Democracy in the Workplace Day
Didja know today is Democracy in the Workplace Day?
'Tis true. It's a day to celebrate companies that are run democratically and are built around principles like transparency, decentralization, accountability, and choice.
34 companies from the US, Canada, Russia, and Holland made the list, including Great Harvest Bread Company, GE Aviation’s Durham Engine Facility, Honest Tea, 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Linden Labs, the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Threadless, and Zaadz.
Some of the practices from companies on the list are awesome (paraphrasing the press release):
- At Linden Labs, key financial data is openly shared in real-time on giant flat-screen TVs, employees are encouraged to chose their own work rather than be told by someone else what to do, and they show their appreciation for one another by “sending love” through their “Love Machine” software (more on their democratic culture on their blog)
- The Grammy-award winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in NYC is completely conductorless, rotating leadership amongst orchestra members.
- At Equal Exchange, the employee-owners elect their Board of Directors and hold six of the nine seats.
- GE Aviation’s Durham Engine Facility is flat, with just one Plant Manager for 260 employees.
I haven't written much about democracy in the workplace here yet, but I believe that we are about to see some significant change in the way businesses are organized and run. Counterproductive hierarchy and fascism in business are remnants of the industrial age. It's companies like those on the list that are riding technological advances and cultural change to build agile, fun, and profitable businesses that will thrive in the democratic age.