Earlier this year, Spook Studio, the home of the Happy Startup School were proudly listed as one of 41 Worldblu accredited Most Democratic Workplaces in world. Alongside some of the other listed organisations creating waves in 21st Century business, Propellernet, Nixon McInnes & Delivering Happiness (all present at our summercamp in 2014) we were delighted Miranda Ash, Worldblu’s Chief Community Evangelist also joined us to run one of the most in-demand workshops of the weekend.
She taught us how you can start actioning democratic management techniques, the winning formula for success in your business…
Tell us a bit about you and the work you do with Worldblu
I trained as a Social Worker in the USA (although I’m British) but after several years working in a broken system back in the UK I decided to leave the profession and in desperation (pay the bills) I ended up working in the most unhappy, dictatorial workplace and a big bad corporate. This was the beginning of a 13 year journey that led me to WorldBlu. During that time I worked for large and small companies and charities. The common thread through most of them was that everyone was unhappy and disengaged at work. As a result the organisations seems to be standing still due to a lack of innovation and creativity.
In my spare time I founded a local community arts charity working with adults with mental health, substance abuse and homelessness problems. We ran the organisation democratically without really realising it.
Several years later I met Traci Fenton, the Founder and CEO of WorldBlu, and realised that democracy in the workplace IS a reality. Six months later I quit my job and started working with WorldBlu. That was nearly 5 years ago and I haven’t looked back!
I’m the Chief Community Evangelist and Master Design Coach which involves working directly with organisations around the world to help them learn and grow in their application of Freedom at Work.
Why do you think it is so important for entrepreneurs to practice freedom in the workplace?
I believe it’s easier to start your organisation democratically from the start rather than transforming at a later date. In fact, the majority of the organisations on The WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces started that way and many are still led by the original founder. Freedom at work increases innovation, creativity, makes you more agile and responsive to change. Freedom-centered organisations around the world are outperforming their competitors by 3 times meaning that it’s a sound business strategy. Quite frankly, practicing freedom at work is easier, faster and more fun than working in a dictatorship!
In what ways can startups begin to build a democratic business?
We advocate intentionally DESIGNING your startups based on a set of 10 principles which form the foundation of your organisation. Everyone puts these principles into practice in different ways and the workshops I facilitate explore some of the ways you can do that!
Tell us one crazy fact about you :)
Ah, such a tough one! Crazy fact – I used to play Women’s Rugby….badly (and coached Men’s Rugby at Uni)! Broke several bones but still got to the national championships!
Missed Miranda’s workshop at camp this year? Join us in 2015 for the weekend of your life ›› www.happystartupsummer.camp