“Growth and profit are a product of how people work together.”
Already wrote (AskTheRightQuestion) about Mr. Ricardo Semler two years ago. It was an unique Up Close & Personal interview with Semler from VPRO’s Backlight, a weekly Dutch, 50-minute, Future Affairs- program. Semler, a revolutionary, is one of Brazil’s most successful business guru and entrepreneurs. Semler is the CEO and majority owner of Semco Partners SA, a Brazilian company best known for its radical form of industrial democracy and corporate re-engineering. VPRO Backlight caught up with Semler at the end of 2014, and created yet again a new unique Up Close & Personal interview at his house (TEASER). Ricardo initially didn’t wanted to join his family business, he preferred to play his Gibson Les Paul when he played with a couple of São Paulo rock bands during the mid-1970s. Semler, tired of earning next to nothing playing one dank club after another, eventually decided to reorganize the company from his father completely:
“If people do not want to come to work then they should simply stay at home, my employees decide themselves who their manager is and what they should earn”
The idea is a great success: increased sevenfold profit (Turnover $30 million in1988 to $212 million 2003), and all his employees are happy. Semler has written two books: Virando a propria Mesa (published in English as Maverick), on the transformation of Semco and workplace re-engineering, was the best-selling non-fiction book of Brazil and got translated into 35 languages. His second book The Seven Day Weekend also became an international bestseller. For the new VPRO Backlight episode ’The new wisdom Ricardo Semler’, the Brazilian entrepreneur was interviewed over two hours at this beautiful house in Brazil. See edited the five parts interview here:
- Wisdom – In the first chapter Semler speaks on the distinction between cleverness and wisdom. He argues that we still essentially constitute as a tribal society and actually ancient tribal times, life was often that of more wisdom. He agitates against Silicon Valley (see VPRO’s episode Cybertopia – Dreams of Silicon Valley) who dream of a perfect techno society.
- Leadership & exploitation – According to Semler business should be more democratic. With less autocrats and more confidence in employees who really know where to bring a company these days. In many ways, today’s mega- corporations with their huge offices, are not completely different like tributary societies of the ancient Egyptians, that built pyramids to honor their pharaohs.
- Assembly Line – With the music of Pink Floyd as a guide, Semler speaks about how our lives are increasingly framed and companies are becoming less efficient. How do we break out of this monotonous assembly line?
- Intuition – Surrounded by wine bottles in cartons, Semler speaks about how algorithms make it life too unpredictable from. It is important that we give intuition and mystery a central place in life again.
- Collective borderline – Where Carl Jung spoke of a collective consciousness, Ricardo Semler speaks in his garden of a collective borderline disorder.
For the full interview with some Dutch spoken parts, go here for the NPO Iplayer. MORE: Kerry O’Brien ABC Australia – VIDEO. TED – Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules – VIDEO. MIT Leading by Omission – VIDEO. Photo Credit: VPRO Backlight. Enjoy the brilliant wise mind of Mr. Semler…..