This presentation explains the organization culture at Semco and changes brought about by Ricardo Semler to follow unconventional HR practices and make Semco one of the most successful companies in the World.
“At some point, you have to make a
Boundaries don’t keep other people
They fence you in.
Life is messy. But that’s how we are
So, you can waste your lives drawing
“We’ve all learned to go on to
our email on Sunday evening
and work from home. But
very few of us have learned
how to go to the movies on
LETS TAKE A
TRIP UP THE
SEMCO WAS A
WITH 12 LEVELS
“FEAR WAS THE
People set their
them twice in a
21 page “Survival
No job titles
People set their
Manufactures pumps, industrial dish washers, cooling units,
Runs office buildings’ data centers
Provides consulting services on environmental issues,
Creates software for Internet applications, ATM services and
Manages human-resources activities for major companies.
What Semco does?
• Democracy in the organisation
• Rotating the CEO position
• Recognizing that the people are the most
creative and productive when they have a
say in the running of the company
• To introduce the boldest experiment in
management ever successfully taken.
"It's a system that puts a lot of weight on leaders because then
can no longer simply protect themselves with symbols of
power like closed offices or special parking places. They have
to rely exclusively on their ability to generate respect."
transformation is a
product of a very
people the freedom to
do what they want,
and over the long haul
their successes will
A bonfire of
Spin off new
Set your own
that make a
take on a
Ask someone at Semco “who’s in
charge?” and the most likely
response will be “no one.”
Semco doesn't plan which
businesses to enter. Instead it
'rambles' into new areas by trial,
error and argument
Linking pay with performance
Autonomy given to employees
Freedom & Accountability
Three step test for starting a new business
them to start
“Participation gives people
control of their work,
Profit-Sharing gives them
a reason to do it better, and
Information tells them
what's working and what
A person’s appearance is not
a factor in hiring or
promotion. Everyone knows
what he or she likes or needs
to wear. Feel at ease — wear
only your common sense.”
How it actually works…
• Ricardo Semler doesn’t have a current title. The company recently
held a party to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the last time
he made any decision at all.
• The only real rules at Semco - is huge peer pressure and self-
• Semler is more worried that the company's uniqueness will be
diluted if it grows too fast or makes too much money.
• Semco’s products are so good and its customer service so efficient
that 80 percent of its yearly revenues come from repeat customers.
Semler's Rules for Management Without
Forget about the top line.
Never stop being a start-up.
Don't be a nanny.
Let talent find its place.
Make decisions quickly and openly.
Can Semco’s culture work for Indian
• First, to copy Semco's structure, you need to:
• Be convinced that it will work for your company
• Be able to change your company's structure
• Make it work in practice, with your own people
• In the Semco case, the transition worked because the leadership (Ricardo
Semler) owned the company, was young and he found the right associates
to lead the change.
• Above all it requires smart, humble and daring managers, willing to change
their minds often.
• One of them is the relationship between the boss and subordinates. The
general belief is that in India the relationship is very formal and
• There are instances of companies with the traditional hierarchical
model moving to a more decentralized way of functioning.
• Not all of them may be able to make a transition to the "boss less"
• A lot of Indian startups are coming up with the flat organizational