my relationship with that person. The relationship is separate from the transaction of hiring someone. Nobody in my network should ever feel that not doing something they don't want to do will affect the relationship and vice versa. If anything this should strengthen the relationship as long as each individual is being transparent with each other. This is the last factor. What they are saying they mean and what I'm describing about our environment is true, the good, the bad and the ugly. When all of these factors are in place the relationship moves beyond a business acquaintance and becomes real--you start to really know who that person is, you feel like yourself when you interact with them and this ultimately compels you to nurture those relationships--it feels good to do so.

So how does this affect brand. When people you connect with like this go to places you trust that they are choosing great places to work because they are great people. When they say they have picked a bad place their word means a lot to you. When those people you don't connect with go to places it makes you wonder if there are other people like them there. When you are building a company brand or employment brand the authenticity of your interactions with people can make or break this. The more authentic, the stronger the connections, the brighter those beacons become and more people are drawn to those beacons. When this happens the more your authentic brand message gets shared. When people do join your organization they will say everything you told me about this place was true and good or bad you will have protected your relationship--only goodness comes from this.

No matter what you do in life, be it sales, advertising, marketing, PR treat people like they are your brother or your sister and not a transaction. This isn't only important for the business you work for but for the authenticity of your entire life!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bizzare Shape Found at Saturn's North Pole

This is totally off the subject of PR recruiting but I love it when I see things that are still so bizarre and unexplained about our universe. These are new pictures of Saturn and they found a hexagon shape at Saturn's north pole. This defies everything we know about weather patterns. There is still so much we don't know about our universe. Here is a link to the article: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm

Monday, March 26, 2007

Waggener Edstrom Lunatic Fringe 2007

My blog has mostly been about recruitment technology and for the most part spoke to an audience of my peers. More and more I find that candidates are interested to know more about who they are speaking with before their interview and often will Google me and read a few blog entries. For this reason I'm going to change the focus of my blog to be more geared towards the industry I recruit for--Public Relations. I will probably keep it a little more broad than this though and include information on creative talent in general--advertising, marketing, PR, new media. To kick things off here is a YouTube video from Waggener Edstrom's agency business meetings last week!