A ‘why not?’ workplace

Together with colleagues, Zena and John, I have been visiting the most inspiring workplace I have ever seen, which is SUMA Wholefoods in Yorkshire.

SUMA is a democratic business, run by the people who work there. There is no job titles as you mix around and choose what jobs you want to do for the weeks ahead, in the warehouse, on the roads or in the office. There is no boss.

And it works. SUMA pays sixty per cent higher than their comparators, people sort things because it is their cooperative and they are innovative because they can follow their interests. SUMA has just pioneered the first ever food packaging that is both recycled and recyclable, for example. The mindset is ‘why not?’

With 150 staff, they have learned and innovated their way to success. The culture encourages caution but also resilience. The result is the most democratic experiment on working life in Europe.

And it feels so natural, when you are there. Every organisation needs the spirit of SUMA – the why not workplace.

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