Q: Is there an example of a company who allows employees to vote for their leaders?
A: Brainpark creates software products to make the workplace more collaborative, transparent, and efficient. Their products reduce duplicate work, increase awareness, and facilitate an environment for people to help each other.
They also practice what they preach. Every six months the 17 employees at Brainpark evaluate whether the company's leaders are adding value and if the leaders need to change or change their role in the organization. As part of the evaluation process, the team has the ability to vote a leader out of the company if they are not performing to the level they need to be for their role.
This process makes the collective group responsible for the future of the company and empowers it to make critical decisions that hold more weight than a leaders personal agenda. It also assures the leader that his or her contribution is still valued and respected and makes him aware of any areas where he can improve.
"We believe that living by democratic principles at work is the right thing to do," says Mark Dowds, the co-founder and CEO (pictured left). "As a bi-product we function more transparently and own the success and challenge of work together. We are aware that no one person on our team is smarter than the collective whole, which shapes how we approach problems and make decisions."
Workplace democracy at Brainpark doesn't stop with electing their leaders. Twice a year, Brainpark gathers as a company offsite for a few days for an all-staff retreat. Anyone on the team can post a topic for dialogue and facilitate a session for any interested individuals. This open retreat structure gives staff space to bring up all emerging ideas and issues that they wish to voice. It also enables the rapid creation of task groups to respond to the various topics.
The Brainpark software interface allows users to learn who is researching and working on what within an organization at any given time. By using the software within their own company, Brainpark employees increase their awareness and understanding of each other's contributions to project goals. They are also able to more easily collaborate and learn from one another.
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This is the second in a series of "Weekly Democracy at Work Tips," brought to you by WorldBlu, which seeks "to unleash human potential and inspire freedom by championing the growth of democratic organizations worldwide. The annual WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplacesâ„¢ is a groundbreaking global award that shines a spotlight on visionary organizations successfully practicing organizational democracy.
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