Workplace democracy is the application of democracy in all its forms (including voting systems, debates, democratic structuring, due process, adversarial process, systems of appeal, and so on) to the workplace. (via wikipedia)
One fine evening my colleage Polo asked me something:
I also have a question. Why are you asking me about the working environment?? This office belongs to each one of us. So everyones’ comments count. And it should be an open democratic discussion.
The question was definitely good and very valid. Off-course she didn’t know that she wasn’t the only one. But, more than that question which was more of a curiosity, I was keen to find-out the answer to a question that had triggered in my mind because of that.
How do you gauge the feedback of people in your young startup? What works best to gather the feedback of your PEOPLE in building a healthy work place? What provides a sense of comfort level to them? How do you push them from their normally boundaries of being mere EMPLOYEES to STAKEHOLDERS in a participative environment?
We are constantly advocating the People Centric Model in our work approach. While I understand that proponents claim that the new model of Organization Centric Alignment is far more effective, here is a thought why ‘People Centric’ still work strongly.
Coming back to our ‘People Centric Model’ and its implications in a team environment, this is what I visualized:
Driving Team: The captain/s
Colleague: The team-members
You could follow one-to-one discussions between the members of driving team:
- One on one discussion between driving team members. A collection of experience and traits observed by them so far based on what they haved assessed and observed.
- Many-to-many discussions between colleagues/team: On several occassions, your colleagues have pep-talks about what could have been better or what could have been improved. These are off-the record conversations but certainly very crucial
- Feedback model: One to one (driving team to colleague). [Individual Democracy] The purpose of these discussions is to gauge an individual feedback. It is primarily based on what h/she has experienced as an individual.
One to many (Driving Team to Colleagues) [Team Democracy]: We also conduct periodic open discussions between the entire team to gauge everyone’s feedback. These are cyclic discussions, where each and every individual states what he/she likes and dislikes.
Recapping our ‘Philosophy’. Our mantra is quite simple & straightforward and we don’t have a 40-page mission document :)
- Be honest to yourself, your team and to your stakeholders
- Respect your stakeholders and mutually build a feeling of trust and integrity for each others
- Never treat clients as money-vending machines, treat them as partners
- Take full responsibility of your work
- Never promise anything which you cannot deliver.
- In addition, never hide anything from your team
- Use the expertise of your network to create winning solutions
- Add the following words to your spam list: ‘Cheating’, ‘Un-ethical’ & ‘Hidden’.
- Lastly, treat work as a mashup of fun & seriousness.
Let me end this note with some powerful quotations on People-Centric Leadership by ‘Barry -Wehmiller’.
“We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.”
We commit to a sustained leadership model that creates a culture where each of us returns home with a sense of fulfillment.
Are you running a democratic people-centric start-up? Would like to hear your thoughts?