A Company of Owners
Last week the entire Seventh Generation staff headed to Trapp Family Lodge
in a Stowe, Vermont, for our annual two day retreat. (The Trapp family is the same one of Sound of Music fame.) The Lodge is a frequent destination for Seventh Gen meetings. It sits high upon a wonderful hill, giving you the impression that the world is at your door. Hundreds of acres of forest provide trails for hiking, snow shoeing or cross country skiing that wind through some of Stowe’s most amazing wilderness.
The theme of our retreat was a question: What does it mean to be an owner of our company?
What does it means to hold the whole of our company rather than its individual parts in all that we do?
14% of the company is now owned by our employees. The goal is to grow that to 50% over the next five years. How do we grow our capability to be owners in a world filled with employees?
In addition to thinking about these things, we also explored our greatest hopes and aspirations for the company. We talked about what rituals and taboos both stand in the way as well as must be developed to ensure we create the type of organization that will manifest its potential.
Here are some of the taboo’s we discussed wanting to create. It should be taboo:
- not to care relentlessly about others and the whole company
- to practice passive non-comprehension
- not to commit ourselves to our own development
- not to consider our consumers in all that be do
- to use “reply all” when answering your email messages
Over the next months we will take the things that we believe need to be taboo and turn them into managing principles that guide our behavior.