It is a tradition exemplified by the entrepreneur Dr. Michael Otto: taking responsibility, putting responsibility into action, delegating responsibility. As an international corporation, the Otto Group needs and benefits from the freedom of global economic activity. But it also knows that economic freedom and responsibility for people and the planet are two sides of the same coin. The financial and economic crisis has clearly shown how fragile the structure we call the global economy is – and that business without responsibility leads to crisis.
This is why the Otto Group has once again summed up and encapsulated its values. It calls on each employee to get involved and take on their share of responsibility - for what they do; for how they do it; and for anything that can be improved, however big or small. At the core of the new mission statement are four values, or “dimensions” to which the Otto Group feels especially committed.
The first dimension is profitability. This forms the basis for the others. Only profitable companies are in a position to assume responsibility for others.
Dimension two is innovation. Only those who are open to new ideas can optimise products, services and internal processes in the long term.
Dimension three is diversity. You have to keep looking at ideas from different perspectives if you are going to act with precision in increasingly fragmented markets.
Dimension four is sustainability. Only those who treat people and nature with great respect can ensure their own long-term survival.
The Otto Group does not condone ‘looking the other way’ and ‘turning one’s back’, as impressively documented on the Group’s mission website. In 2011, all Otto Group employees were called on to realise 4,000 personal commitments. Response was huge: 4,500 commitments had been registered – from a concept for new target groups, to optimising printer drivers, to numerous volunteer activities by Otto Group employees.
"Responsibility is the core of our corporate mission," says Alexander Birken, Spokesman OTTO. "Our employees instil sustainability in the core business, develop new ideas and are proactive about taking on personal responsibility: in 2011 alone, more than 100 of them were active volunteers in our Young ClassX music project. This is the attitude that enables us to remain successful in the market long-term while also fulfilling our responsibility to society.”
The Power of Responsibility was initiated by the Otto Group Executive Board in 2010. The idea that the future requires guiding values wasn’t new to them. However, the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 once again made it very clear "that business without responsibility leads to crisis" - as Otto Group CEO Hans-Otto Schrader puts it. He led the task force that developed the content and communication of the Group’s new mission. Their reflections centred on the question of how the Otto Group can proactively harness the potential of all its employees and companies to meet the challenges of the future.
The symbol chosen for the Power of Responsibility mission evokes both a flame and a wing. The flame represents the fire that burns inside those who embrace responsibility, the spark that serves to kindle responsible engagement in others, too. The wing symbolises the energetic momentum that a sense of responsibility can trigger.