Ricardo Semler

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Ricardo Semler (born 1959 in São Paulo) is the CEO and majority owner of Semco Partners. Semler assumed ownership of Semler & Company (known as Semco) from his father in 1980.

Quotes[edit]

  • Instead of constantly talking about motivation, organizations should ensure that employees are occasionally delighted.
    • The Seven-Day Weekend (2004)
  • Everyone has a ‘reservoir of talent'. Intuition, interests and skills form the foundation of talents. These talents are indicators of your calling. The best way to ensure long-term job satisfaction is to act on that calling.
    • The Seven-Day Weekend (2004)
  • Ways to combat stress, such as playing golf before a conference call or taking a break on the beach during inventory, are essential.
    • The Seven-Day Weekend (2004)
  • On-the-job democracy isn't just a lofty concept but a better, more profitable way to do things. We all demand democracy in every other aspect of our lives and culture. People are considered adults in their private lives, at the bank, at their children's schools, with family and among friends--so why are they suddenly treated like adolescents at work? Why can't workers be involved in choosing their own leaders? Why shouldn't they manage themselves? Why can't they speak up--challenge, question, share information openly?
    • The Seven-Day Weekend (2004)
  • I believe the old way of doing business is dying, and the sooner it's dead and buried the better off we all will be.
    • The Seven-Day Weekend (2004)
  • One, the people in charge wanting to give up control. This tends to eliminate some 80 percent of businesspeople. Two, a profound belief that humankind will work toward its best version, given freedom; that would eliminate the other 20 percent.
  • I always come back to variations of the question that my son asked me when he was three. We were sitting in a jacuzzi, and he said, "Dad, why do we exist?" There is no other question. Nobody has any other question. We have variations of this one question, from three onwards. So when you spend time in a company, in a bureaucracy, in an organization and you're saying, boy -- how many people do you know who on their death beds said, boy, I wish I had spent more time at the office? So there's a whole thing of having the courage now -- not in a week, not in two months, not when you find out you have something -- to say, no, what am I doing this for? Stop everything. Let me do something else. And it will be okay, it will be much better than what you're doing, if you're stuck in a process.
  • The opposite of work is idleness. But very few of us know what to do with idleness. When you look at the way that we distribute our lives in general, you realize that in the periods in which we have a lot of money, we have very little time. And then when we finally have time, we have neither the money nor the health.
  • And so, what we've done all of these years is very simple, is use the little tool, which is ask three whys in a row. Because the first why you always have a good answer for. The second why, it starts getting difficult. By the third why, you don't really know why you're doing what you're doing.
  • Companies think that they are modern because they have painted their walls in a bright colour or they allow people to bring their dogs to work. This is silly and millennial-washing. The idea is to bring in the mature generation and get them to mentor the co-work with the younger generation from a distance.

Quotes about Semler[edit]

  • What makes Ricardo Semler all the more notable is the way he has put theory into practice. Many people have talked the talk of corporate democracy; his company walks the walk.
  • Semler is perhaps the best, low-profile CEO in business today – and Semco is no ordinary company.
  • The management style that Ricardo Semler evolved through decades of experimentation at Brazilian firm Semco proved to be massively successful. The company defied gravity with the rate of its growth, even when the rest of the country was suffering savage recession. And yet, for all that, it is an example that few have attempted to follow. Why? Because it mostly revolves around management giving up control.
  • Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler doesn’t believe in rules. At least, he doesn’t believe companies need to impose a host of strict guidelines in order to run efficiently. In fact, he thinks employees will work better if they don’t have to report their vacation days or be told what to wear. He wants to dissolve what he calls the “boarding school aspects” of business, just to see what happens.

External Links[edit]

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