MDE: Road to Leadership

4 minute read


As I look back to a decade ago, mainly I have been working as an individual contributor. I have been evaluated by all things that I have done by myself. It is natural when you enter in the real IT world, and also very popular to keep working in such way the whole of your life (even if I ask myself 3 years ago, I had no plans to change it), but after joining Adidas (+3 years ago) everything started to change bit a bit. More and more often I started listening several buzzwords like confidence, creativity, collaboration, leadership, … it took me a while but then I realized that I wanted to have a greater impact in the company and I could not do it alone. I needed to open my mind and expand my horizons to be the best version of myself in order to help others grow and motivate them to work together towards a common goal.

WHY? Be the best version of myself!!!

I was developing my soft skills with isolated courses in Linkedin, Udemy, reading articles .. and then MDE appears in the landscape.

What MDE is?

It is an internal training program in Adidas, MDE stands for (Manager Development Experience), to develop ourselves to become better leaders and to learn how to help to develop others. And as its name announces, the program is a complete Learning Experience.

We are a sports company and our fundamental belief is that “through sports we have the power to change life”, so what better way than to apply how an athlete works to improve their ability to grow our management and leadership skills.

  • Mindset: How to build a growth mindset. Learning a new habit with a 30 day challenge.

I chose yoga, what can I say about this? Definitely out of my comfort zone.

  • Practice: There is no growth unless you start working on it. Start small, but practice every day. Developing skills based on Role models.

Among all the live workouts I worked in: Thinking Strategically, Leading Sustained Change in self and others, Developing others through delegation. And I would like to share one of my greatest discovery @SimonSinek, if you don’t know him, please start watching this talk How great leaders inspire action [Youtube] and I promise you won stop there.

  • Performance: Evolving from learner to become role model. Inspiring people around us, demonstrating our leadership. Connect to people internal and external to broad your views.

Everyone you reach for advice will try to help you, it is only on you to take the first step.

Key Takeaways:

  • Set the goal, practice while tracking the progress (very important to measure your progress), and showcase the performance.
  • Micro actions (day-to-day tasks) consistently (not having peaks and valleys) will improve yourself.

    1% Principle 1% after one year matters.

  • There are no magic tricks, you need to put your hands on (hard work) and ask for challenges (Go out of your comfort zone). Don’t expect others to bring you what you want.
  • Never walk alone, always try to build relationships

What I have put into practice so far?

No matter in which situation, People come first. Mentors matter and they do make a big difference, so I want to make sure mentoring won’t happen by accident, and I ask feedback more often and also check more frequently how the people around me feel. I create personal relationships and know as much as I can of everyone of my day to day, being open and transparent, sharing my personal feelings, thoughts to build a trust network and improve our relationship/collaboration.

Time management is crucial:

  • Said No to meetings that can not add value or +8 people.
  • Meetings must have an agenda and I have tried reduced time (Starting at 11:05 or 11:35)
  • Working/planning in 15-minutes block
  • Save personal at least two 3-hours-uninterrupted-slot a week to work in my tasks.

Task management:

  • I’ve started to experiment with simple GTD strategies.
  • Put focus on priority: Importance vs Urgency.

Finally, take time to read, experiment, learn and reflect. Learning is only one part of the advice. The other part is experimenting with things that make sense in the given situation and later reflecting on what worked and what did not. In order to achieve this, I am trying to follow The 5-Hour Rule

Since my MDE journey started many things have changed and I will have official direct reports soon so definitely the road has just begun.


I am a basketball lover and in this sport you can find many examples but one of the greatest leaders from whom you can learn countless things far beyond basketball is Michael Jordan. In netflix you can find a great serial about it “The Last Dance” and here an article of 10 lessons on leadership and Success from Michael Jordan’s ‘Last Dance’