Great Harvest Supports Democratic Workplaces

Great Harvest Supports Democratic Workplaces

Be Happy. Be Productive. Be Profitable.

Last week I attended an exceptional conference in San Francisco WorldBlu List 2011hosted by an international organization called Worldblu . WorldBlu’s vision is to unleash human potential and inspire freedom by championing the growth of democratic organizations worldwide. Their leader, Traci Fenton, is nothing short of remarkable and is on a quest to see 1 billion people working in free and democratic workplaces in her lifetime. Heady stuff, but why not aim high with such a lofty goal?


Great Harvest Franchising was honored, along with several other companies, for receiving the “The Most Democratic Workplace” award.  This is the fifth consecutive year Great Harvest has received this award.

Among the other featured members are:





Menlo Innovations


There were some truly inspiring business leaders in attendance, not the least of which was Susan Paul at Happy Work Consulting based out of the Oakland. Her mission in life is to help people capitalize on their strengths rather than obsess over their shortcomings.


Susan introduced me to a Wall Street Journal Bestselling book called Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. Have you read it? It’s based on a 40-year Gallup study of human strengths and explores the question “do I have the opportunity to do what I do best at work every day?” In other words, where do I have the most potential for greatness?


I know personally I will never be an award-winning statistician, software developer or physicist and I’m more than good with that…and thankfully none of my bosses have thought those were particular weaknesses that I needed to develop. According to Rath, if your manager/boss focuses on your weaknesses you are 22 percent more likely to be disengaged, as opposed to 1 percent if the focus in on your strengths. Of course those percentages impact the bottomline of a business. Makes sense.


At the conference I was introduced to a “Chief Happiness Officer,” too. Alexander Kjerulf of Denmark (happiest country in the world) holds that title and is the author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5.

He says happy people are the most productive and creative in the workplace and in life. Again, it makes perfect sense. He shared a very fun youtube video called Valerie’s Happy Bathroom – Don’t Worry, Pee Happy as an example of how to be happy even if you have a “crappy job.” Check it out. It will make you smile.


Kjerulf also shared the following workplace happiness thoughts:


• Write down three things that were good about your day everyday. It will make you measurably more happy.

• Ask yourself throughout the day “how am I feeling” to help you regulate negative emotions.

• Initiate random acts of workplace happiness. It is good for the soul.


To learn more about Kjerulf’s workplace happiness initiative, visit


It was a great conference that covered workplace democracy principles such as transparency, integrity, decentralization, accountability, and fairness and dignity. Good stuff!


One last thing, I wanted to say congratulations to Menlo Innovations. Their business model is the feature story in this month’s edition of Inc. magazine.

It’s an article worth reading and proves that democracy in the workplace, while not easy, is worth the effort and the rewards.


Do you have any strategies about stayinng happy in your workplace?