August 15, 2008 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

Encouraged to read by Tom:

I’ve just re-read a fantastic book that I first read when I was 17 (precocious, moi?!) called Maverick! by Ricardo Semler – go buy a copy. It’s a manifesto for the democratic workplace and is, I believe, more relevant today than it’s ever been.

With the rise in interest in employee engagement, CSR and social enterprise and the frustration with hierarchical organisations, Semler’s ideas present a fresh, innovative and (most importantly) commercially  advantageous alternative to the ‘traditional’ organisation.

Here are some notes that I made (as well as others that I’ve borrowed from an Amazon review, which are worth repeating)!

* Make each business unit small enough so that those involved understand everything that is going on and can influence the outcomes.

* Allow employees to set their own quotas.

* 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* Salaries are public information unless the employee requests that they not be published.

* Encourage employees to rotate jobs regularly in order to encourage holistic understanding of the company, as well as to ensure employees remain ‘fresh and interested’.

* Enable employees to set their own travel arrangements and encourage employees to treat expenses as they would their own money.

* 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. Eliminate policies and rules wherever possible.

* Job rotation; 20% of managers shift jobs each year.

* Set up workers in their own businesses as suppliers to the company.

* Encourage memo headlines and subjects so that people can understand issues quickly. Never send memos that are longer than one page.

* Eliminate the wearing of wristwatches whenever and wherever possible. It is impossible to understand life in all its hugeness and complexity if one is constantly consulting a minute counter.

* Either you can create complex systems so as to manage complexity, or you can simplify everything.


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Must..quit… 7th Generation Businsses: Ecoprises?

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