Travelogue Part 4/4: The Evolutionary Purpose10 Apr 2021
When I was thinking about the purpose of life in the past, I had this one purpose in mind that one needs to discover in life. For me, this task seemed too big to ever be able to achieve it. Today, I view things differently. The purpose of life is multi-layered, constantly changing, and does not need to be defined once and for all to give life meaning.
The same applies to companies because, in essence, a company is nothing else than an organism that follows an inner purpose. Companies are founded to fulfill a purpose.
1. Finding Purpose
When /gebrüderheitz was founded, that did not seem to be the case. We did not have a big vision that we wanted to change the world with. The agency was created because my brother Claudius and I simply saw synergies - he is an information scientist, I am a designer. Together, we can create additional value for our customers. That’s also the way we described it on our website: Our slogan was, “We combine solid technology with an appealing design.”
Soon after the company’s foundation, we already had the first employees on board. This posed the question for us how we wanted to shape collaboration. Agencies are known for overloading and exploiting their employees. That’s what we didn’t want to do, of course. And that’s how we discovered an element of the purpose that we have been pursuing ever since: organizing work in such a way that it makes us happy. Until today, this has been an important part of the purpose of our existence. It is expressed in our company value of “Happiness”. This purpose led us into the direction of a teal organization.
2. Sense and Purpose
It took years for me to understand another, deeper sense of the existence of our agency. We are not a startup that sets a specific goal for itself, such as, e.g., Tesla: “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport” and so on. We are service providers - and that we are with all our hearts. It is our purpose to help our customers. With our skills, we want to support them in achieving their goals. That’s what it says on our website today.
So it is our purpose to enable our customers to achieve their goals. That’s why it is important for us to understand those goals in order to achieve a successful collaboration. We need to know what our customers want to achieve and why so that we can support them meaningfully. For this reason, we take time in the first conversation, during the project, and after its completion to properly get to know our customers and their needs.
It’s self-evident that it especially motivates us when we find those goals worthy of support. I think that a strong purpose has an enormous power to inspire humans. That’s why we pay more and more attention to whom and what we are supporting. We are currently in the process of getting certified as a B Corp to better express this mindset.
3. Change of Purpose
When understanding the development of our company as a journey, the purpose is like a compass. With each new junction, we can be oriented towards it: is this path in accordance with our purpose? From time to time, it’s also important to ask whether the common purpose has changed. In any case, I am sure that the purpose will change and develop on our journey.
For example, I am currently observing a great excitement among the team to tell others about our company. Who knows, maybe we will, in the future, offer other organizations some sort of “travel companionship” for the journey towards teal? Or we might develop tools that can support companies working remotely. Or we will do something completely different. I don’t know, and I don’t need to know. I don’t feel the need anymore to push the company towards a certain direction or predict the future. The company is 11 years old now and thus old enough to make its own decisions.
A few weeks ago, Sandra held a vision workshop for the whole team. Since we are on a journey, she structured the workshop around the topic journey. She asked us to draw postcards with sights on the “journey” of our company. I liked that a lot.
I had turned it over in my mind and asked myself what I wanted to see. And then I realized that I was actually just curious about what the others wanted to see but didn’t have an agenda of my own. I felt like a parent staying at home and feeling happy about their children’s incoming postcards.
I am very excited to see where the journey will lead us and keep being curious and open about how /gebrüderheitz will develop.
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