Article from Willem-Jan Vos
In the book “Maverick” Ricardo Semler discusses the success story behind the world’s most unusual workplace: Semco. Semco manufactures a range of products. It are not the products that make Semco extraordinary, but the manner in which Semco’s employees produce these products. Semler’s story is about Semco in the period from early 80s to early 90s. During this period he developed revolutionary ideas on democratic management and transforms Semco to a successful organization. Ideas that are derived from the simple question: “How can my employees become really happy?”.
Semler does things different than organizations that rely on traditional autocratic management style. Semler chose a decentralized participative style. According to Semler too many rules and pressure from above hinder the creativity of employees. Semco’s employees not only determine their own working hours, salary and boss. They also decide on production, how they dress and have full access to the various types of financial information. It is, however, necessary to perform under constant pressure from competitors and the erratic Brazilian economy. According to Semler, the era of power and control is definitely over. Freedom and taking responsibility are the core values of Semco. This involves capitalizing on common values such as love, trust and transparancy. The following infographic (click to enlarge) explains the story of Semler in more detail.