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Workplaces people love (and how corporate rebels find each other)

I reckon everyone deserves the chance to be happy and contribute in their work - whatever it is.

I’m one of an increasing crew of people passionate about and dedicated to transforming organisations, their impact on the planet – and unleashing the potential of the people working in them.

This movement is known in many forms – ‘next stage organisations,’ ‘teal’, ‘self-management’, ‘self-organisation’ – and more. No matter what you call it though – it’s a massive shift, an evolution, in the way we think, and act, in our organisations.

I believe it is an idea whose time has come, and there are more and more people contributing to this movement, including the Corporate Rebels.

Pim, Joost and Freek are the Corporate Rebels, plain speaking Dutch guys boldly meeting with inspiring leaders around the world, and sharing all they’ve learned. No overdosing on theory here, just practical and inspiring wisdom from those who are ‘walking the talk’ in their own companies in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

I was curious about them, and hoping I could catch one of their events in Europe one day. I had even thought about asking them to host an event back in Australia. Caught up in other things, it slipped my mind.

Our organisation, Campfire Co-op, and the people in it, are on the long path towards ‘teal’, and practising more human ways of organising. That path lead me to 10 weeks of learning in Europe earlier this year, including creating and delivering a new 2-day workshop called Self-organisation works! with colleagues Nora, Erwin, Stefan and Melinda.

While in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, we serendipitously ended up staying at the apartment of Corporate Rebels Pim and Joost, though AirBnB!

Above: a selection of Corporate Rebel's essential reading, from Pim and Joost's apartment

Once I realised the seemingly random connection – a few quick emails, a phone call and a meeting later, we not only had a place to stay, but we had partnered to bring a Rebel Masterclass to Brisbane – which later grew to include Sydney.

What I love about Rebels Pim, Joost and Freek, is their youthful energy, and determination to just get on with it, without fuss or pretention. They saw something was wrong with organisations, so they set out to contribute to a solution.

In this case, the ‘it’ is creating workplaces people love – and taking the big mystery out of it. This is something we very much share. They are also committed to plain language and simple ideas that can be applied by any business. They have a raft of friends and family who read their blog posts, picking up any jargon that might appear, and 'keeping them honest'.

"It’s time to start asking employees what they want in the workplace, regardless of their age and regardless of the generation they belong to. Only then we can make a radical shift in the way we organize work. Only then we can create more human, more engaging and more thriving organizations."

Their boldness and energy has caught the attention of traditional organisations such as agricultural multinational bank Rabobank, Ing Direct and fashion design firm Hugo Boss, in Europe and Australia, among others.

They've held masterclasses in Berlin, London, and The Netherlands, a country where the idea and practice of self-management is thriving. Australian organisations have been slow to catch on to this movement, and my dearest hope is that the Corporate Rebels’ visit will help change that, even a little.

We’re delighted to have the chance to host Pim, Joost and Freek, and all of their learnings, in Brisbane and Sydney (with partners Jeder Institute) this month – to highlight to Australian organisations just what’s possible when people love being at work.

They’ll bring with them examples from the corporate, education, manufacturing, and NGO and government sectors. We’ll learn the 8 habits of pioneering organisations, and work on actions for our own organisations.

Just last month, these young Rebels were honoured on the shortlist of the Thinkers50 Awards, known as the ‘Oscars of Management thinking’, in the Breakthrough Idea category.

Be prepared to have your thinking challenged – and get rebellious with us!

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