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Are you a maverick?

Many people fear employing people and/or do not enjoy the management of business.

There are lots of theories of business and people management but an interest take on the topic can be found in a company in Brazil. The owner is Ricardo Semleris whose book “Maverick” is thought-provoking and fun.

His book was the all-time best-selling nonfiction book in Brazil’s history.  It has been covered by the news media worldwide and the Harvard School of Business. It tells the story of how he took over from his Dad and turned Semco (the company) upside down and inside out.

At the age of 21 Ricardo  took charge from his Dad after telling him he would do his own thing if he didn’t get 100% control. His Dad agreed and the first thing he did was dismiss the entire executive level. He went on to eliminate nine layers of management and allows employees unprecedented democracy in the workplace.

Ricardo’s objective was to create an environment in which others make decisions. There are no receptionists, no dress code and workers set their own salaries!

He turned an aging corporation into the most revolutionary business success story of its time that defied recession, constant strikes, overwhelming inflation, and more. The key is that workers participate in major decisions and share in 22 percent of the profits.

Profits shared are negotiated with workers, who then decide how to split the money. Employees work in clusters or teams and can paint their area how they see fit. Some look like the bad dreams of an interior decorator suffering from food poisoning.

Unions work with management and employees come in when they want to.

Before people are hired  or promoted to leadership positions, they are interviewed and approved by everyone who must work for them. Every six months, managers are reviewed by workers and results are posted for everyone to see. Profit and loss sheets are also posted. All workers are taught how to read financial statements.

Here are a few of the ways he revolutionized Semco:

  • Eliminated the traditional organization chart
  • Let workers set their own hours and pay scale
  • Encouraged workers to learn each other’s jobs
  • Encouraged workers to suggest changes in any department
  • Shared all company financial information openly
  • Limited all memos including marketing reports to one page in length
  • Allowed workers to review their supervisors performance
  • Accepted strikes as normal, vowed to maintain all benefits, and to never fire anyone during or after a strike


Could you use any ideas or a new approach in your business?