I spent today at a conference that accompanies the announcement of Denmarks best workplaces, arranged by the greatplacetowork institute of Denmark. This year the winner is Kjaer group from my hometown Svendborg who sell cars to developing countries. Their motto is “Love cars, love people, love life”. You gotta love that.
The day was fairly interesting, though I have to admit that once you get used to the efficiency, spirit and energy of open space meetings, more traditional conferences such as this one seem a waste of time. I did manage to get in some good conversations with other participants, though tellingsly enough, these all happened in the breaks.
The keynote speaker was Robert Levering of the original great place to work institute. He set an international context by telling some stories from other such events in the rest of the worlds. Nice to know that the focus on creating good work places is growing all over the world. He also announced that the institute will focus more on the “how” of good workplaces; so far it’s only been about measuring the current status.
The next couple of events were moslty forgettable with a few interesting highlights. This includes the panel debates; my life is too short for panel debates, though a good side effect seems to be, that while I’m thoruoghly bored by what’s being said I seem to get a lot of good ideas.
The day ended with Peter Aalbaek of Zentropa, who has some very interesting ideas about how to run a company. Among other things he:
* Once walked into the accounting department with a straight face and no pants (or underwear) on and asked for some invoice
* Demands that people work menial and gruelling tasks for six months for free, before hiring them for real
* Insists that contracts for employees are merely a sign that you expect trouble
* Claims that it is the job of the workplace to save employees from their otherwise meaningless and boring existence.