Way of Work:


embracing 'Semco Style'

The idea that traditional hierarchical structures are not the most effective in corporate settings, is one that – after significant fierce resistance initially – has been fine-tuned slowly over the years, from different angles.

Companies with a rigid management organization are often those with low worker satisfaction. In a post-industrial world, and after several economical national and global crises, CEOs with forward-thinking approaches have thrived.

 An early proponent of such a groundbreaking re-organization, who we at Fosbury & Sons pay heed to, is Ricardo Semler, a Brazilian business owner who transformed his father’s company Semco when he was just 21 years old.

 His goal? Creating agile companies where employees enjoy coming to work and have a healthy work-life balance.

The young visionary did this by encouraging an entrepreneurial culture of continuous improvement and creative innovation. In practice, he achieved this by urging his team to be more democratically led and self-managing.

Semler slashed 60% of all top manager positions and offered his workforce more decision power on all levels and higher profit margins on stock ownership.

This way, they became more involved and more aware of where improvements were needed.  Semco’s turnover grew steadily from $4 million to $212 million in 20 years’ time, with an employer turnover of only 2%.

Not only is his so-called Semco Style of managing more profitable, co-workers are considerably happier – they stay in their jobs – and they are more generously rewarded. The ingredients for this successful recipe are few and straightforward: trust, reducing control, self-management, extreme stakeholder alignment and creative innovation.

Autonomous, valued and purposeful work as the key to happiness and fulfillment in the professional sphere leads to positive effects all around. It’s a viewpoint our driven Fosbury & Sons team can surely get behind.