What do successful companies like Zappos, Pandora, Glassdoor, and Menlo Innovations have in common? Based on extensive Wordblu research, they have made what I'm about to expound on your cerebral cortex central to how they operate.

These companies have cracked the code on designing workplaces where people feel a sense of citizenship, and see themselves as stewards of the culture and the company. Here we go...

Give the People What They Want -- Freedom

What was good for the Industrial Age is completely obsolete in today's relationship economy, yet most companies still operate this way.

Back in the old days, hierarchy and "do what you're told" worked. Bodies performed simplified, repetitive tasks on the production line, needing commands and direction from the ivory tower.

Today's talent want a flat structure that allows the freedom to be inclusive so they can collaborate, participate, innovate and self-organize. Worldblu research shows that organizations that promote freedom-centered leadership (versus, hierachical, fear-based leadership) create cultures in which everybody--regardless of title, rank or position--has the choice and responsibility to exercise leadership skills.

Sound too soft for you environment? The companies in the research that promote an inverted pyramid of freedom, autonomy and democracy saw an average cumulative revenue growth rate over a three-year period that was 6.7 times greater than that of the S&P 500 companies.

There are certain things that leaders in freedom-centered workplaces do. Be prepared, this may make you cringe.

No, Not the 'T' Word!

Yes, transparency is the new normal, and executives that hoard information have to adapt. The more information they hold back, the less knowledge their employees will have, which puts them in an unfavorable position to make better decisions.

What do I mean by "transparency?" Well, it's going beyond the traditional business definition of full disclosure of financial information to investors. This is simply too narrow a focus.

In a freedom-oriented work culture, information has to flow freely among managers and employees, and then outward to shareholders. Your people can't innovate or function well at the rate and speed you want unless they have access to relevant, timely, and valid information.

Out with information-hoarding managers sitting behind closed doors masterminding another change of direction that will blindside employees; in with honest, transparent servant leaders who have their best people in mind, value their potential, and shine the spotlight brightly on them.