Common Purpose Germany marked its 10th anniversary last month with a Masterclass for participants and alumni. Hosted in Berlin and attended by 80 alumni from across the country, the topic of the Masterclass was"Building for the Future - What is your idea of a good quality of life and how can we realise it?"
On the first night, the participants were hosted by EY high above the river Spree and were warmly welcomed by the Chair of Common Purpose Germany, Dr. Konstantin Mettenheimer, CEO, Julika Rollin and Programme Director for Berlin, Dr. Annette Lemke. In his opening keynote, Harald Preissler, a former manager of Mercedes Benz, spoke about the fact that when it comes to the future everyone has limited perspectives. To be able to deal with the future, leaders have to broaden their horizon, attempt to shape the future rather than wanting to understand it, think in scenarios, accept risks, be in touch with one's environment and make organisations smarter through observation, learning and communication.
The next day was packed with speeches, visits and exercises with both time for discussion and reflection. The actress Judith Engel of the prominent Berlin Theatre, 'Berliner Schaubühne', read an inspiring passage from Time for Outrage! written by Stéphane Hessel a French author and then member of the resistance. It was especially relevant to the theme of the Masterclass as it finished with a plea to the men and women who should create the 21st Century: "Creating something new means resisting; resisting means creating something new." Participants also heard from the Deputy Head of Political Planning of the Federal Chancellery, Dr. Andrea Schneider, who stated that in order to effectively build towards the future, leaders from other sectors must engage in a dialogue with politicians and voice their ideas, complaints or questions.
Then all participants set off - Common Purpose at its best - for ten different visits to various organisations, in order to better understand how quality of life in Germany can be improved in the future. They heard from Head of the Board of Enquiry for the new Berlin airport, who delivered fascinating insight into planning and building processes. They met with a top former manager, who quit his job after personal difficulties and founded the first supermarket-chain for vegan food in Germany. And they visited the Berlin Concert Hall, where the Director, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, asked the question "What does the future need classical music for?" - sparking a debate about how the cultural establishment might have to adapt in the future.
The participants then regrouped at the venue and concluded the day with intense debate and a special session with renowned sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude who really opened people's minds about ideas of class; eventually posing the question "what is everyone's responsibility in a more equitable society?"
The Masterclass was an impressive and rich experience for all of our alumni. In their words:
"It is worth looking properly and, as we did, we saw some uncomfortable truths."
"I became more aware of my own social responsibility and for the fact that I need to start shaping the future now."
"Common Purpose is the forum for meeting people who want to initiate change."
Common Purpose Germany is running another Masterclass later this year, open to all leaders. Whether you are a Common Purpose alumni looking to reconnect, or are interested in leadership development with Common Purpose, this is a great opportunity to explore what Common Purpose is all about. The next Masterclass, which will take place in Cologne/Rhineland on 13 November, 2014, will address the topic of"Taking time: How can we lead during increased complexity and excessive demands?" 60 participants are invited to hear from and discuss with senior leaders from organisations such as UPS, Lanxess, the Police and the Cologne Philharmonic.