April 14


Nine Examples of Freedom@Work

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Free Companies
Nine Examples of Freedom@Work
Here, in the Czech republic, we have been working on evangelizing freedom at work quite ferociously in the past year or so. Since our first kick-off conference there have been a series of monthly workshops in Prague named Setkavani ke svobode. People from freedom based companies from all over the Czech republic and Slovakia have been gathering and producing some amazing results. We shot several stunning talks (CSOB, EtNetera,…) and shared them all on-line.
Mainly for this reason, I did not find time to write to this blog… which I want to change now :-).
For the time being, let me share few examples of freedom at work from our friends @Worldblu who have been a great inspiration for us a long time… Thanks, Traci!


1. At Achievers, based in San Francisco and Toronto, their “MasterPlan” vision document isn’t created in the C-suite, it’s drafted, reviewed and updated annually by employees, the Board of Directors, and even clients and posted in part on their giant MasterPlan board (see photo above). When faced with a recent expansion opportunity, in order to maintain their democratic culture, Achievers created an internal committee of old and new employees called “Culture Up The Office” to spearhead scaling up the culture.

2. Manchester, NH-based Dyn (pronounced ‘dine’) solicited ideas from their employees through an internal version of Pinterest before moving into their new 25,000 square foot facility. In the last year since fine tuning democratic management, they’ve increased annual revenue from $10 million to $17 million, opened offices on the West Coast and in Europe, and more than doubled their employee count.3. Since transitioning their company to a democratic workplace just a year ago, Tickled Media, a publishing company in Singapore with millions of subscribers across Asia, has seen revenues spike 800 percent. CEO, Roshni Mahtani, explains, “Tickled Media’s democratic practices have made its employees happier. They want to come to work and they take ownership for what they do.”

4.Mike Ferretti, CEO of Great Harvest Bread Company, a six-time WorldBlu List certified company with over 230 franchises operating in the US says, “We’re into our third decade in business and truly believe the democratic principles we follow have kept Great Harvest relevant and agile.”

5. “Businesses that are open to organizational democracy are usually nimble, resourceful and actively maximizing their human potential,” comments Kim Jordan, CEO of Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewery, which has over 350 employees and boasts a 97 percent retention rate. “When people feel knowledgeable about the process and that their views are respected and heard, then you have created a community where good ideas and talent can flourish without restraint.”

6. DaVita is honored to once again be recognized as the only healthcare and FORTUNE 500 company on WorldBlu’s List of Most Democratic Workplaces,” said Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita. “At  DaVita we are proud to be a community first and a company second.”  DaVita is a $7 billion company with over 35,000 employees.

7. Social media firm NixonMcInnes, based in Brighton, England, has monthly “Church of Fail” meetings where all employees are invited to share their failures – in a non-threatening and fun way and ultimately to resounding applause. They also have an employee-elected rewards team to scrutinize and approve all pay rises – right up to the CEO. The company is achieving double-digit revenue growth.

8. At Zappos.com, headquartered in Henderson, NV, there are “Skip Meetings” held twice a year where everyone has the opportunity to interact with their manager’s manager. They share ideas, feedback and solutions, providing a direct voice-of-the-people perspective on how to drive positive change in their departments.

9. Namasté Solar, based in Boulder, CO, has nearly 100 employees and has sustained a 100 percent compound annual growth rate over the past six years, attributing much of their rapid growth to their democratic decision-making model. “At Namasté Solar we have experienced firsthand how organizational democracy can translate into financial viability, consumer loyalty, community recognition and support,” comments Blake Jones, co-founder and CEO.

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