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Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace Paperback – April 1, 1995
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From Library Journal
- Mark McCullough, Heterick Lib. , Ohio Northern Univ. , Ada
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Maverick tells the story of the transformation of Semco into a radical and high performing organization.
Here's a sampling of Dr. Dickie's good ideas...
* Make each business unit small enough so that those involved understand everything that is going on and can influence the outcomes.
* Implement a rounded pyramid organization structure with floating coordinators. Coordinators are the only supervisory level and are all at the same organizational level but different pay rates.
* Demonstrate trust by eliminating symbols of corporate oppression as well as the perks of status.
* Share all information and eliminate secrets. You can't expect involvement to flourish without an abundance of information available to all employees.
* Every six months bosses are evaluated by their subordinates and the results are posted.
* Salaries are public information unless the employee requests that they not be published.
* Allow employees to set their own salary. Consider these criteria: what they think they can make elsewhere; what others with similar skills and responsibilities make in the Company; what friends with similar backgrounds make; how much they need to live on.
* Share 23% of pretax profits. Employees vote how the pool will be split. They must vote to determine the manner of each quarterly distribution. In practice they always vote for equal dollar shares.
* Substitute the survival manual for thick procedure manuals.Read more ›
The book reads like an autobiography, and it is, but only with the focus on the transformation of Semco and how Semler and his colleagues evolved through it. The reader is escorted through the many gestation periods of Semler's organizational theories. It's an amazing trip that you can hardly believe took place.
Instead of paraphrasing Semler here I want to use a pretty long quote from one of the last pages of the book. There Semler has such a succinct description of his core theories and the way he put them into practice that I feel his words summarize the plot of this book far better than I ever could:
"To survive in modern times, a company must have an organizational structure that accepts change as its basic premise, lets tribal customs thrive, and fosters a power that is derived from respect, not rules. In other words, the successful companies will be the ones that put quality of life first. Do this and the rest - quality of product, productivity of workers, profits for all - will follow. At Semco we did away with strictures that dictate the "hows" and created fertile soil for differences. We gave people an opportunity to test, question, and disagree. We let them determine their own futures. We let them come and go as they wanted, work at home if they wished, set their own salaries, choose their own bosses. We let them change their minds and ours, prove us wrong when we are wrong, make us humbler. Such a system relishes change, which is the only antidote to the corporate brainwashing that has consigned giant businesses with brilliant pasts to uncertain futures."
I truly enjoyed every page of this book and I highly recommend it.
Clearly, the ideas in the book didn't come out of a vacuum. Semler read and studied widely, building on the ideas of people like Robert Townsend and Peter Drucker. But he has elaborated and improvised on those ideas to create an entirely unique, collaborative work culture at Semco in São Paulo, Brazil, that he has then sustained over a period of 25 years. Astonishing!
Semler inspired me to look at some of his sources like Robert Townsend's 1970 book, "Up the Organization," a similarly contrarian and original creation. Semler shares a kindred spirit with Townsend and his book is just as entertaining, and as concise and full of important ideas about governance and leadership. Townsend calls his style of management "Participative Management" and puts into practice many of the principles from Douglas McGregor's Theory Y (as proposed in his 1960 book, Human Side of Management). But whereas Townsend simply orders his ideas alphabetically, Semler's book is organized chronologically. Each of its thirty six chapters tells a story from the history of Semco, and each contains at least one important lesson.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An Awesome read. The books makes you think about how we lead and if there might not be a better way. Worth the money.Published 2 months ago by K. Todd
Fun book that shows the laws of cause and effect, plenty of unintended consequences yet it all turns out ok in the end! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Simon
The ongoing success of Semco, Inc. evidences Ricardo Semler's tenacious courage in doing the transcendentally difficult - simply letting go. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good book! We are building our business on this principal.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a must-read for any entrepreneur or business manager. It opens minds, and offers a real vision on how open minded managers can substantially change positively their... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Herve Kabla
Although a rather old story now, this book will be an eye-opener for 90% of U.S. managers. Shows how letting staff meet to make decisions
and share the results can make the... Read more
Great story. This is how people should be treated in the workplace to have more fulfilling jobs.Published 11 months ago by Michael S