It is a month I end up thinking about it for a number of reasons. One of those is we are hoping to hear soon that we have been recognized again as one of the most democratic companies in the world by WorldBlu. Since it is front of mind for me this time of year, people ask me what I think organizational democracy really means.
I think there are two ways to define a term. What it is and what it isn’t. First, what it is. I think true organizational democracy is accomplished with two words. Voice and respect. Everyone gets a voice. Everyone gets an audience. And, everyone gets treated with respect. But with that, one also has to define everyone. Business is always a two way street. For one to earn the privilege to be heard, they have to earn that through working toward the same common goal with everyone else. That doesn’t mean people have to be yes people. That is a dictatorship. It does mean people have to have a common goal and value system to work together in harmony.
And, what it isn’t. Again, very plainly, organizational democracy is not everyone is in charge or lines of authority don’t exist. Someone has to make decisions. That someone can be a group or an individual leader or different people for different decisions. But, decisions do have to be made and, once made, people have to respect that. Decisions not respected or forced are not democracy. There is another word for that situation. Chaos.
Thanks for reading.