Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ricardo Semler

Have you heard of Ricardo Semler? He's the CEO of Semco, a Brazilian company that has revolutionized the idea of what business is about. Semler's philosophy is that allowing people at work to be autonomous, setting their own schedule, choosing their own wages, diversifying their work roles, supports a life/work balance that increases productivity and decreases turnover rate. And it's working. According to this 2004 article: "Here at Semco we are doing something else --- we are saying everyone is a responsible adult. Currently, staff already make decisions about their kids. They elect governors and mayors. They know what they want to buy and what they do not. It is absolutely crazy, the idea that people are still concerned about how things are done. The bosses here do not say -- you are five minutes late or how come this worker in the plant is going to the bathroom?

In life we do not give employees enough leeway. If you look around Semco's office there are plenty of empty desks. The question is -- where are these people? I do not have the slightest idea, but I am not interested...

The point is that if we do not let people do things they way they want to do them, we will never know what they are really capable of and they will just follow our boarding school rules."

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