Early in his career, Nike President and CEO John Donahue, a spokesman for Bain & Company’s training program, heard something that immediately resonated with him: Elite athletes see asking for help as a sign of strength. “He talked about the way Michael Jordan was not. Just Phil Jordan as his acting coach; He had a private chef and he had a psychological coach, “says Donahue, now 61.” And he said, ‘You in the business world, treat asking for help as a sign of weakness. You act as if all the answers are in your hands. If you want to show world.class performance, you have to be comfortable getting help. ‘ He trusts when he needs advice.
Born in Owenston, Illinois, Donahue is also a father of four with his wife Eileen and CEO four times already, after leading Bain & Company, eBay and digital work management company ServiceNow. And became the company’s fourth CEO, after co.founder Phil Knight, William Perez and Mark Parker.
Since taking up the most senior position at Nike, Donahue has had a lot of work to do. Before we became CEO, there were negative media reports about Nike’s treatment of women and athletes who collaborated with the company. Donahue set himself a goal to fill 45% of positions at Vice President and above in women by 2025. He also wants 30% representation for ethnic minorities At the director level and more than that in Nike’s workforce in the US. He planned to embark on a 100.day “listening journey” around the world that he had to complete online after the corona plague broke out. Last week, Nike closed its executive offices around the world to give employees time to rest and recharge their batteries. “In many ways, Nike looks like a real leader in external diversity activities,” he said. “We want to make sure we are leaders in this regard on an internal level as well.“
“Change and uncertainty are the new normal”
What time do you usually wake up on Mondays?
“I’m a person of habit. I wake up at 5:45 every day of the week. The first thing I do is drink a liter of water and two cups of coffee and then I stretch with Hyperice Hypervolt (electric massager). I do 10 minutes of meditation and then I have a trainer “Nike personal – his name is JC Cook. I train from seven to eight, four mornings a week with him.“
On what day do you take time off?
“It’s changing. I learned a lot from a guy we have at Nike, Ryan Flaherty, who is an elite coach and checked data on an athlete’s routine. He talks about the five faces of sports, which are movement, sleep, nutrition, thought and rehabilitation, and rehabilitation is very important. We check how my body feels every given week, but when I sometimes have appointments early in the morning – that also dictates it. “
How many hours do you sleep at night?
“I came to terms with the fact that I need sleep. Earlier in my career, I told myself I did not really need that much sleep, and the truth is that sleep is really important. So I aim to sleep a little more than seven hours a night. Sometimes it’s unrealistic, so I aim to sleep. 70 hours every ten days. “
What do you eat for breakfast to start the week right?
“I have a protein drink, and when I get to the office I eat yogurt and a banana.“
Is there a time of day or week when you are most creative?
“Morning will be my best time. There are mornings where I stay home for the first two hours without meetings, to think or sort out my thoughts or if I need to write something. On Monday mornings, I need to plan the week, so usually on Sundays, I will sit and watch. “Next week I’ll just try to take a few moments to look at the most important things I want to accomplish this week. I’ve learned over the course of my career to be more aware of when I need to prepare for things, and I make room for them, giving them legitimacy – including the times I want to be creative.” –
When you make such an observation, how does it happen to you?
“In 2015 I went on a year off, a sabbatical year, and did a 10.day Buddhist retreat in Spirit Rock. [מרכז מדיטציה בוודקר, קליפורניה] With [הסופר והבודהיסט] Jack Cornfield. Jack was a great spiritual guide and counselor. What I have been doing a lot lately is gratitude training. What we have learned from the brain sciences and Buddhist teaching is that one can, in fact, train the mind. The mind becomes more negative over the years because negative experiences get stuck in thought. So it can be resisted by being more aware of the things that are valued, the good things in life. And so I just think, what am I grateful for in the broadest sense of life? What was I grateful for yesterday? Why do I expect to enjoy it tomorrow? This is a good exercise. For so many years, I have been so meticulous about fitness training. But what I have learned in the last five, ten or ten years, is that it is no less important to do brain exercise. It is this perception of mindfulness, and it requires the same amount of discipline and focus that the physical side requires. “
What changes have you made in the meantime as CEO of Nike?
“Digital has entered every area of our consumers’ lives. So whether it’s a Nike training club, a Nike running club, our activity apps or a SNKRS app or a Nike mobile app, consumers have brought us to it and tried to make sure we’re there in every area of their lives.“
Do you have a guiding philosophy?
“I am a follower of servant leadership. When I realize that everything I do serves a purpose, serves others, I have a fountain of willpower and inspiration even in times of difficulty. Just stay connected to this idea that we are on earth to serve others. My leadership models have always been Head Coaches – You Think of Phil Jackson, Mike Koziewski, John Thompson, Tara Vanderbir, who recently won the women’s basketball championship, how they serve their programs, serve a wider purpose. The power of service was a lesson I return throughout my life and career. “
What lessons did you learn about running a company during the plague?
“I think change and uncertainty are the new normal — so just accept and deal with the ongoing change and uncertainty. Second, the importance of clarity about values, because we need direction. At Nike, early in the plague, we thought about our values, and that’s what drove the decision. Ours continue to pay salaries to all the store workers.Even in the months when all the stores were closed, it was an easy decision for us.It was about half a billion dollars, but it was definitely the right thing to do.
The third thing is the importance of communication and transparency. While managing a life in Zoom is a difficult thing in many ways, what Zoom has managed to do is put me once a month in front of 25,000 people. And the last thing that strengthened me as a leader is the power of sincerity and vulnerability, because many times I do not have all the answers, whether in connection with the plague or racial or social justice issues or geopolitical issues. But I think there is a real power and a real need to just come and be real, to be vulnerable and to be present. “
How does Nike intend to appeal to a Z Generation audience?
“We’m talking about our muse among consumers being young people aged 16 to 24. This generation, they want their individuality. They want to be understood and respected for who they are, and that can vary by race, gender, point of view and background. They do not want to be tagged. Them, and on the other hand very much want to be part of a community. They want diversity, equality and inclusion; they want it to be their world. “I get a lot of hope when we listen to Generation Z because they have made a step up in places that will make them responsible leaders in this world for the next 10, 20, 30 or 40 years.“
The interview was conducted for clear purposes.
John Donahue’s 5 Recommendations for the Morning:
● Hyperice Hypervolt
“Every morning, I stretch with the Hyperice for 20 minutes.“
● Insights timer
“I have an app on the phone — even when I travel to work, I will do gratitude training, which during this time period are really helpful and helpful.“
● Nike Space Hippy shoes
“Hippie Spice shoes use garbage (real garbage!) And make it a great shoe with its own aesthetic.“
“Multivitamins, vitamin B, vitamin D or turmeric — I almost do not know what is in some of the things I take; I am willing to try everything.“
“Monday is no different from many other days: I start with a liter of water.“