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!