Leading by Omission

Ricardo Semler

Dit is een opname van een presentatie die Ricardo Semler in 2005 heeft gegeven voor het M.I.T instituut. Hij beschrijft hierin hoe hij tegenover het leiden van zijn organisatie Semco staat, en dat deze manier van leiden en organiseren zeer succesvol is.
Kernwoorden daarbij zijn: loslaten, zelfsturing, zelforganisatie, omdenken, structuurloos, geen hiërachie, betrokkenheid, inzet en motivatie. Precies het tegenovergestelde dus van de strak georganiseerde bedrijfsculturen die wij als normaal beschouwen maar, zo is het laatste decennium gebleken, zelfs als dit voor even erg succesvol is, geen lang leven beschoren zijn. In ieder geval meestal niet langer dan 25 jaar bestaan. Semco bestaat al 30 jaar inmiddels en heeft nog steeds een jaarlijkse groei van zo’n 27%.

Leading by Omission – Ricardo Semler

If successful business depends on innovation, wonders Ricardo Semler, why are automobiles made essentially the same way today as they were in Ford’s first assembly line 100 years ago? Parallel parking is one of ” the stupidest things we do,” says Semler, “If we had a day, could we not by tomorrow afternoon figure out a way to make a car” that handles better in this common situation — or, on a grander scale, escape from the “silly concept” of oil dependent transportation altogether? The problem, Semler figures, is that there’s “something fundamental about organizations and ‘ leadership that makes it almost impossible for people inside a business to change their own industry.” Industries are based on “formats that are basically legacies of military hierarchies,” says Semler, which neglect or deny the power of human intuition and democratic participation. In Semler’s own firm, there are no five-year business plans (which he views as wishful thinking), but rather “a rolling rationale about numbers.” A project takes off only if a critical mass of employees decides to get involved. Staff determine when they need a leader, and then choose their own bosses in a process akin to courtship, says Semler, resulting in a corporate turnover rate of 2% over 25 years. “We’ll send our sons anywhere in the world to die for democracy,” says Semler, but don’t seem to apply the concept to the workplace. This is a tragic error, because “people on their own developing their own solutions will develop something different.

About the Speaker(s): Ricardo Semler heads up the Brazilian company, Semco, which is involved in such diverse ventures as manufacturing mixing equipment, making cooling towers, managing Latin American properties, and environmental consulting.

Semler has authored two best-sellers, Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace and The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works.

Semler is a Harvard Business School alumnus, and has been named Brazil’s Business Leader of the Year two times.

Event date: 09/22/2005

MIT Tech TV Ricardo Semler