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Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace Paperback – April 1, 1995
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First published in Brazil in 1988 as Turning the Tables , this book was the all-time best-selling nonfiction book in Brazil's history. Semler, the 34-year-old CEO, or "counselor," of Semco, a Brazilian manufacturing firm, describes how he turned his successful company into a "natural business" in which employees hire and evaluate their bosses, dress however they want, participate in major decisions, and share in 22 percent of the profits. Semler believes that Semco is different from most companies that have participatory management because employees are given the power to make decisions--even ones, with which the CEO wouldn't normally agree. Semler claims, "This is not a business book. It is a book about work, and how it can be changed for the better." Highly recommended.
- 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.
What makes for a successful company? In a sometimes breathless, often boyish manner, Semler, a counselor of a Brazilian company (Semco), relates the transformation of a traditionally structured business into one quite literally without walls and rules. Semler details his not-so-easy steps in the metamorphosis: abolishing dress codes and regulations; decentralizing plants; getting rid of paperwork and titles (hence, his appellation as counselor, not CEO); and creating a consultative democracy in which employees set their own salaries and work hours and vote on managerial candidates, among other responsibilities. If it sounds too much like utopia, Semler admits that Brazil's economic downturn has impacted Semco and that, yes, being born with a silver spoon certainly colors his vision. Nonetheless, his is a philosophy that merits some serious thought by managers and workers alike. Barbara Jacobs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After page 100 each chapter covered a story about hiring someone or moving them to another department. Or implementing something else. And it just became really boring and drawn out for me. And when he writes about subsidizing lunches for workers making less money, and allowing employees to set their own salaries based on things like living expenses it comes across to be a bit socialist leaning. And I don't mean that in a good or bad way. On the first page the author writes that it's not purely capitalistic or socialist. He writes that it's a new way. A third way. And it seems like that third way has borrowed tenets from each.
Anyway, This book should be read to challenge your current thinking and to read about a more democratic work environment. Even if you only make it to page 100. It should not be read as a complete guide for a company or as if everything covered is the absolute best way to do things.
From what I heard he had created a workplace that was democratic, fun to work at and all in all a good lesson of how companies can be run. So, when I found out he had written a book about it, I wanted to read it.
And I was not disappointed. He describes clearly and with great detail how he transformed his fathers company from a bureaucratic, top-down run company into a much more democratic and fun workplace. And it all started with allowing employees to vote on which color uniforms they want.
All in all, I love this book. It seems to be part of a new era about working differently from the past. Perhaps era is not the right word, but movement might be a better description. Other elements in this movement are ROWE from Jodi Thompson and Cali Ressler, Beyond Budgeting, Alexander Kjerulf with his Positive Sharing website as being the Chief Happiness Officer, Tim Ferriss with his Four Hour Workweek, the guys from 37signals and many others.
and share the results can make the boss's life easier, more productive and more profitable. HR staff will hate it, as it defies all of their organization charts, job descriptions and reporting lines!
The Great Leader doesn't know, either; what the Great Leader DOES know is how to make the employment future of those who show initiative without fawning obesiance nasty, brutish, and short.
Chapter 21, essentially, does away with Middle Management, and the slew of Great Leaders who feather their own nest, in an elegant and simple way.
The rest of the book is also inspiring - certain ideas, such as Open Books, have taken root and flowered as a body of knowledge and practice.
Many "consultants" - using THAT term loosely - help establish "Change Management Programs," and "Empowerment Programs," all delivered from "On High," with paeans of fulsome praise for a trivial tweaking of the current, obsolete, business processes.
Save all of the money and time these people cost - give your people a copy of "Maverick," and let them loose!