More Common Good, Please! First Steps Towards a Corporate Vision

Johannes Benz Last updated 21.10.2020
5 Min.
Common good and corporate vision
Last updated 21.10.2020

More common good please! In times of climate change and ever-increasing inequality, this is certainly what many people want. So do we. That's why we have already taken the first step and show you how the topics of sustainability and 'Economy for the Common Good' can be integrated into the corporate vision.

As a startup with an innovative approach, the first few years are primarily about one thing: survival. It's about proving yourself in the market - showing that it can be done differently. In the end, all this is of no use if no significant sales can be achieved on this basis to cover all costs.

three years ago we started with the idea of creating a service that gives creative people more freedom because they don't have to worry about managing their website. Today, our more than 3500 customers have contributed to the sustainability of this idea. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the support!

With this space behind us, we were able to address the following overarching questions for the first time:

What can RAIDBOXES actually do for the common good and society?
What does this mean for our long-term corporate vision?

In the following article I would like to show you how we worked out the answers to these questions in a vision workshop with the entire RAIDBOXES team. As with topics like Holacracy and Co. applies here: Imitation desired!

Step 1: 1.5 hours time for the first vision

The first step in our journey began with 1.5 hours of time set aside in September 2018. In this first workshop, there was one central question at the end:

"With what purpose can we serve the common good? What might a vision look like?"

What does a corporate vision have to do with the common good?

A good vision is always focused on the common good or an overarching purpose. A vision like "In 2020, we'll have doubled our profits." is not desirable for anyone. At most for the CEO, whose bonuses depend on it. Conversely, a vision directs the view into the future. It is about a permanent goal for an organization, which can lie at least 15 years in the future.

The following examples of good visions underline this thesis:

good corporate visions
With these example visions we entered the topic at the beginning of the workshop.

Who is behind the individual visions? This was also our entry point to deal with the topic at all and to open our minds for our brainstorming.

Why bother with common good or vision at all?

This question was also part of the briefing. Especially for the Generation Y and thus already for a very large part of our society, work has long since ceased to be merely a means to an end. Just like for us, work for these (and presumably future) generations is an expression of personal self-realization.

Why a corporate vision
Maslow's pyramid of needs illustrates why an overarching vision makes sense.

However, self-realization that does not include society or a higher purpose ends up feeling empty. Since RAIDBOXES is supposed to provide meaning even over decades, we needed a vision. One story that illustrates this is here can be found here. For those who are not yet familiar with Maslow, please refer to Wikipedia is a good place to start.

Our first emotional idea: First brainstorm, then prioritize

Myself and also the team were very surprised how we came to an emotional result for all involved in such a short time.

You should proceed as follows:

  1. Brainstorming: The most important rule in brainstorming is to eliminate the critic. People tend to evaluate any idea directly. "Yes, but..." is the first natural impulse. When brainstorming, it is imperative that this be stopped by the facilitator. Every idea has its value. Mass rather than class is more in demand here. The evaluation comes later. The ideas should be written down on a large flip chart around the central question

  2. Prioritize: Now all the ideas are on the wall or flip chart. Now silence should return and everyone should evaluate for themselves which expression they feel most emotionally connected to. After that, everyone may circle the statement that touches them the most emotionally. This decision should definitely be made based on gut feeling. Rationality can be completely disregarded here.
Vision Workshop Part 1
Here's what our brainstorming looked like on the question, "With what purpose can we serve the common good?"
Result Workshop Part 1
After brainstorming, we decided on "Limitless Opportunities" because everyone could identify with it.

More equal opportunities

So what is the overarching emotional purpose that can contribute to the greater common good? The vast majority have identified themselves most with "Boundless Opportunities". In the end we agreed that RAIDBOXES should contribute to more equal opportunities.

This is not yet a crisp vision of how Elon Musk is demonstrating. But it is the first emotional anchor point for us, which we want to pursue in the long term with RAIDBOXES . Fortunately, the WordPress with the vision "Democratize Publishing" contributes exactly to this.

Want to see part 2 of our workshop? Then leave me a comment!

At the end of the first workshop, we all agreed that we wanted to further elaborate our vision. A few weeks later, this led to part 2 of our workshop, where we spent half a day delving even more intensively into practical details. Here we worked with a tool called Common Good Balance Sheet we worked out the next steps towards more common good and discussed their implementation.

If you have any questions about Part 1 of the workshop or are interested in reading the second article on crafting your company's vision, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Book tips for more common good and purpose

For those of you who feel like delving further into the topic right now, I recommend the following books (also available on Amazon or in local bookstores directly, of course).  

  • 'Economy for the Common Good' - Very important book for all who are tired of reading only criticism of capitalism without solutions. Christian Felber presents a very concrete approach to a solution.
  • Meaning of the company - In this book Domic Veken describes very nicely how not to define values for a company that sound like any large corporation.
  • Delivering Happiness - Very nice entrepreneurial biography describing the change of mind of the American Zalando role model "Zappos" to more meaning orientation.
  • Always ask first: Why? - Also a very good book, which questions the purpose of organizations, but also individuals.
  • Big Five for Life - Who wants to get once in a story before the eyes, how a company feels, which pursues a sense. Also helpful for private orientation.
  • Purpose Driven Organisations - Unfortunately quite an expensive book, but very helpful if you really want to formulate a Purpose in your organization.
  • Tribal Leadership - This book shows very well the economic power of culture and that organizations can also develop in the direction of self-actualization.
  • What I never expected - Author: DM founder Götz Werner. This book describes very vividly how a vision and mission that was created more than 40 years ago still has an impact today.

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