According to twenty-nine different speakers at Worldblu Live! 2008, the answer is "Yes."
Worldblu CEO Traci Fenton put together a collection of CEOs, thought leaders and speakers who offered first-hand accounts of what's happening--for real--in businesses that are being run democratically and profitably.
Here at All Things Workplace--and other online publications--the daily discussions about leadership, careers, and organizations are really about how workplaces operate. I've been genuinely fortunate to have worked in the activities of some of the world's largest corporations. That's what led me to attend the conference. After nearly 30 years of organizational design and leadership development, it can still be a heck of a battle when it comes to freeing up the energy and potential that exists in those organizations. The issue is this:
In an era with no shortage of behavioral research and employee survey data the operative model for most companies is still some version of command-and-control. This reflects a hierarchical military model designed for missions totally different from that of business entities. Here we are in 2008 applying Theory X assumptions in futile attempts to "engage" workers who state explicitly that they are Theory Y human beings.
If you are one of those who still feels uneasy about the words "democracy" and "business" in the same phrase, it's no walk in the park. Personal responsibility is the cornerstone of successful national democracies everywhere we find them in the world. The same is true of organizational democracies.
Have a look at Democracy In The Workplace to see the foundational assumptions and principles involved.
Personally, it was energizing and affirming to spend two days in discussions with exciting people like Mark Dowds, Mike Ferretti of Great Harvest Bread Company, creativity and personal mastery expert Dr. Srikumar Rao of Columbia University, and good friends Alex Kjerulf, The Chief Happiness Officer and employee engagement expert/author Michael Lee Stallard.
Each segment of the conference was professionally videotaped and will, according to Traci, be made available. I'll keep you posted; each segment is an opportunity for a lot of learning.
Congratulations to Erik Rebstock!
Erik is the winner of Kevin Eikenberry's Remarkable Leadership Learning System . Erik's name was randomly selected from our email subscribers as part of last week's interview with Kevin.