It's been proposed before: What if companies were run like democracies? I mean, we live in a democratic society, don't we? We elect our leaders; choose our careers, our mates, where we live, what we do. Why should work be the only place where someone else tells us what to do?
Well, the fact is that we don't truly live in that democratic a society.
Yes, we elect our leaders, but that aside, they determine our laws and pretty much everything else that happens in the land based on an elaborate set of rules and checks and balances. In reality, "We the people" don't have much of a say.
And even if companies were run like democracies, employees wouldn't be doing the voting, as most people envision. Employees are nothing more than the hired help. Shareholders are actually the true stakeholders in companies, so they'd be the ones who actually got to vote.
That said, it's a topic that comes up more and more in our increasingly networked, crowd-sourced, and yes, entitled society. We can debate its merits all day long, but we're clearly heading in that direction. So, if you ever wondered what it might be like, here's a glimpse of ...
A Day in the Life of a Democratic Workplace
8:13 a.m. You wake up and stretch, completely relaxed after 9 hours of restful sleep. No need for an alarm clock since you can pretty much show up at work whenever.
9:45 a.m. On the drive into work you get a call from your administrative assistant reminding you not to forget about the big election rally for your boss's job. After the call you think, thank God we passed the "everyone gets an admin" rule last year. How did we ever get anything done before?
10:30 a.m. You attend the election rally where candidates for department manager make their campaign promises. It's pretty much the usual one-upmanship over raises and perks for the workers until one creative candidate comes up with a free wine-tasting bar on Mondays and Fridays ... to entice people to actually show up for work.
12:00 p.m. Hungry after the long event, you and your coworkers shlep down to the company's gourmet food court to treat yourselves to a nice steakhouse meal. Turns out you're not the only ones who had that idea, so you order a reserve cabernet sauvignon for the long wait. Yummy.
1:45 p.m. You make a quick stop at the Starbucks down the hall for a venti mocha frappuccino to get your energy level up for the two o'clock budget meeting.
2:00 p.m. As expected, the quarterly budget meeting is a real zoo - everyone lobbying and arguing - it's nuts. But eventually the division controller gets everything recorded and it turns out to be a record quarter ... for spending. But that's nothing new since that amendment passed - the one requiring a unanimous vote to shut down a project.
4:00 p.m. Back in your office, you plop down on the couch with your iPad and log in to vote on the weekly company-wide decisions. Some pretty hot stuff being crowd-sourced this week, like what features to include in the new product line, the ninth round of revisions on the new ad campaign, and whether to add a marijuana dispensary to the food court.
5:15 p.m. The valet takes forever to find your car, but you're finally on your way home after a long, hard day at the office. As you exit the parking lot, you pass a couple of big moving vans with Starving Students Corporate Repo marked on the side. Wonder what that's all about?Steve Tobak on Twitter or Facebook
Image Lars Plougmann via Flickr