Common good and corporate vision

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

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 making this idea sustainable. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your support!

With this free space behind us, we were able to deal with 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 is encouraged!

Kickoff workshop for the team

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 great and inspiring visions underline this thesis:

  • "Taking humanity to the moon"
  • "Taking humanity to Mars"
  • "Making mobility CO2 neutral"
  • "Making the energy supply CO2 neutral".
  • "Abolish Apartheid"

Who is behind the individual visions? This was also our introduction to the workshop, in order to deal with the topic of "visions" in the first place 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. For Generation Y in particular, 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-realisation.

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

However, self-realisation that does not include society or a higher purpose feels empty in the end. Since Raidboxes is also supposed to convey meaning over decades, we needed a vision. A story that illustrates this can be found here. For those who do not yet know Maslow, please refer to Wikipedia.

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:

  • Brainstorming: The most important rule in brainstorming is to eliminate the critic. People tend to evaluate every idea directly. "Yes, but..." is the first natural impulse. In brainstorming, it is essential that the facilitator stops this. 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 flipchart around the central question
  • Prioritise: Now all the ideas are on the wall or flipchart. Now silence should return and everyone should evaluate for themselves which expression they feel most emotionally connected to. Afterwards, everyone may circle the statement that touches them the most emotionally. This decision should definitely be made on the basis of gut feeling. Rationality can be completely disregarded here.
More Common Good, Please! First Steps Towards a Corporate Vision
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

What is the overarching emotional purpose that can contribute to the common good? The vast majority identified most with "Boundless Opportunities". In the end, we agreed that Raidboxes should contribute to more equal opportunities.

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

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Next step: Workshop Part 2

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 going into even more practical details. Here we used a tool called the common good balance sheet to work 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 those 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 beautifully describes 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" towards more sense orientation.
  • Always ask first: Why - Also a very good book, which questions the purpose of organizations, but also individuals.
  • Big Five for Life - For those who want to see in a story what a company feels like, what a purpose is. Also helpful for private orientation.
  • Purpose Driven organizations - 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 towards self-realisation.
  • What I never expected - Author: DM founder Götz Werner. This book vividly describes how a vision and mission that emerged more than 40 years ago is still having an impact today.

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